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American Empress: The Life and Times of Marjorie Merriweather Post Hardcover – January 31, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 445 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1st edition (January 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679413472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679413479
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This entrancing biography of Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973)-socialite, businesswoman, Palm Beach, Fla., pacesetter, opulent Washington hostess, philanthropist-is full of high drama, gossip, scandal and international political intrigue. Her father, C.W. (Charles William) Post, cured of "invalidism" at the Battle Creek, Mich., sanatorium of Dr. John Kellogg (inventor of packaged breakfast cereal), went on to develop Postum, a coffee substitute, and Post Toasties cereal. When C.W. killed himself in 1914, Marjorie, his only child, became sole heir of the Postum Cereal Co. With her sexually unfaithful second husband, stockbroker E.F. Hutton, Postum acquired Clarence Birdseye's frozen foods company, General Foods, which, partly through Post's influence as a board member, diversified into a food empire. Her third husband, Washington lobbyist Joseph Davies, became FDR's ambassador to the Soviet Union and helped cement the Soviet-U.S. alliance against Hitler. While living in Russia, Post was appalled at the Soviet police state. She divorced fourth husband Herbert May, a Pittsburgh executive, after a blackmailer's photographers revealed his homosexuality. Rubin, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, limns a warm, generous Christian Scientist, an imperious, perfectionist mother of three daughters, a down-to-earth woman who held square-dance parties and peppered her speech with expletives. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Town & Country.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Rubin (Isabella of Castile, LJ 10/15/91) here delivers a sympathetic yet balanced biography of one of the 20th century's wealthiest women. Post inherited her fortune at the age of 27 from her father, C.W. Post, an early leader in the dry cereals industry. Her event-filled life, which included four marriages and dealings with many of the world's business and political leaders, was characterized both by generosity and extravagance. By contemporary standards, the role she played in shaping the development of General Foods seems less than extraordinary but was progressive by the standards of her day. Rubin successfully portrays the many facets of Post's life (philanthropist, socialite, mother, wife) and the high-society world in which she lived. A work with general appeal; recommended for popular history and business collections.
Mark McCullough, Heterick Lib., Ohio Northern Univ., Ada
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Great book about a truly remarkable life.
Elizabeth
This biography appears to not only be meticulously researched but also very well-written.
Grace Notes
Excellent book, very interesting time in history and fascinating character.
Michele Gowen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Carrie S. on August 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well-written and entertaining book about a fascinating woman. However, the kindle transcription seriously deteriorates at times to the point that it's tough to get the gist of the content. For example, on page 301 (of page 382 of the iPad kindle edition) I counted 16 errors, including "iJuwai" instead of "Durant", "WaUis's" for "Wallis's" and "immculioned" for.....Ok, that one defeated me. The kindle version is definitely worth the price (under $5) but the buyer should be prepared for a few strange passages!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Sonia Ibanez on February 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Superb biography which open the window (and the door) into Marjorie Merriweather Post's fascinating life - - and shows that "money cannot buy everything" ....
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Oparkklf on November 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Content very interesting in light of the rise of the food production industry. However, the Kindle version was not good at all. Many misspelled and hyphenated words, out of whack spacing, etc. It was very distracting and the worst from that perspective of all the books I have read on Kindle. I also wondered if there were some pictures, which I would guess there were in a book of this type, but there were none to be found. Summary: super interesting content, terrible Kindle translation.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Carol H. Smilgin on June 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Marjorie Merriweather Post enjoyed an exalted existence. But thanks to her father, C.P., through hard work and diligence, she acquired not only a sound business sense but came to understand that with privilege comes responsibility to others. Once the wife of the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Marjorie will forever be known as a kind, compassionate philanthropist who shared her love of culture, art and beauty with the rest of us.
"American Empress" is a page turning read about one of the world's most fascinating women.
Carol Smilgin
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent story, well written BUT, I am still 2/3 of the way through reading it and 2 things are driving me mad:

1 Many, many words are disjointed/broken up eg Mar-jor-ie
2 Half-way through the book, very peculiar things happen regarding the text - in many places on many pages, the text changes from English to very strange higgledy-piggledy writing.

Both the above are so very frustrating and certainly interfere with the enjoyment of what is otherwise a very good book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Zoe's Mom on March 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting book about a fascinating person who lived an eventful life. The book had no photographs at all and was full of typos.......these are the reason for only three stars. Photos would have enriched the reading experience for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Happy Mom on August 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I don't agree with other reviewers about the book being particularly well written, the story of this woman's life and the United States history that ocurred during her lifetime is well worth reading. Think about this, in 1914, less than 100 years ago, Marjorie was the majority shareholder of the corporation she inherited and yet had to be represented by her then-husband on the Board of Directors because she was a woman. She was a fascinating topic, led an amazing life through interesting times in U.S. history and I do think the book is well researched. I don't want to take anything away from the author's efforts but I found myself wishing time and again that a Laura Hillebrand (sp.?) who beautifully wrote Seabiscuit or someone like that had turned their attention to Marjorie Merriwether Post.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marjorie A. Born on March 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
quite a bit of history. Too many errors. I've found this to be true in a lot of Kindle books. Makes one wonder who the editors are.
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More About the Author

NANCY RUBIN STUART is the author of "Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Eva Women and the Radical Men They Married." This dual biography is a 2013 selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club-2, the History Book Club and the Military Book Club. In March 2014, Beacon Press published the paperback version of "Defiant Brides."

An award-winning author/journalist Nancy specializes in women, social history and current social trends. Long before the declaration of the War On Women, Nancy's books placed the lives of America's important, often-overlooked women on the historical record.

These included "The Muse of the Revolution" of 2008; "The Reluctant Spiritualist" of 2005; "American Empress" of 1995 and "Isabella of Castile" of 1991. Nancy has appeared on national television and been heard on national radio, including NPR's "Morning Edition. While serving as a stringer for the New York Times in the 1980s, Nancy was inspired to write her first books on American womanhood -- "The New Suburban Woman" and "The Mother Mirror."

A prolific journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times,the Los Angeles Times,The New England Quarterly, Nancy now contributes to the Huffington Post and writes a column for the Barnstable Patriot. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of the Cape Cod Writers Center and is a board member of the Women Writing Women's Lives Seminar at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


Website www.nancyrubinstuart.com. Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NancyRubinStuart

and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/redancer1

Photo Credit: William Stetson, 2012.