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On His Own Terms; A Life of Nelson Rockefeller

Smith, Richard Norton

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ISBN 10: 0375505806 / ISBN 13: 9780375505805
Published by Random House, New York, 2014
Condition: Very good Hardcover
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xxxiv, 842, [4] pages. Illustrations. Notes. Select Bibliography. Index. DJ has some wear, soiling, and edge wear. Small red dot on bottom edge. Richard Norton Smith (born 1953) is an American historian and author specializing in U.S. presidents and other political figures. In the past, he worked as a freelance writer for The Washington Post, and worked with U.S. Senators Edward Brooke and Bob Dole. Smith's first major book, Thomas E. Dewey and His Times, was a finalist for the 1983 Pulitzer Prize. He has also written An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover (1984); The Harvard Century: The Making of a University to a Nation (1986); and Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation (1993). His 1997 biography of Robert R. McCormick, The Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick received the Goldsmith Book Prize awarded by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1998. In 2014 Smith published On His Own Terms: A life of Nelson Rockefeller. Smith took 14 years to write the book and said that he spent about $250,000 of his own money on the project. In an interview with C-SPAN, he said that Random House provided an advance of $50,000 for the book. In October, 2003 he was appointed the first Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, a four-building complex in Springfield, Illinois. In 2009, Smith was invited by the US Congress to be one of two historians addressing it on the two-hundredth anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 - January 26, 1979) was an American businessman and politician. He served as the 41st Vice President of the United States under President Gerald Ford from 1974 to 1977, and previously as the 49th Governor of New York. He also served in the administrations of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower. A member of the wealthy Rockefeller family, he was also a noted art collector, as well as administrator of Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller, a Republican, was often considered politically liberal and progressive, or in other cases moderate. He successfully altered the political platform of the Republican Party just before the 1960 Republican Convention in what is termed the Treaty of Fifth Avenue. In his time, liberals in the Republican Party were called "Rockefeller Republicans". As governor of New York from 1959 to 1973 his achievements included the expansion of the State University of New York, efforts to protect the environment, the building of the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza in Albany, increased facilities and personnel for medical care, and creation of the New York State Council on the Arts. After unsuccessfully seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 1960, 1964, and 1968, he served as Vice President under President Gerald R. Ford. Ford had been the first vice president to be appointed under the provisions of the 25th Amendment, and ascended to the presidency following the August 1974 resignation of Richard Nixon over the Watergate Scandal, selecting Rockefeller as his replacement. Rockefeller did not join the 1976 Republican national ticket with Ford, marking his retirement from politics. Ford later selected then-Senator Bob Dole from Kansas for his new running mate but ultimately lost the election to Democrat Jimmy Carter and his running mate, Walter Mondale. Rockefeller remains, as of 2017, the last Vice President who declined to seek re-election. As a businessman he was president and later chairman of Rockefeller Center, Inc., and he formed the International Basic Economy Corporation in 1947. Rockefeller assembled a significant art collection and promoted public access to the arts. He served as trustee, treasurer, and president of the Museum of Modern Art, and founded the Museum of Primitive Art in 1954. In the area of philanthropy, he founded the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in 1940 with his four brothers, and established the Am. Bookseller Inventory # 73104

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Bibliographic Details

Title: On His Own Terms; A Life of Nelson ...

Publisher: Random House, New York

Publication Date: 2014

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very good

Dust Jacket Condition: Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE BOSTON GLOBE, BOOKLIST, AND KIRKUS REVIEWS · From acclaimed historian Richard Norton Smith comes the definitive life of an American icon: Nelson Rockefeller—one of the most complex and compelling figures of the twentieth century.
 
Fourteen years in the making, this magisterial biography of the original Rockefeller Republican draws on thousands of newly available documents and over two hundred interviews, including Rockefeller’s own unpublished reminiscences.
 
Grandson of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, Nelson coveted the White House from childhood. “When you think of what I had,” he once remarked, “what else was there to aspire to?” Before he was thirty he had helped his father develop Rockefeller Center and his mother establish the Museum of Modern Art. At thirty-two he was Franklin Roosevelt’s wartime coordinator for Latin America. As New York’s four-term governor he set national standards in education, the environment, and urban policy. The charismatic face of liberal Republicanism, Rockefeller championed civil rights and health insurance for all. Three times he sought the presidency—arguably in the wrong party. At the Republican National Convention in San Francisco in 1964, locked in an epic battle with Barry Goldwater, Rockefeller denounced extremist elements in the GOP, a moment that changed the party forever. But he could not wrest the nomination from the Arizona conservative, or from Richard Nixon four years later. In the end, he had to settle for two dispiriting years as vice president under Gerald Ford.
 
In On His Own Terms, Richard Norton Smith re-creates Rockefeller’s improbable rise to the governor’s mansion, his politically disastrous divorce and remarriage, and his often surprising relationships with presidents and political leaders from FDR to Henry Kissinger. A frustrated architect turned master builder, an avid collector of art and an unabashed ladies’ man, “Rocky” promoted fallout shelters and affordable housing with equal enthusiasm. From the deadly 1971 prison uprising at Attica and unceasing battles with New York City mayor John Lindsay to his son’s unsolved disappearance (and the grisly theories it spawned), the punitive drug laws that bear his name, and the much-gossiped-about circumstances of his death, Nelson Rockefeller’s was a life of astonishing color, range, and relevance. On His Own Terms, a masterpiece of the biographer’s art, vividly captures the soaring optimism, polarizing politics, and inner turmoil of this American Original.
 
Praise for On His Own Terms
 
“[An] enthralling biography . . . Richard Norton Smith has written what will probably stand as a definitive Life. . . . On His Own Terms succeeds as an absorbing, deeply informative portrait of an important, complicated, semi-heroic figure who, in his approach to the limits of government and to government’s relation to the governed, belonged in every sense to another century.”The New Yorker
 
“[A] splendid biography . . . a clear-eyed, exhaustively researched account of a significant and fascinating American life.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“A compelling read . . . What makes the book fascinating for a contemporary professional is not so much any one thing that Rockefeller achieved, but the portrait of the world he inhabited not so very long ago.”The New York Times
 
“[On His Own Terms] has perception and scholarly authority and is immensely readable.”The Economist

About the Author:

Richard Norton Smith is the author of Thomas E. Dewey and His Times (a finalist for the 1983 Pulitzer Prize); An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover; The Harvard Century: The Making of a University to a Nation; The Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, 1880-1955; and Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation. He has served as the director of presidential libraries commemorating Abraham Lincoln, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. As C-SPAN’s in-house historian, he appears frequently on that network. He has also been a regular contributor to the PBS NewsHour, and an ABC News presidential historian.

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