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The Helmsleys: The Rise and Fall of Harry and Leona Helmsley (Signet) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1991


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (January 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451168720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451168726
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,395,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

True-crime author Hammer ( The CBS Murder ; Court-Martial of Lt. Calley ) here describes the careers of New York real-estate operator Harry Helmsley and his second wife, Leona, who managed the Helmsley hotel chain and was recently convicted of tax evasion. The reader's interest is piqued as Harry rises from a minor office job to control a giant apartment complex in the Bronx, vast Tudor City and the Empire State building in Manhattan, then builds luxury hotels of his own. Rivals, we're told here, respect Harry and tenants fear him. Leona is portrayed as an ingratiating salesperson, indulged by an adoring husband but despised by employees for her capricious rule as "Queen" of Helmsley hotels. The author details how extravagances at the Helmsley country estate in Connecticut were charged to the couple's hotels as business expenses, but he jumps too abruptly to Leona's trial and conviction (Harry was excused from the case because of ill health). The Helmsleys have caught the public's imagination, and so will this portrait. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The trial of real estate magnate Leona Helmsley during the summer of 1989 for income tax evasion provided an insight into the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Hammer leads up to this trial by telling the story of Harry Helmsley's rags-to-riches career in New York City real estate, of his marriage late in life to Leona, and of their avaricious acquisition of wealth. Hammer's coverage of the trial adds little to what appeared in the press or what has already been discussed in previous books, including Randall Pierson's The Queen of Mean ( LJ 10/15/89) and Michael Moss's Palace Coup ( LJ 4/1/89). Much of the action is centered in New York City and has only local interest. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/89, under the title Unreal Estate: The Rise and Fall of Harry & Leona Helmsley. -- Joseph Barth, U.S. Military Acad. Lib, West Point, N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Kingston on May 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The book brings you through his start as a rent collector in the Hells Kitchen section of Manhattan through his phenomenal growth as a deal making legend.

Read this book for inspiration, insight, information, intrigue and of course entertainment!

In, "The Helmsleys; The Rise and Fall of Harry & Leona" by Richard Hammer a great section is when they talk about putting together the purchase of the Empire State Building in 1961. Using their tried and true formula of the syndicate with 3,300 investors buying share for $10,000 each with a 9% return, they raised $33 million towards the purchase. Helmsley did not put up a penny, and him and Martin Wein split half the profit after paying the investors their 9%.

By Kevin Kingston author of, "A 20,000% Gain in Real Estate"

[...]
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TW VINE VOICE on March 28, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you enjoy the accounts of business tycoons, particularly in the real estate industry, you should anticipate a very enjoyable read from The Helmsleys. From beginning to end, this book, comprised of both Harry's rise to billionaire status and Leona's near equally compelling climb to success, creates an extraordinarily interesting narrative. While I would hesitate to put this book in the 5 star category, that would only be a result of it not likely garnering the same level of interest for those whose interests lie outside of the commercial real estate realm. Otherwise, this is a terrific book that I definitively advocate.
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Format: Hardcover
Richard Hammer's THE HELMSLEYS is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a part biography and part business history of the people behind the New York City based Helmsley real estate conglomerate, Harry and Leona Helmsley. The story begins in the 1930s when Harry was a young man and traces his rise in the real estate business and his marriage to Leona "The Queen of Mean" Helmsley, whose famous quote from the 80s was, "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." It is safe to say that Hammer does not present the Helmsleys in a positive light.
Leona particularly is portrayed as an unbelievably greedy, cruel and overall vile woman.
She abused the people who worked for her and struck fear in those she had business dealings with. But what I found most interesting about her is that - rich and powerful as she was - she was also crass, vulgar, grasping and altogether classless.
A couple of examples of her despicability:
Harry got sick and a private duty nurse was hired. After two weeks she presented Leona with the bill for $1000. Leona told the nurse she write a check as soon as she got back home. She never did. The nurse made periodic inquiries, the last of which resulted in Leona's telling her that if she (the nurse) bothered Leona with this again, Leona, the multi-millionairess, would see that the nurse never worked in New York again. The nurse ate the $1000.
And
Leona, always nutty went more even more bat-s*** when her son died of heart disease in Florida.
Read more ›
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By stevie on April 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
gave some good information about a very interesting woman that ruled nyc in the 80,s and 90,s. i liked it.
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