Gilded: How Newport Became America's Richest Resort by Deborah Davis
Newport is the legendary and beautiful home of American aristocracy and the sheltered super-rich. Many of the country's most famous blueblood families, the closest thing we have to royalty, have lived and summered in Newport since the nineteenth century. The Astors, the Vanderbilts, Edith Wharton, JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Doris Duke, and Claus and Sunny von Bulow are just a few of the many names who have called the city home. Gilded takes you along as you explore the fascinating heritage of the Newport elite, from its first colonists to the newest of its new millennium millionaires, showing the evolution of a town intent on living in its own world. Through a narrative filled with engrossing characters and lively tales of untold extravagance, Davis brings the resort to life and uncovers the difference between rich and Newport rich along the way.
An engrossing multigenerational saga that tells the real story of the rich and famous in Newport. 34 evocative black-and-white photographs.
Written with insight and dramatic flair, Gilded gives you a rare peek into the cloistered coastal playground of America's moneyed elite.
Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Mother and Daughter in the “Gilded Age” by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart
Rogues and Heroes of Newport's Gilded Age by Ed Morris
Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor by Rosina Harrison
For 35 years, from the parties thrown for royalty and trips across the globe, to the air raids during WWII, Rose was by Lady Astor's side and behind the scenes, keeping everything running smoothly. In charge of everything from the clothes and furs to the baggage to the priceless diamond "sparklers," Rose was closer to Lady Astor than anyone else. In her decades of service she received one 5 raise, but she traveled the world in style and retired with a lifetime's worth of stories. Like Gosford Park and Downton Abbey, Rose is a captivating insight into the great wealth 'upstairs' and the endless work 'downstairs', but it is also the story of an unlikely decades-long friendship that grew between Her Ladyship and her spirited Yorkshire maid.
When the Astors Owned New York: Blue Bloods & Grand Hotels in a Gilded Age by Justin Kaplan
Endowed with the largest private fortunes of their day, two heirs of arch-capitalist John Jacob Astor battled with each other for social primacy. William Waldorf Astor (born 1848) and his cousin John Jacob Astor IV (born 1864) led incomparably privileged lives in the blaze of public attention. Novelist, sportsman, and inventor, John Jacob went down with the Titanic, after turbulent marital adventures and service in the Spanish-American War. Collector of art, antiquities, and stately homes, William Waldorf became a British subject and acquired the title of Viscount Astor.
In New York during the 1890s and after, the two feuding Astors built monumental grand hotels, chief among them the original Waldorf-Astoria on lower Fifth Avenue. The Astor hotels transformed social behavior. Home of the chafing dish and the velvet rope, the Waldorf-Astoria drew the rich, famous, and fashionable. It was the setting for the most notorious society event of the era—a costume extravaganza put on by its hosts during a time of widespread need and unemployment. The celebrity-packed lobbies, public rooms, lavish suites, and exclusive restaurants of the grand hotels became distinctive theaters of modern life.
Have you read any of these? Any other books you would add to this list?
Here are some of the wishlists from a few of my friends this month:
- Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede - Book with Ominous Forest Covers
- Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired - Books about Sisters
- Colleen @ A Literary Vacation - Women of the Civil War
- Erin @ Flashlight Commentary - Crusade Fiction
- Stephanie @ Layered Pages - Mysteries & Thrillers
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