"The Dalzells . . . do an astonishing job of placing Kykuit in historical context while weaving the larger-than-life Rockefeller personalities into its very walls and hallways."—Los Angeles Times
One hundred years ago America's richest man established a dynastic seat, the granite-clad Kykuit, high above the Hudson River. John D. Rockefeller, who detested ostentation, had something simple in mind—at least until his son John Jr. and his charming wife, Abby, injected classical taste and a spirit of noblesse oblige into the equation. Built to honor the senior Rockefeller, the house would also become the place above all others that anchored the family's memories and sense of itself.
With memorable skill and insight, the authors take us inside the house and the family to observe how each new generation, often sharply at odds with one another, left its distinctive mark on the place.
About the Author
Robert F. Dalzell is Ephraim Williams Professor of American History at Williams College, and is the author of Enterprising Elite: The Boston Associates and the World They Made and Daniel Webster and the Trial of American Nationalism.
Lee Baldwin Dalzell was for many years the head of the Reference Department at the Williams College Library. He collaborated on George Washington’s Mount Vernon: At Home in Revolutionary America.
“This is a book about a great house, to be sure, but more about the conversations taking place inside it, which the Dalzell's have recovered with perfect pitch – conversations about what to do with the greatest fortune in American history.” —Joseph J. Ellis, author of the upcoming American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic
“The creation of a house is not unlike the raising of a child. Lee and Robert Dalzell have brilliantly brought to life the complexities, constraints, and compromises that underlie the drama surrounding the building of Kykuit and have continued the story through the years that followed with equal finesse.” —Pauline C Metcalf, author of Ogden Codman and the Decoration of Houses
“[The authors] have shed welcome light on the endlessly fascinating subject of Americans and wealth, or, more precisely, the uneasiness of Americans with wealth, even those who possess it . . . [W]atching the fight over building [the Rockefellers'] dream house, so well told by the Dalzells, you see the anxieties that dogged their every step.” —Newsweek