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About Julia Flynn Siler
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Set in California’s lush Napa Valley and spanning four generations of a talented and visionary family, The House of Mondavi is a tale of genius, sibling rivalry, and betrayal. From 1906, when Italian immigrant Cesare Mondavi passed through Ellis Island, to the Robert Mondavi Corp.’s twenty-first-century battle over a billion-dollar fortune, award-winning journalist Julia Flynn brings to life both the place and the people in this riveting family drama.
The blood feuds are as spectacular as the business triumphs. Cesare’s sons, Robert and Peter, literally came to blows in the 1960s during a dispute touched off by the purchase of a mink coat, resulting in Robert’s exile from the family—and his subsequent founding of a winery that would set off a revolution in American winemaking. Robert’s sons, Michael and Timothy, as passionate in their own ways as their visionary father, waged battle with each other for control of the company before Michael’s expansive ambitions ultimately led to a board coup and the sale of the business to an international conglomerate.
A meticulously reported narrative based on thousands of hours of interviews, The House of Mondavi is bound to become a classic.
Deftly weaving together a memorable cast of characters, Lost Kingdom brings to life the clash between a vulnerable Polynesian people and relentlessly expanding capitalist powers. Portraits of royalty and rogues, sugar barons, and missionaries combine into a sweeping tale of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s rise and fall.
At the center of the story is Lili‘uokalani, the last queen of Hawai‘i. Born in 1838, she lived through the nearly complete economic transformation of the islands. Lucrative sugar plantations gradually subsumed the majority of the land, owned almost exclusively by white planters, dubbed the “Sugar Kings.” Hawai‘i became a prize in the contest between America, Britain, and France, each seeking to expand their military and commercial influence in the Pacific.
The monarchy had become a figurehead, victim to manipulation from the wealthy sugar plantation owners. Lili‘u was determined to enact a constitution to reinstate the monarchy’s power but was outmaneuvered by the United States. The annexation of Hawai‘i had begun, ushering in a new century of American imperialism.
“An important chapter in our national history, one that most Americans don’t know but should.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Siler gives us a riveting and intimate look at the rise and tragic fall of Hawaii’s royal family . . . A reminder that Hawaii remains one of the most breathtaking places in the world. Even if the kingdom is lost.” —Fortune
“[A] well-researched, nicely contextualized history . . . [Indeed] ‘one of the most audacious land grabs of the Gilded Age.’” —Los Angeles Times