On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller
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|“[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 . . . On His Own Terms is 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 [Nelson] Rockefeller achieved, but the portrait of the world he inhabited not so very long ago.”—The New York Times
“Richard Norton Smith spent fourteen years researching this life of Rockefeller. [On His Own Terms] has perception and scholarly authority and is immensely readable.”—The Economist
“With a keen eye for richness of detail, a gift for recounting the sweep of his subject’s life and the mastery of a prose artist, [Richard Norton Smith] offers a complete portrait, one that neither exaggerates Rockefeller’s accomplishments nor downplays his faults. And he depicts Rockefeller—‘allergic to inactivity’ as a man whose breadth of interests and depth of determination continue to astound—in all his contradictions. . . . Inspired in conception, incisive in execution, On His Own Terms displays the artistry of its author and the significance of its subject.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“A nightmare for political handlers, the man who claimed ‘a Democratic heart with a Republican head’ poses no small challenge for a biographer. But after a decade of exhaustive research, Smith delivers a compelling portrait of a man who defied the simplifying ideologies of his age. . . . Complete and balanced, a biography of exceptional substance.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Richard Norton Smith has brought us a gripping, magisterial, deeply researched life of one of the most intriguing figures in American political history. In Smith’s vivid rendering, Nelson Rockefeller is exuberant, talented, conflicted, apparently unstoppable, and then, ultimately, poignant amid the frustration of his Ozymandian ambitions. Along with the tale of Rockefeller’s life, On His Own Terms also brings us a timely, knowing close-up view of what used to be called—at its zenith, which now seems so long ago—the ‘Rockefeller wing’ of the Republican party.”—Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789–1989 and The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1941–1945
“The amount of first-class scholarship Richard Norton Smith undertook to write about Nelson Rockefeller is utterly remarkable. This is one of the greatest cradle-to-grave biographies written in the past fifty years. It’s never dull and always joyfully lucid. Highly recommended!”—Douglas Brinkley, author of Cronkite and The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
“No one knows more about the American presidency than Richard Norton Smith. In On His Own Terms, readers will marvel, laugh, and delight in Smith’s long-awaited biography of almost president Nelson Rockefeller. In history writing at its best, Smith’s insightful account of the struggle for the soul of the Republican Party fifty years ago sounds at many moments uncannily contemporary.”—Ronald C. White, Jr., author of A. Lincoln: A Biography
“Perhaps no American in public life has had as varied a career as Nelson Rockefeller—art collector, real estate developer, Latin America policy czar, presidential candidate, and governor of New York for fifteen turbulent years. Richard Norton Smith brings Rocky back to life in all his ebullience. Warning: This is, appropriately, a long book and one that’s impossible to put down.”—Michael Barone, American Enterprise Institute, senior political analyst, Washington Examiner, and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics
From the Hardcover edition.