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Extended Audio Sample The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty Audiobook, by Julia Flynn Siler Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.61 out of 53.61 out of 53.61 out of 53.61 out of 53.61 out of 5 3.61 (36 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julia Flynn Siler Narrator: Alan Sklar Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2007 ISBN: 9781400174805
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Set in California’s lush Napa Valley and spanning four generations of a talented and visionary family, The House of Mondavi is a tale of genius, sibling rivalry, and betrayal. From 1906, when Italian immigrant Cesare Mondavi passed through Ellis Island, to the Robert Mondavi Corp.’s twenty-first-century battle over a billion-dollar fortune, award-winning journalist Julia Flynn brings to life both the place and the people in this riveting family drama.

The blood feuds are as spectacular as the business triumphs. Cesare’s sons, Robert and Peter, literally came to blows in the 1960s during a dispute touched off by the purchase of a mink coat, resulting in Robert’s exile from the family—and his subsequent founding of a winery that would set off a revolution in American winemaking. Robert’s sons, Michael and Timothy, as passionate in their own ways as their visionary father, waged battle with each other for control of the company before Michael’s expansive ambitions ultimately led to a board coup and the sale of the business to an international conglomerate.

A meticulously reported narrative based on thousands of hours of interviews, The House of Mondavi is bound to become a classic.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A fascinating history filled with charismatic yet flawed characters.”

    BusinessWeek

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samantha Sevekow | 2/16/2014

    " This is a very meaty book. It's is quite interesting. It is not just about the Mondavi family, but the whole history of Wine in America, especially the rise of cheap wine. I just still want to know why cheap wine in Italy is sooo much better than our two buck chuck. Okay, well guess I do know now, bc if the cheap stuff tasted good, who would by the 60 dollar cab. Love America's Capitalist society. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angie | 2/7/2014

    " This is a great book. It is the story of the rise and fall of the Mondavi wine dynasty. It is quite like a Greek tragedy. Feuding, lawsuits, divorce. However, under it all is the story of 4 generations of the Mondavi family and their quest for wine making. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany | 1/30/2014

    " Since we love wine, I was naturally interested in learning about the one of the first families to pioneer interest in the United States. This poor family was wrought with strife and deep-rooted power conflicts that spanned generations. It's very honest and told from a third party perspective so you learn all sides of the story. I highly recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Juliet | 1/29/2014

    " a lot of family history throughout, but if you love to read about coporate takeovers and the nuances of shareholder relationships, you'll love this book. the family history starts at the beginning and it's interesting to see how much the family relationship invades and impedes the business, especially in such a consistent manner through the generations. it was cool to read about the sort of birth and growth of the napa valley (from the Mondavi perspective) through to about 2007 and i was struck over and over how much these guys fought with each other, despite each of them being personally worth millions later on. if you don't get bogged down by the technical/legal-speak of it (and that is only present in parts throughout), i think it's enjoyable. the author does a pretty good job of describing what happened without making your eyes glaze over at the corporate law aspects of it. (speaking from the point of view of someone who studied corporate law, though...) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauri | 1/29/2014

    " This book is terrific and I couldn't put it down. I found myself easily interested in all of the individuals put forward in the book. The story has a nice flowing manner to it and you feel like an insider when reading it. You'd like to reach into the story and shake some sense into the family, but instead you are relegated to sitting idly by and watching the painful (and, at times, inspiring) story unfold. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 1/26/2014

    " This non-fiction account of the Mondavi wine dynasty was rivating. There were so many issues explored: family dynamics, role of wine in the USA, small town mentality toward change, etc. I had a hard time putting it down. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandy | 1/23/2014

    " I would never have read this book if it were not a Foodie Book Club pick of the month. Reading about dysfunctional families is not my thing and rich dysfunctional families is even worse. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Caitlin | 1/19/2014

    " Sadly, I gave up on this one. It's quite long and just didn't hold my interest, even in audio format. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joshua Arons | 1/19/2014

    " Excellent story. Illustrates the evolution of Napa beautifully, while holding your attention with a lecherous, bizarre family story worthy of the seediest soap opera. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brooke Ybarra | 1/14/2014

    " If you like wine or Napa Valley, you'll probably like this book. Lots of information about the Mondavis with cameos and little stories about some of the other major wine personalities. I think it should be a must-read for anyone considering a family business... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 1/12/2014

