After a quick check of the author's extensive bibliography, the logical question would seem to be: why another book on the du Ponts? The corporation has tended to overshadow the people that made it what it is but in this journalistic verview, the family takes precedence over the enterprises. When the patriarchal hysiocrat, Samuel Pierre settled on the Brandywine with his brood, the family concern was founded on the manufacture of fireless powder. As the profits gradually took the du Ponts away from their near misses with bankruptcy, the authoritarian discipline exerted over the near relatives became a potentially explosive situation, particularly in regard to the marital entanglements of the heirs. Like European royalty, the du Ponts found it convenient, easy and, in many ways, safer to marry cousins. The author has collected the du Pont gossip and anecdote (especially that which the Wilmington papers didn't see fit to print). He reates these stories of powerful personalities to the company's growth and fortunes. The most space goes to Alfred, the du Pont's second divorce and, from this record, e evidently was motivated as much by family irritation as ambition in his company ctions. The book occasionally bogs down in ""begats"" but it reads with a popular, people-centered energy.