From Publishers Weekly
As two of South Beach's famous ladies (the Hotel Fountainbleu and Madonna, respectively) reinvent themselves yet again, this sour-sweet city history exposes scandal, intrigue, sex and drugs in the sun-drenched social spot. Gaines (Philistines at the Hedgerow) doesn't let a garish outfit or randy dialogue escape: "they were an odd sight, Barbara Capitman in her frowsy clothes, Leonard Horowitz in his hand-me-downs; Barbara buttonholing people on the street to tell them about Art Deco preservations, Leonard spouting sexual come-ons to passing gay men like he had Tourette's syndrome." The author rounds up the usual suspects: the hotelier, the mobster, the model, the other model, the night club owner, Frank Sinatra (in his greatest real-life hoodlum roles), and a chorus line of backstabbers, petty criminals and reformed drug addicts, all attracted by the wealth and possibility of South Beach. Gaines is more gossipy tour guide than investigative journalist, and readers will rightly suspect that most of the characters would revel in his nastier descriptions. Nevertheless, this book is perfect reading for a lazy afternoon in the double-decker cabana.
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Praise for Fool's Paradise
See all Editorial Reviews
“Exposes scandal, intrigue, sex and drugs in the sun-drenched social spot… perfect reading for a lazy afternoon in the double-decker cabana.”
“Gaines is at ease with all aspects of his subject…[he] also loves his characters, no matter how flawed they may be… His colorful snapshot of the weirdness that is Miami Beach will forever color your view of the Sunshine State. Original, gossipy and flat-out fun–will either have you booking the next flight or scare you off the place altogether.”
“Gaines inspects decadence at its zenith through the stories of some of the city's most famous and notorious-characters."
"Part Vegas flash and part old-school-Hollywood, Gaines shows us the 'manic desperation and reckless wealth' of Miami Beach.”
“The book will make a hot beach read, and its pretty pastel cover will punch up everyone's new beach ensemble.”
"You don't read this book — you inhale it. Considering the staggering cocaine consumption of South Beach, maybe 'snort' is a better word choice.Whatever word we use, Fool's Paradise: Players, Poseurs, and the Culture of Excess in South Beach is an irresistible book that wraps up hilarious and tragic stories and serves them in this elegant souffle."
—St. Petersburg Times
Praise for Philistines at the Hedgerow
"Breezy, irreverent, amusing . . . replete with scandals, scurrilous characters, assorted bacchanalia, and all manner of wretched excess."
—Laura Landro, Wall Street Journal
"Hugely entertaining . . . With wit and zest Gaines tells the story of the embattled Hamptons through a series of deft profiles."
—Stephen Birmingham, Washington Times
"A narrative of surprising unity and velocity. Such a cast of eccentrics hasn’t been seen since Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
—Jay McInerney, The New Yorker
"A fabulous cast of real-life characters, both high and low . . . more fun than most fiction."
"A satisfying comedy of manners about snobbishness and land lust among America’s overachievers. . . . Gaines knows how to tell a story, and he knows how to dish."
—Carl Swanson, Salon