Ray & Joan by Lisa Napoli
The Man Who Made the McDonald's Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away

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In the author’s telling, Ray never emerges as a sympathetic man, but Joan slowly morphs into a sympathetic heiress. A book characterized by deep research and a seamless weaving together of the details of different lives.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

The movie The Founder, starring Michael Keaton, focused the spotlight on Ray Kroc, the man who amassed a fortune as the chairman of McDonald’s. But what about his wife Joan, the woman who became famous for giving away his fortune? Lisa Napoli tells the fascinating story behind the historic couple.

Ray & Joan is a quintessentially American tale of corporate intrigue and private passion: a struggling Mad Men–era salesman with a vision for a fast-food franchise that would become one of the world’s most enduring brands, and a beautiful woman willing to risk her marriage and her reputation to promote controversial causes that touched her deeply.

Ray Kroc was peddling franchises around the country for a fledgling hamburger stand in the 1950s—McDonald’s, it was called—when he entered a St. Paul supper club and encountered a beautiful young piano player who would change his life forever. The attraction between Ray and Joan was instantaneous and instantly problematic. Yet even the fact that both were married to other people couldn’t derail their roller coaster of a romance.

To the outside world, Ray and Joan were happy, enormously rich, and giving. But privately, Joan was growing troubled over Ray’s temper and dark secret, something she was reluctant to publicly reveal. Those close to them compared their relationship to that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. And yet, this volatility paved the way for Joan’s transformation into one of the greatest philanthropists of our time. A force in the peace movement, she produced activist films, books, and music and ultimately gave away billions of dollars, including landmark gifts to the Salvation Army and NPR.

Together, the two stories form a compelling portrait of the twentieth century: a story of big business, big love, and big giving.

 

About Lisa Napoli

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LISA NAPOLI is a journalist whose last staff job was on the public radio show Marketplace. An early chronicler of the dawn of the World Wide Web as a columnist at the New York Times CyberTimes, she has also been the Internet correspondent at MSNBC. She began her career at CNN, worked in local news in North Carolina, and has directed several documentaries about Southern culture. www.LisaNapoli.com
 
Published November 15, 2016 by Dutton. 363 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Ray & Joan
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Kirkus

Excellent
on Jul 19 2016

In the author’s telling, Ray never emerges as a sympathetic man, but Joan slowly morphs into a sympathetic heiress. A book characterized by deep research and a seamless weaving together of the details of different lives.

Read Full Review of Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 21 2017

Napoli’s energetic, slightly tabloidesque narrative style make this a must-read for anyone who loves a good love story behind a business success.

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