Reflections in a Silver Spoon: A Memoir

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9780688097233: Reflections in a Silver Spoon: A Memoir
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Paul Mellon recounts his privileged upbringing, the scandalous divorce of his parents, and his life of philanthropy, horse racing and breeding, and environmental activism. 35,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Life of the supermoneyed author, who turned in his banker's suit for life as an art collector and philanthropist; as told to his old friend and advisor Baskett, with some passages by Mellon himself. Mellon's life is vicariously exciting because of its ties with money--money in quantities he never bothers to measure but which the reader enjoys helping him spend or apportion. As a man, rather than a financial fountain, Mellon (now 85) is somewhat less exciting, though his problems keep a steady fascination throughout. Mellon's great-grandfather, grandfather, and father apparently were all stone-faced, emotionless men who gathered wealth by picking up businesses in distress or just underway, getting them on their feet, and then selling them--although coal and banking remained as stabilizers. The author, however, lost interest in finance while still in college. A few years later, he approached his elderly father and asked that he be released from the family grinding wheel and be allowed to spend his life as he found most rewarding. Dad became Secretary of the Treasury for 12 years while Mellon married a feisty but asthmatic woman, Mary Brown, with whom he entered into analysis in Zurich under Carl Jung himself. Not really an intellectual, Mary nonetheless founded the Bollingen Foundation and saw to the translation and publication of Jung in English--a huge job. Meanwhile, Mellon went off to WW II as an infantry officer, then returned to continue building the National Gallery of Art, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts- -and get in some fox-hunting, horse racing, and book collecting. He is now retired. Smooth-running and lively. (Photos--16 pages color and 48 pages b&w--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Mellon has devoted himself and his inherited fortune to art, philanthropy, and horse breeding. This autobiography rambles through a long life and many acquaintances in a comfortable, if slightly disorganized, fashion. Unfortunately, neither Mellon's pastimes nor his great wealth are automatically interesting. In fact, it all seems rather dull by the end of the book. For those interested in the Mellon philanthropies, such as the National Gallery or the Yale Center for British Art, there is some detail of their founding operations that might prove useful. However, Mellon's psychoanalysis by the Jungian and Freudian analysts and his opinions of his friends are less than gripping. At the same time, the recounting of the supposed cause of his angst, the 1912 divorce of his parents, provides a fascinating picture of the world and mores of the rich before World War I. Recommended only for the most comprehensive collections in philanthropy or biography. (Illustrations not seen.)-- Mary Jane Ballou, Ford Fdn. Lib., New York
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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