The Business of Tomorrow: The Visionary Life of Harry Guggenheim from Aviation and Rocketry to the Creation of an Art Dynasty

Dirk Smillie. Pegasus, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64313-420-8
Jazz Age eccentric multimillionaire Harry Guggenheim (1890–1971) comes to life in this deep dive from Smillie (Falwell Inc.), a senior reporter at Forbes magazine. Born in West End, N.J., into a family mining empire, Smillie shows Guggenheim as a childhood trickster who played pranks with his cousin in his wealthy environs. He attended Yale for a semester, then left for an apprenticeship at the family mining operation in Mexico. Smillie covers his adventures in Mexico’s deserts, his subsequent ventures bankrolling promotional campaigns with Charles Lindbergh, his position as the U.S. ambassador to Cuba, and his investments in early aviation. But, Smillie shows, it was conquering the world of art that proved to be Guggenheim’s biggest challenge—even the design of the modern art museum that would bear his family name proved a tough sell until he convinced master builder Robert Moses, an avowed hater of modern art, to get the planning permission for his architecturally dodgy building. Well-researched and breezy, Smillie successfully creates a page-turning look at the power of wealth set against the backdrop of political turmoil, prohibition-era parties, and groundbreaking technological developments. History buffs will enjoy this comprehensive account. Agent: Leah Spiro, Riverside Creative. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/11/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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