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Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0670031690, Hardcover)Those of us who love New York tend to love the city passionately, for its past as well as its present. Daniel Okrent's Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center is a book for New Yorkers from Ashtabula to Zimbabwe: a study of ambition, audacity, and deal-making on a grand scale that led to the construction of some of the most famous skyscrapers in the world. The cast of characters includes not only the many and diverse members of the Rockefeller family, but other powerful New York institutions such as Columbia University, the Metropolitan Opera, the Museum of Modern Art, and The New York Times--not to mention the radical Mexican artist Diego Rivera, the New Yorker cartoonist William Steig, the Marx Brothers, and a bevy of "Rockettes." Okrent's narrative neatly balances the epic and the intimate; he offers both authoritative pronouncements on modern architecture and reams of good gossip. Like New York itself, Great Fortune contains multitudes: densely packed, it remains surprisingly--and welcomingly--commodious. --Tim Page
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:28 -0400)
"Everything about the conception and creation of Rockefeller Center was outsized and wildly improbable. Launched in the teeth of the Depression, the most ambitious construction project since the Pyramids was the unintended result of a philanthropic gesture gone awry. But when it was finished, John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s accidental adventure redefined the very nature of an American city. In this hugely appealing book, Daniel Okrent weaves together the themes of money, politics, art, architecture, business, and society to tell the story of the majestic suite of buildings that came to dominate the heart of midtown Manhattan and with it, for a time, the heart of the world. Richly detailed, frequently surprising, and consistently entertaining, Great Fortune brings this compelling saga to vivid life." "At the center of Daniel Okrent's riveting story are four remarkable individuals: John D. Rockefeller Jr., the timid son of the world's richest man, whose greatest accomplishment was a venture he never intended; his son Nelson, who before the age of twenty-five demonstrated his talent, his charm, and his ruthless ambition, shoving aside his older brother and an all-star roster of professionals to take control of this enormous enterprise; the rude, vain, and dazzlingly creative real estate genius John R. Todd, who could make an architect whimper in pain; and Raymond Hood, a scamp, a provocateur, a drinker - and the greatest skyscraper designer America has ever known."--BOOK JACKET.
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