Saturday, August 4, 2007

"The House the Rockefellers Built"

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.

They applied the Page 69 Test to their new book, The House the Rockefellers Built: A Tale of Money, Taste, and Power in Twentieth-Century America, and reported the following:
Page 69 of our book, The House the Rockefellers Built, deals with an emerging dispute between the house’s architects, Delano & Aldrich, and John D. Rockefeller Jr, who had been chosen by his father to manage the construction of the house. Beneath that disagreement, however, lay a deeper difference of opinion between the two Rockefellers themselves. “Senior” wanted a quite simple house built and had so instructed the house’s architects. His son, however, had something much more ambitious in mind, a house that would embody the finest traditions of Western, classical architecture. That difference of opinion, in turn, went to the heart of the much larger issue of how to reposition the Rockefeller family and its vast fortune in the twentieth century. In the end “Junior” emerged victorious on all fronts, his father having been persuaded to accept his vision, both of the house and the family’s destiny. The particular significance of Kykuit in this situation was that it marked the point of departure for the younger Rockefeller in his battle to overcome his father’s will and attitudes.
Read an excerpt and more about The House the Rockefellers Built at the publisher's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue