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Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal, and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty Hardcover – August 13, 2013
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“It would seem that having enough money to do every stupid thing that strikes your fancy is no blessing. . . . [Crazy Rich] is gossipy and fast-moving, with surprising emotional resonance.” ―Newark Star Ledger
“A breathless tell-all . . . Oppenheimer trains his gaze on the Johnsons, the cursed Kennedies of pharmaceuticals--a family who, with every generation, find themselves at the center of celebrity and political scandal. . . . The book is an impressive example of journalistic synthesis, bringing together bits of tabloid journalism not usually connected (playing celebrity connect-the-dots is half the book's fun) around a strong narrative core [about] a family whose money can buy influence and power, but comes with costly personal consequences.” ―Publishers Weekly
“A prolific biographer of the rich and infamous, Oppenheimer digs into five generations of the Johnson family . . . detailing their mind-boggling personal wealth. . . . A fast-paced chronicle of births, courtings, marriages, divorces, estrangements, bitter lawsuits, drug and alcohol abuses, crimes, memorable deaths and other unpleasantness. . . . A character-driven saga suggesting that the spoiled rich are their own worst enemies.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“A wicked debunking of Stewart's carefully crafted persona.” ―People on Just Desserts
“After reading House of Hilton, you'll wonder why anyone wouldn't beg to be dropped from the speed dial of a family that makes the Osbournes look like the Brady Bunch.” ―The New York Times
Top Customer Reviews
Although the focus is on Woody, the book begins and ends with him plus an internal chapter, Woody's Secrets, recounts his accident prone adolescence, there are plenty of tales of the rest of the family, from Robert Wood Johnson, the General, who forced all his family members out of the company to maintain personal control to his brother Seward, Sr. who in his old age married his chambermaid, Basia, and left her his millions much to the chagrin of his children. The court battle that resulted titillated Princeton when I lived there.
I recommend this book. It has many outlandish tales of Johnson escapades, primarily dysfunctional marriages and bitter divorces, but it also tells the story of a family who revolutionized health care. The three brothers of the first generation were very good business men, ready to capitalize on a good idea. Robert Wood Johnson in the second generation kept the company together with an iron hand. Perhaps this is what the company needed. The family needed to branch out into other pursuits, but generally were unsuccessful in doing so. This is what makes Woody Johnson's story the most interesting in the third generation.
I reviewed this book for Net Galley.
Like many people, I have my guilty pleasures, and one of them is schadenfreude. And, like it or not, there is something comforting about knowing that having tons of money doesn't cure all evils (and, in fact, may create some). But Mr. Oppenheimer takes it to a whole new and base level. I'm ordinarily not a fan of armchair psychiatry, but I have to wonder about what motivates him to keep track of the problems and peccadillos of the rich and famous and to write about them in such egregious and excessive detail. And lest you think that his litany is limited to the nominal subjects of the book - i.e., the Johnson family and their progeny - think again; he rarely mentions anyone, even anecdotally, without pointing out some slime in their background. For example, he has several references to Kirk and Michael Douglas, as the former's wife was a sister-in-law to one of the Johnson heirs, so there is some legitimacy in mentioning them from time to time. However, in the course of these mentions, he has to point out that Kirk was a philanderer, that Michael claimed to have been a sex addict, and that Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael's second wife, was hospitalized for bipolar disorder. In another case, he mentions that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a guest in a bed-and-breakfast owned for a time by a Johnson heir and - again - goes out of his way to remind us that the Governator fathered a child by a housekeeper while married to Maria Shriver, who is an heir to another troubled family (like we didn't know that).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just the way one can't seem to put down a crime thriller court case, this dynastic biography kept me glued. Loved the idea story was told in bold rhythm without flowery details. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Margo M.
It is a complex family and so many members to remember. I kept a copy of the family tree next to me so that I may refer as to who is who. Lots of scandals and tragedy. Read morePublished 2 months ago by B. P. C. Swart
I had great interest in this story as the Mother of a type 1 diabetic son. Sadly my son lost his life due to the disease at age 21. I have not read this author before. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Wendy Evans
The author kept my interest through out the book so it was never dull. I had hoped there would be more information on running Johnson and Johnson.Published 2 months ago by Tom B
I enjoyed the book, telling the stories of the Johnson families. My only complaint is that the photos are not on slick paper and are rather small, making them not easy to see. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Carol K. Page
Perhaps it is just me but there are so many characters involved, it was hard to keep up with if you stopped reading at a certain point. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rosemary Tutt