On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller
About the Book
In the tradition of Ron Chernow on John D. Rockefeller and David Nasaw on Joseph Kennedy comes a book that will take its place among the acclaimed, epic biographies of our time. From one of America's top historians, ON HIS OWN TERMS is the definitive life of an American icon: Nelson Rockefeller --- a sweeping portrait of one of the twentieth century's most significant politicians, businessmen, and philanthropists.
Twelve years in the making and incorporating thousands of documents and over 100 interviews, biographer and historian Richard Norton Smith brings us a landmark portrait of Nelson Rockefeller, a member of the legendary Rockefeller dynasty, and one of the most fascinating political figures of the twentieth century.
Rockefeller was born into the nation's wealthiest and most powerful clan. The grandson of the great oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, Nelson's childhood had enough glamour and drama for a book of its own. After a brief business career, he devoted himself to public service, serving in FDR's administration, and then appointed to important posts in the Truman and Eisenhower presidencies. He was elected as Governor of New York in 1959 and he served until 1973 overseeing an unusually dramatic and turbulent era in New York's history. A perpetual candidate for President, he eventually served as Vice President n the Ford administration from 1974-1977. In his day, Rockefeller was the poster child of the "Rockefeller Republicans," a group of liberals, progressives, and moderates within the Republican party that are all but unheard of today. Smith's biography charts Rockefeller's political rise to the governor's mansion, runs at the White House, and relationships with presidential administrations. A well-known ladies' man, and a leading art collector and philanthropist, Rockefeller led an unusually rich and incident-filled American life. Smith's biography thus provides a window on a political and cultural era at once recent and unrecognizable.