"William Drennan's careful reconstruction of the events at Taliesin before, during, and after August 15, 1914, sheds new light on the tragic happenings of that day." - Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank "William R. Drennan retells the story, sparing no details and judiciously placing them in the context of Wright's legendary career and tangled personal life.... Memorable crime books are about revealing character, and this one's best when plumbing the psyches of the murderer... and the self-absorbed genius who buried his grief in 45 more years of work." - Harold Henderson, Chicago Reader "After [Frank Lloyd Wright's and Mamah Borthwick Cheney's] sojourn in Europe they settled in Wisconsin, where Frank designed his legendary prairie house Taliesin as their new home. It was an exercise in optimism that nearly destroyed them both. (William R. Drennan's recent Death in a Prairie House offers a... detailed factual account of what transpired.)" - Janet Maslin, The New York Times"
The most pivotal and yet least understood event of Frank Lloyd Wright’s celebrated life involves the brutal murders in 1914 of seven adults and children dear to the architect and the destruction by fire of Taliesin, his landmark residence, near Spring Green, Wisconsin. Unaccountably, the details of that shocking crime have been largely ignored by Wright’s legion of biographers—a historical and cultural gap that is finally addressed in William Drennan’s exhaustively researched Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In response to the scandal generated by his open affair with the proto-feminist and free love advocate Mamah Borthwick Cheney, Wright had begun to build Taliesin as a refuge and "love cottage" for himself and his mistress (both married at the time to others).
Conceived as the apotheosis of Wright’s prairie house style, the original Taliesin would stand in all its isolated glory for only a few months before the bloody slayings that rocked the nation and reduced the structure itself to a smoking hull.
Supplying both a gripping mystery story and an authoritative portrait of the artist as a young man, Drennan wades through the myths surrounding Wright and the massacre, casting fresh light on the formulation of Wright’s architectural ideology and the cataclysmic effects that the Taliesin murders exerted on the fabled architect and on his subsequent designs.