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If Alfred I. du Pont was born to “the purple and ermine” of an American industrial dynasty, his life was far from peaceful, pampered, indolent. Beginning at the bottom as little more than a teamster and handyman, within fifteen years young du Pont was widely recognized as “the best black powderman in the nation” and the mechanical genius of the du Pont family. In 1902, upon the death of Eugene du Pont, Alfred was brash and confident enough to claim for himself the company his elders wanted to sell to their major competitor, Laflin and Rand. With two cousins, he formed a triumvirate which ultimately converted the old gunpowder company into the great chemical empire it is today.
In this brilliantly written, in-depth biography, Joseph Frazier Wall ranges from Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours’s spectacular rise in pre-Revolutionary France, to the family’s migration to America and the founding of the Du Pont Company in Wilmington,…[more]