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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812969731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812969733
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #477,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a military intelligence officer in World War II, Rockefeller learned his effectiveness depended on his "ability to develop a network of people with reliable information and influence." During his long life-he turned 87 this year-he's amassed a Rolodex of more than 1,000 contacts, and in this satisfying autobiography, he describes firsthand encounters with Pablo Picasso, Sigmund Freud, Fiorello La Guardia, oil sheikhs, Latin American strongmen and others. Critics might say Rockefeller's not too choosy about the company he keeps; they claim he's "never met a dictator he didn't like." Indeed, he has been roundly criticized for the role he and Henry Kissinger played in persuading the Carter administration to allow the exiled shah of Iran into the U.S., an event widely believed to have sparked the hostage crisis. But this memoir is much more than a titillating account of wealth and international intrigue. Rockefeller also meticulously recounts the modernizing of Chase Bank, where he worked for 35 years, rising to become chairman and chief executive, finally giving the company-which merged with JP Morgan in 2001-a written history on a par with Ron Chernow's The House of Morgan. New York City also dominates here; after Robert Moses, the Rockefeller clan has had the strongest hand in shaping the modern urban landscape, from Wall Street to midtown to Morningside Heights. Indispensable for anyone interested in financial and American history, Rockefeller's well-organized remembrances present a deeply fascinating, thorough look into the life of a living legend. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

This autobiography by the youngest son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller is also a history of 20th-century America and its influence in the world order. As David Rockefeller traces his own life (he was born in 1915) with references to the personal and business dealings of his father and grandfather, this history unfolds through his eyes. Chapters on his childhood, teenage years, and relationships with his parents provide insight into his character development and lifestyle. But when he discusses his years at Harvard, the London School of Economics, and the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. in economics, Rockefeller tells of his meetings with top professors and economists such as Keynes and Schumpeter, commenting on their theories. The account of his travel experience in Nazi Germany during the mid-1930s is compelling. His marriage to Peggy, his time as an intelligence officer in World War II, and his relationships with his brothers in family conflicts, as well as his work with Chase Bank, Rockefeller Center, OPEC, and the Middle East, Latin America, and the World Trade Center, are all discussed in detail. Of particular interest is Rockefeller's epilog discussing 9/11. This very readable and thought-provoking account of an influential financier, philanthropist, and art lover will hold readers' interest. Given the broad sweep of Rockefeller's life, it may be quite popular and in demand in both public and academic libraries. Steven J. Mayover, formerly with the Free Lib. of Philadelphia
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed the personal insights revealed in this book, and recommend it.
Thomas J. Santucci
The book is particularly interesting re Mr. Rockefeller's being saddled with one of the world's most famous names, and how his children have dealt with it.
J Keistler
Whether or not he actually said this publicly, it does seem to capture the thinking of someone who makes the kind of decisions Rockefeller does.
E. larson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Jensen on March 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mr Rockefeller writes about the Bilderbergs (p. 410), at the "disppointment" of the "conspiracy-mongers" is just an "intensely interesting annual discussion group." Really? Then how come I'm never invited? What's all the secrecy about?

To give you an idea of why all the secrecy, here's an excerpt from a 1991 issue of the Hilaire duBerrier Report (also reported elsewhere in the French press):

"[Rockefeller] told his listeners: 'We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years....It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during these years....The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers ... is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in the past centuries.'"

In "Tragedy and Hope" written By Bill Clinton's professor at Georgetown, Carroll Quigley (p. 950) writes:

"There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Group has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, of any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960's, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it...but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By K. Burns on October 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been intrigued by American Empire and its ascent over the last century. I wanted to read Mr. Rockefeller's words for myself. It seemed as though he was skipping major details throughout- for example he glides right over the death of his brother Nelson, leaving out details of the circumstance. Which pretty much proved to me that the rumors were more than true.
Chapter 27 was what I was hunting and in his own words on page 405 he solidifies accusations of his one-world agenda. Considering he has been a part of the Bilderbergs, CFR, and Trilaterals for most of his adult life- rather odd he only gives about a page a piece to each issue. A 500 page book and only 1 brief chapter on the bulk of his world vision. Dare I say conspiracy?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Hand on September 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of this book is just a fluff piece that tries to spin a good light on a criminal family. After reading this though, some things are very obvious. John D tried to take over the oil industry and now David wants to take over the world. Seeing how he and his mega banker good ole boy network of Bilderburgers have wrecked the US economy, he may well do it.
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62 of 80 people found the following review helpful By E. larson on October 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It may be disinformation, but reportedly at the Bilderberg/Trilateral meeting in 1991 in Baden Baden, Germany, David Rockefeller made the following statement, with Bill Clinton in attendance:

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries."

Whether or not he actually said this publicly, it does seem to capture the thinking of someone who makes the kind of decisions Rockefeller does. In his memoir on page 405, he actually does say this, "Some even believe we (the Rockefeller family) are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure---one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.".
In this section he also criticizes "populists" and "isolationists" for not appreciating that the "active role" the international bankers have played in world affairs has contributed to economic growth and the defeat of Communism.
[...
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Brian W. Fairbanks VINE VOICE on January 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A library's worth of books are available that paint David Rockefeller as the "secret ruler of the world," a multi-billionaire megalomaniac responsible for all of the world's ills. Whether it's an economic collapse or a war, David and his co-horts on the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission are allegedly behind it. Since little else has been written about the man, "Memoirs" fills a void. Unfortunately, it doesn't fill that void as well as I would have hoped.

For bankers or those intrigued by banking, Rockefeller's lengthy desciption of his career at Chase may make for fascinating reading. The rest of us may be tempted to stop reading at this point and start skimming. On the other hand, the description of David's life within the Rockefeller family is interesting. As the youngest member of the famous (or infamous) dynasty, David was shunned by his older siblings and lived a rather solitary, though, it seems, generally happy life. Rockefeller writes about this, as well as his later experiences in college (where he once again had a hard time fitting in), with a modesty that really won me over. He also offers nice portraits of the rest of the clan, including his father who, despite his wealth, fought a battle against paralyzing shyness and depression. Rockefeller succeeds in defining his family by something other than its wealth.

But David Rockefeller's wiliness to hobnob with dictators as easily as he does presidents and popes is not going to quiet the conspiracy theorists. His activities do suggest that this man who admits to a lifelong fascination with entemology (the study of insects) does not make a distinction between bugs and the majority of the human race.
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