    " A good lesson on how hubris can bring down even rich and powerful families. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leah Coffin | 12/12/2013

    " So much drama, so little time. Loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 kaitlin | 12/6/2013

    " highly sensationalized... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gretchen Gulledge | 12/5/2013

    " Who knew that the history of California wines was so interesting & dramatic!?!? This historical book has a few slow spots, but over all it's fascinating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 12/5/2013

    " Fun book! If you like wine, this book is a great overview of california wine-country history. The characters are intriguing - steadfast and headstrong, and the family dynamic is interesting. A quick read that keeps you captivated. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 10/29/2013

    " Really interseting, in-depth history of the Mondavi family who were like the Kennedy's of American wine and documents their rise and fall of a wine empire. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 2/27/2013

    " I had somehow not heard of the Mondavi family when I picked this book up, but it looked interesting and it was. Siler gives a detailed but balanced account of their history, complete with their greatest accomplishments and scariest deficiencies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren Hanson | 2/23/2013

    " Engaging tale about business, wine and the business of making wine for multiple generations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roopal | 11/14/2012

    " Extremely thorough account of the Mondavi Wine Family spanning over four generations. Reads very much like a Greek tragedy with interesting twists, turns, regret, nostalgia, love, and family wars. I very much enjoyed reading it and polished it off (400 pages) in just less than 3 days. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 E. | 10/7/2012

    " I expected it to be a California version of "Dallas." It was. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Naomi | 5/13/2012

    " This book is fantastic! The author portrays a really clear and dysfunctional picture of the Mondavi empire. The book is well written with some "juicy" information. Not being a fan of Mondavi wines, I loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 1/20/2012

    " This was a very interesting look into the Mondavi family. Why can't everyone just get along?! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky | 11/9/2011

    " Loved the book, Love Wine Country! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margo | 10/27/2011

    " What a story -- amazing, exhausting, nearly Biblical or Shakespearean in its scope. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kate Benayoun | 5/23/2011

    " So poorly written I could never finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christina | 4/17/2011

    " Reading about several decades of bickering and value destruction is a little sickening. This being said, the story makes for a fun real-life soap opera. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 1/19/2011

    " The author did a nice job of balancing the family and business aspects of the story. What a tragic story of a family's greed and selfishness. I had expected to learn more about wine-making, but the book clearly focused on the wine business. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 11/8/2010

    " Engaging tale about business, wine and the business of making wine for multiple generations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley | 10/12/2010

    " fascinating as not only a historical account of the Mondavi family, but moreso of the American wine industry. i had no idea it'd be relevant in the business book category, but i found it an educational look at small vs big business and marketing as a whole. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 10/1/2010

    " Fantastic read and a wonderful history of the Napa Valley! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 9/6/2010

    " liked it! read it for book club and enjoyed more than most nonfiction books I read. Also, had a hankering for red wine the entire time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 8/17/2010

    " This non-fiction account of the Mondavi wine dynasty was rivating. There were so many issues explored: family dynamics, role of wine in the USA, small town mentality toward change, etc. I had a hard time putting it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joshua | 8/9/2010

    " Excellent story. Illustrates the evolution of Napa beautifully, while holding your attention with a lecherous, bizarre family story worthy of the seediest soap opera. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 6/15/2010

    " This was a great book about an interesting wine family! Worth the read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 5/17/2010

    " A very interesting look into one of the most famous American wine makers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Saeed | 3/14/2010

    " Soap opera story which gets to be a bit much by the end. I also question whether the author is truly unbiased in her description and retellong of the events. Lesson learned: don't do business with the family. "

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About the Author
Author Julia Flynn Siler

Julia Flynn Siler is the New York Times bestselling author of The House of Mondavi. Her most recent book, Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure, was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. An award-winning journalist, she lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons.

About the Narrator

Alan Sklar, a graduate of Dartmouth, has excelled in his career as a freelance voice actor. He began narrating audiobooks in 1996, winning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards and earning several “Best Voice” awards. He has also worked as a stage actor and as a promo announcer at WPIX-TV in New York City. His dream is to be an opera singer, a role for which he hones his bass-baritone operatic skills in the upstairs shower of his home.