Customer Reviews for

The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2008

    A Non-Fiction Page Turner!

    Julia Flynn Siler's The House of Mondavi starts with everything that makes a great story: a wonderfully complex and larger-than-life character, a lush wine-country setting, a conflicted family, and a great undertaking. She brings the story to life with a journalist's eye for the telling detail and a fine fiction writer's sense of plot, pacing, and instinct for the great tragedy that so often results from excesses of pride. The result is a page-turner that leaves the reader not just with the sense of having enjoyed a satisfying story, but also with a deep knowledge of the history of the rise of California's wine industry and a better understanding of human nature. I would recommend this book to anyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2008

    A fascinating read

    This book is for anyone who is even remotely interested in wine and anyone who has fallen in love with Napa Valley. There are quite a few characters so it was at times difficult to get them straight but all in all I would highly recommend this book. I couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2007

    Take notes and read everything twice...

    'House of Mondavi' was my first entry into wine literature, and it is spectacular reading. Some of the stories of a fractured and dysfunctional family read like fiction because you might not believe that blood relatives would do some of the things they did to each other. My admittedly meager wine knowledge did not come into play - I was shocked as I continued to read (captivated, might I add) that I did not need to be the stereotypical 'wine snob' to follow the happenings in the book. What I did need was a notepad and several looks at the family tree on the inside covers. Between people's names, vineyard names, and brand names, this book likely invites 'War and Peace' jokes for how many names and references you have to keep straight. Having said that, if you read slower than your normal speed, which I would highly recommend, you'll read a fantastic family and business story that is aptly summed up by the quote on the back cover: 'Think 'Barbarians at the Grape''. The similarities to the RJR Nabisco story are telling, and while F. Ross Johnson and Co. weren't dealing with family members, one could argue that the different branches of the Mondavi family weren't dealing with family members either. Blood might be thicker than water, but it's apparently thinner than wine.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2011

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