The Gilded Leaf: Triumph, Tragedy, and Tobacco: Three Generations of the R.J. Reynolds Family and Fortune

Patrick Reynolds, Author, Tom Shachtman, With Little Brown and Company $19.95 (353p) ISBN 978-0-316-74121-7
Readers of this captivating account of the R. J. Reynolds tobacco clan may need to remind themselves that it is not fiction. There are colorful characters, a family rising from humble be ginnings to attain fabulous wealth and power, scandal and tragedy wrought by excess--and an irony-laden finale. Concentrating on the period from the turn of the century to the present, but going back as far as 1828, Reynolds, grandson of R. J., and Schactman ( The Phony War ) explore the workings of a family whose success was a major contributor to the anguish of some of its members. Among these are Dick Reynolds, quintessential Jazz Age playboy who married four times and died of the combined effects of using alcohol and tobacco; Smith Reynolds, daredevil pilot who flew around the world, married twice and died of a gunshot wound--possibly inflicted by his wife--at age 20; and R. J. (Richard Joshua), shrewd, remarkably civic-minded paterfamilias who built the family fortune. Coauthor-descendant Reynolds has put a nice twist on the family history by becoming a crusader for the anti-smoking movement. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-595-36658-3
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-595-83831-8
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