The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty Paperback – 1 May 2008
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aCall it Greek tragedy or Shakespearean drama, Biblical strife, Freudian acting out, or even soap opera. . . . Compelling.a
aEric Asimov, "The New York Times"
aA fascinating chronicle . . . a twisted tale filled with big egos, beautiful backdrops, and charismatic-yet-flawed characters who pull off towering feats and then throw them all away.a
aA first-rate job of creating a balanced view of this epic A merican drama. . . . T he book reads like a novel and her crisp style makes the book compelling regardless of whether the reader has an interest in wine. . . . Itas a great summer read but it also belongs on the reference shelf of any wine library.a
a"Seattle Post aIntelligencer"
aExplores the Mondavisa bumpy journey in grand and fascinating detail. . . . Fluid and well-written.a
aJames Laube, "Wine Spectator"
aEpica a"U.S. News & World Report"
aA riveting story that is part soap opera, part Shakespearean family drama.a
aNPRas "Day to Day"
aBased on exhaustive research and interviews, each page is packed with facts and footnotes which, by dint of superb writing, manage to engage the reader and avoid the data brain-lock that would have plagued a less-talented journalist.a
?Call it Greek tragedy or Shakespearean drama, Biblical strife, Freudian acting out, or even soap opera. . . . Compelling.?
?Eric Asimov, "The New York Times"
?A fascinating chronicle . . . a twisted tale filled with big egos, beautiful backdrops, and charismatic-yet-flawed characters who pull off towering feats and then throw them all away.?
?A first-rate job of creating a balanced view of this epic A merican drama. . . . T he book reads like a novel and her crisp style makes the book compelling regardless of whether the reader has an interest in wine. . . . It's a great summer read but it also belongs on the reference shelf of any wine library.?
?"Seattle Post ?Intelligencer"
?Explores the Mondavis? bumpy journey in grand and fascinating detail. . . . Fluid and well-written.?
?James Laube, "Wine Spectator"
?Epic? ?"U.S. News & World Report"
?A riveting story that is part soap opera, part Shakespearean family dra
About the Author
Julia Flynn Siler is the New York Times bestselling author of The House of Mondavi. Her most recent book, Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America's First Imperial Adventure, is a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. An award-winning journalist, she lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons. Please visit juliaflynnsiler.com for more information.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book takes us through four generations of the family. There at the beginning: Cesare and Rosa Mondavi (there is a useful genealogy on the inside of the cover page). The book describes their journey to California and the start of the family wine business.
The book is divided into four parts--Foundation, Construction, Expansion, and the lugubrious finale, Demolition.
Key themes: family infighting. Cesare's two sons, Robert and Peter had a major falling out, with Peter winning the family battle and ousting him from the family business. The father had sought a single condition when he began the purchase of the Charles Krug Winery--(page 23): "Robert and Peter must work together to build the business." The promise failed.
After he left Charles Krug, Robert Mondavi engaged in a legal scorched earth policy against his brother and mother (who sided with Peter). The end result? Robert won and the rest of the family, in essence, lost. This sad story is told engagingly and leaves one scratching one's head as to what could have accounted for a family meltdown.
Robert began his own wine business and brought his sons and daughter into key positions. Over time, he acquired other businesses and the venture expanded. However, eerily reminiscent of his own family falling out, his two sons had serious tensions between them, with very different visions of where the company should go.
Interesting vignettes: the joint venture with the legendary Baron Philippe de Rothschild and his wife, who took aver the reins after the Baron's death, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild.
The book itself reads almost like a Greek tragedy, where the reader can see all the fault lines and can see disaster looming; however, the characters themselves as they lived their lives were unable to control events.
This is a well written book that brings one into the world of winemaking and one family's successes and failures.