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Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune (Hardcover)

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    Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune (Hardcover)
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    Bill Dedman introduced the public to heiress Huguette Clark and her empty mansions through his compelling series of narratives for NBC, which became the most popular feature in the history of its news website, topping 110 million page views. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting while writing for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and has written forThe New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.

    Paul Clark Newell, Jr., a cousin of Huguette Clark, has researched the Clark family history for twenty years, sharing many conversations with Huguette about her life and family. He received a rare private tour of Bellosguardo, her mysterious estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara.

    #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
    Janet Maslin, The New York Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    When Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history.Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money?

    Dedman has collaborated with Huguette Clark’s cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have frequent conversations with her. Dedman and Newell tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented daughter, born into a family of extreme wealth and privilege, who secrets herself away from the outside world.

    Huguette was the daughter of self-made copper industrialist W. A. Clark, nearly as rich as Rockefeller in his day, a controversial senator, railroad builder, and founder of Las Vegas. She grew up in the largest house in New York City, a remarkable dwelling with 121 rooms for a family of four. She owned paintings by Degas and Renoir, a world-renowned Stradivarius violin, a vast collection of antique dolls. But wanting more than treasures, she devoted her wealth to buying gifts for friends and strangers alike, to quietly pursuing her own work as an artist, and to guarding the privacy she valued above all else.

    The Clark family story spans nearly all of American history in three generations, from a log cabin in Pennsylvania to mining camps in the Montana gold rush, from backdoor politics in Washington to a distress call from an elegant Fifth Avenue apartment. The same Huguette who was touched by the terror attacks of 9/11 held a ticket nine decades earlier for a first-class stateroom on the second voyage of theTitanic.

    Empty Mansions reveals a complex portrait of the mysterious Huguette and her intimate circle. We meet her extravagant father, her publicity-shy mother, her star-crossed sister, her French boyfriend, her nurse who received more than $30 million in gifts, and the relatives fighting to inherit Huguette’s copper fortune. Richly illustrated with more than seventy photographs,Empty Mansions is an enthralling story of an eccentric of the highest order, a last jewel of the Gilded Age who lived life on her own terms.

    Praise for Empty Mansions

    “An amazing story of profligate wealth . . . an outsized tale of rags-to-riches prosperity.”—The New York Times

    “An evocative and rollicking read, part social history, part hothouse mystery, partgrand guignol—The Daily Beast

    “Fascinating . . . [a] haunting true-life tale.”—People

    “One of those incredible stories that you didn’t even know existed. It filled a void.”—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

    Specs

    ISBN 9780345534521
    Genre BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Rich & Famous
    Format Hardcover
    Pages 456
    Publisher Date 2013-09-10 00:00:00.0
    Publisher Ballantine Books
    Copyright Year 2013
    Height 10.0 in
    Wdth 7.0 in
    Thickness 1.25 in
    Unit weight 1.95 lb
    Language English
    Subtitle The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
    Audience General/trade
    Authors Dedman, Bill
    Country of Origin United States

    Product Reviews


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    • One of the best books I've read in years

      I read a lot and this is quite simply one of the best books I've read in a long time. Huguette Clark's story is enthralling and the authors do a very good job telling her story with just the right amount of detail and pace. In fact, I liked the book so much I just lent it to my parents to read as well.

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    • EMPTY MANSIONS

      A well researched interesting historical perspective about a little known wealthy American family. I was surprised by the scope of research and he narrative is good. A fascinating read...

      Read More

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