A Man and His Mountain: The Everyman Who Created Kendall-Jackson and Became America's Greatest Wine Entrepreneur

PublicAffairs. 2013. 304p. index. ISBN 9781610392853. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781610392860. BUS
The Kendall-Jackson wine brand is both broadly recognized and immensely profitable. In this recounting of the life of its founder, Jess Stonestreet Jackson, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Humes (Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash) brings the rise of the label into sharp focus, with particular emphasis on backroom deals for land. Aspiring entrepreneurs rather than wine enthusiasts are the likely target audience, and Jackson's rags-to-riches tale may prove inspirational to some. However, the book does not provide applicable lessons or models for readers to follow. Also problematic is the writing, which verges on fawning. Jackson apparently seldom set a foot wrong and was usually proved right. Dissenting voices are unwelcome in this narrative, and those who do get on Jackson's bad side are never fully realized characters in their own right. His business acumen was laudable, but his story needs a more objective telling.
VERDICT An account of a life lived fully, captured inadequately. Of limited appeal.
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