Henry Flagler: The Astonishing Life and Times of the Visionary Robber Baron Who Founded Florida

David Leon Chandler, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $30 (324p) ISBN 978-0-02-523690-5
With an entrepreneurial spirit noteworthy of his immigrant Palatine forebears, Flagler, together with John D. Rockefeller, founded Standard Oil and used his fortune to create the modern state of Florida. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chandler (Criminal Brotherhood, etc.) provides colorful accounts of the early immigrants and the ferment of invention and industry of the mid- and late-1880s to which the Standard Oil empire contributed. After an initial visit to Jacksonville in 1877 because of his first wife's health, Flagler disengaged from the company and at 64 started a second career in Florida as developer of farmland and resort areas, building luxury hotels and railroads which spurred the growth of Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach and other cities. Flagler, an elusive personality, remains an enigmatic figure, however, despite his astonishing life as a visionary robber baron recreated here. Photos not seen by PW. (June 26)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1986
Release date: 06/01/1986
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