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House of Getty
     

House of Getty

by Russell Miller
 

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The tormented saga of the Getty family reads like the script for Dynasty, interweaving boardroom battles, sex, money, drugs, power, crime, tragedy, and family intrigue.

At the center stands the figure of John Paul Getty, the grandfather, an eccentric oil billionaire believed to have been the richest man in the world. Married and divorced five times, he had five

Overview

The tormented saga of the Getty family reads like the script for Dynasty, interweaving boardroom battles, sex, money, drugs, power, crime, tragedy, and family intrigue.

At the center stands the figure of John Paul Getty, the grandfather, an eccentric oil billionaire believed to have been the richest man in the world. Married and divorced five times, he had five sons, and yet was cheated of his dearest ambition-to found an oil dynasty. His angelic youngest son died at age twelve after years of illness. Of the remaining four sons, three proved to be hopeless businessmen and, one by one, dropped out of Getty Oil. Only one had the talent to take the helm of the family business, and he was groomed for the part. And then he killed himself.

With his cherished hopes of a family dynasty crushed, John Paul built a magnificent museum as a monument for all time to his success. But money tainted even his philanthropy; the Getty Museum has become feared for its wealth and ability to pillage the art market. In the maneuvering that followed John Paul's death, Getty Oil was sold; Texaco acquired it for $9.9 billion, the biggest corporate takeover in history.

Award-winning journalist and writer Russell Miller has broken the embargo of silence that has surrounded the Gettys to bring us the extraordinary and often disturbing story of a unique American family. From the pioneering days in the Oklahoma oil fields to the bitter struggles over Getty Oil, we follow the rise and fall of three generations-all apparently cursed with the Midas touch.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ostensibly a three-generation portrait of a family whose bonds were ``rotted'' by money, this richly detailed book covers much the same ground as Robert Lenzner's The Great Getty (Nonfiction Forecasts, Jan. 24), with billionaire oilman J. Paul Getty at center stage. For Miller, the family oil business is the thread for a lively narrative that begins in the Oklahoma oilfields of the 1900s, traces J. Paul's headlong pursuit of his five ``passions'' (oil, art, money, women and sex), and ends with the stories of four sons whose continuing squabbles have left only their lawyers happy. Especially good on the family's early wildcatting days, British journalist Miller (Bunny uses anecdotes effectively to render a strange melodrama that will fascinate and appall many. Photos. Doubleday Book Club selection; Literary Guild alternate; author tour. (March 3)
Library Journal
The business exploits of J. Paul Getty are legendary, as is his accumulation of a fortune in the billions of dollars. Miller's biography of the Gettys, focus ing on the eccentric oilman, his five wives, five sons, countless other de scendants, and an extensive entourage of women, is noteworthy, too. Details about Getty's oil interests, collection of art treasures, and unfathomable wealth are interwoven in a saga that often reads like popular fiction. Getty was an imaginative businessman who hated to fly, loved European travel, and left the United States for good in 1951. Miller, a British writer who traced the Playboy empire in Bunny ( LJ 7/85), used Getty's diaries to reconstruct much of his life and career. The last few chapters detail the legal battles over Getty's will after his death in 1976. A fascinating ac count, for public and academic librar ies. Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., Alabama

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805000238
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
06/01/1988
Pages:
416

Meet the Author


Russell Miller is a prize-winning journalist and the author of eleven previous books. He was born in east London in 1938 and began his career in journalism at the age of sixteen. While under contract to the Sunday Times Magazine he won four press awards and was voted Writer of the Year by the Society of British Magazine Editors. His book Magnum, on the legendary photo agency, was described by John Simpson as 'the best book on photo-journalism I have ever read', and his oral histories of D-Day, Nothing Less than Victory, and SOE, behind the lines were widely acclaimed, both in Britain and in the United States.

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