Books: John D. Rockefeller: Oil In The Family

John D. Rockefeller gets a biography that's nearly as rich--metaphorically speaking--as he was

William James played golf with John D. Rockefeller now and then. The philosopher of pragmatism admired the psalm-singing old pirate of Standard Oil. James was bemused that Rockefeller could be "so complex, subtle, oily, fierce, strongly bad and strongly good a human being." John D. was "a most lovable person" and yet, as James wrote to his brother Henry in 1905, seemed "a man 10 stories deep, and to me quite unfathomable..."

Like the U.S. in which he prospered for so long, from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression, Rockefeller was an organism of some contradiction: his idealism and his...

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