By Nancy Kriplen
He used to be hated, feared, and sought after. The country's second-richest guy on the time of his loss of life, John D. MacArthur (1897-1978) additionally grew to become one in all its nice benefactors. each year, a few dozen American writers, artists, intellectuals, and scientists obtain up to a part million money in gives you often called the 'genius awards' from the loo D. and Catherine T. MacArthur origin. yet MacArthur used to be no longer the benevolent determine you could anticipate. Stingier than J. Paul Getty, as money-obsessed as Howard Hughes, and as ruthless as Cornelius Vanderbilt, MacArthur was once probably the most multi-layered males in company historical past. Now, during this first complete biography of John D. MacArthur as he particularly used to be, Nancy Kriplen finds the guy in the back of the parable - the usually vulgar, occasionally unethical, continually formidable rogue who might develop into one among America's wealthiest men."The Eccentric Billionaire" chronicles how MacArthur accrued his fortune, emerging from a poverty-saturated adolescence because the son of a fire-and-brimstone preacher to develop into an assurance and actual property wealthy person. As sole proprietor of Bankers lifestyles and Casualty, he additionally equipped a true property empire that spanned the continent. according to interviews with contributors of the MacArthur kinfolk in addition to formerly undiscovered letters and papers, this publication finds MacArthur's tumultuous inner most lifestyles, together with his quickie divorce from his first spouse and his Mexican marriage to Catherine, his brother's adorable, smart teenage secretary who might aid him on his climb to riches. the writer additionally explores MacArthur's relationships along with his friends and family, together with his brother, the playwright Charles MacArthur, and sister-in-law, the good actress Helen Hayes. generally researched and wonderfully written, "The Eccentric Billionaire" is a revealing examine a guy whose impact has prolonged in methods he by no means dreamed.
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Additional info for The Eccentric Billionaire: John D. MacArthur--Empire Builder, Reluctant Philanthropist, Relentless Adversary
John was demonstrating great success as a salesman. He worked relentlessly, sales call after sales call. He learned what worked and what didn’t work when selling life insurance. He learned the euphemistic phrases for getting people to think about the unthinkable—that someday they would be dead. Gone. In a box in the ground. He was determined to make money to show them all—his increasingly successful older brothers, his uppity in-laws who thought he would never amount to anything. Hard work might be admirable, but Louise wanted a more balanced, traditional life, with a husband who took the train home from the city at six o’clock every evening.
This made him twenty-two instead of twenty—for no good reason, since eighteen was the legal age of enlistment. The new seaman was of medium height and slim, ﬁve feet eight and one-half inches, 147 pounds. But regimented service life was not for John. In early October 1917, a medical ofﬁcer recommended that he be discharged, diagnosing his condition as “dementia praecox,” the disorder that later would be called schizophrenia. “His conduct is bizarre,” stated the medical ofﬁcer’s report. “He is impulsive and not reliable.
James, her father, pulled himself up from day laborer to run, eventually, a successful real estate business and hold jobs under several Democratic administrations. One of his political jobs was superintendent of Navy Pier. It was a big family—six girls, three boys. Several of the Hyland girls had college degrees and had worked for Alfred, both at the ofﬁce and as vacation-trip tutors for his children. An older sister of Catherine’s, who worked for Alfred at National Life, had become a high-producing Chicago insurance sales agent, unusual for a woman.
The Eccentric Billionaire: John D. MacArthur--Empire Builder, Reluctant Philanthropist, Relentless Adversary by Nancy Kriplen