Most Americans know the name Du Pont. But not as many are aware of the powerful family behind the world’s largest chemical company. The Du Ponts are easily the richest family in America and one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the world. From their fortress-like complex of buildings in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, they direct the workings of a vast network of interlocking companies that encompasses the world. They rule the state of Delaware as their private duchy, and they influence and control the lives of thousands of employees and millions of citizens.
Here is the truly revealing story of this remarkable family, from the arrival in this country of Eleuthere Irenee du Pont, who was to found the firm that thought of itself as ‘America’s armorer, ‘ to the present governor of Delaware, Pierre S. (‘Pete’) du Pont IV, who many observers claim is already running for the 1988 presidential election.
Along the way you will meet a host of colorful and, in some cases, infamous characters: Henry du Pont, ‘The General, ‘ who conceived and made a fortune from the Gunpowder Trust after the Civil War; Alfred I. du Pont, ‘The Count of Florida’, who was instrumental in developing as well as plundering the resources of that state; and his wife, Jessie, whose surviving brother, Edward Ball, refused to relinquish her trust fund, which she had left to charity, in order to amass another Du Pont fortune. And finally, Irving Shapiro, recent chairman of Du Pont Company and the first outsider to manage the notoriously clannish Du Pont empire, who is overseeing enormous changes in the company’s direction and the nation’s laws. The incredible deals, ploys, plots and manipulations which gained their empire for the Du Ponts, as well as the bitter feuds and struggles within the family, are rescued from the elaborate coverups and silences that the publicity-hating Du Ponts have imposed over the years are explored in detail.