Why did Winthrop Rockefeller, scion of one of the most powerful families in American history, leave New York for an Arkansas mountaintop in the 1950s? In this richly detailed biography of the former Arkansas governor, John A. Kirk delves into the historical record to fully unravel that mystery for the first time. Kirk pursues clues threaded throughout Rockefeller’s life, tracing his family background, childhood, and education; his rise in the oil industry from roustabout to junior executive; his military service in the Pacific during World War II, including his involvement in the battles of Guam, Leyte, and Okinawa; his postwar work in race relations, health, education, and philanthropy; his marriage to and divorce from Barbara “Bobo” Sears; and the birth of his only child, future Arkansas lieutenant governor Win Paul Rockefeller. This careful examination of Winthrop Rockefeller’s first forty-four years casts a powerful new light on his relationship with his adopted state, where his legacy continues to be felt more than half a century after his governorship.
John A. Kirk is the George W. Donaghey Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the author or editor of ten books.
Published by the University of Arkansas Press, March 2022 https://www.uapress.com/product/winthrop-rockefeller/
You can read an excerpt from the book here: https://arktimes.com/news/history-news/2022/03/07/the-prelude-to-winthrop-rockefellers-ris...