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From the founders of the international health-care behemoth Johnson & Johnson in the late 1800s to the contemporary Johnsons of today, such as billionaire New York Jets owner Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV, all is revealed in this scrupulously researched, unauthorized biography by New York Times bestselling author Jerry Oppenheimer. Often compared to the Kennedy clan because of the tragedies and scandals that had befallen both wealthy and powerful families, Crazy Rich, based on scores of exclusive, candid, on-the-record interviews, reveals how the dynasty's vast fortune was both intoxicating and toxic through the generations of a family that gave the world Band-Aids and Baby Oil. At the same time, they've been termed perhaps the most dysfunctional family in the fortune 500. Oppenheimer is the author of biographies of the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Hiltons and Martha Stewart, among other American icons.
In his latest breathless tell-all, Oppenheimer (author of unauthorized biographies of Martha Stewart, the Hilton family, Anna Wintour, and others) trains his gaze on the Johnsons, the cursed Kennedies of pharmaceuticals a family who, with every generation, find themselves at the center of celebrity and political scandal. From the very start, the Johnson clan courted controversy by smashing rivals and famously stealing Florence Nightingale's logo for the Red Cross. Since then, they've been plagued by misery, corruption, and misfortune (despite amassing a substantial fortune). Oppenheimer provides a wealth of salacious and sometimes tragic material from Casey Johnson's recent breakdown and death, to the parade of outlandish characters who have married into the family (including the housekeeper-turned-dowager Barbara Piasecka Johnson, who died this past April 1) and the transformation of Robert "Woody" Johnson IV from playboy to Republican powerbroker, football mogul, and philanthropist. The book is an impressive example of journalistic synthesis, bringing together bits of tabloid journalism not usually connected (playing celebrity connect-the-dots is half the book's fun) around a strong narrative core. The lurid, occasionally clumsy writing is matched by a real sadness for a family whose money can buy influence and power, but comes with costly personal consequences.