Alfred I. Du Pont: The Man and His Family

Joseph Frazier Wall, Author Oxford University Press, USA $35 (718p) ISBN 978-0-19-504349-5
Family maverick Alfred I. du Pont (1864-1935), heir to a gunpowder fortune, created a scandal by marrying his cousin, a recent divorcee, in 1907. Ostracized by the clan, he subsequently brought slander suits against two relatives. His later marriage to a Virginia farmgirl also raised eyebrows. Edged out of control of the du Pont industrial empire after a 15-year legal battle, he moved to Florida and devoted his liquid assets to building up his adopted state during the Depression. His recognition that great privilege entails social responsibility echoed the thinking of great-great-grandfather Pierre Samuel du Pont (1739-1817), a liberal French politician who narrowly missed being guillotined and who later emigrated to the U.S. and helped his friend Thomas Jefferson acquire the Louisiana territory. More than a biography of Alfred, this magisterial family saga is checkered with lethal explosions, immense egos, high drama and low, cunning passions. Wall is the author of Andrew Carnegie. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
Discover what to read next