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Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders Paperback – August 21, 2008
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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.
Top customer reviews
The book was very well written, and as short as it was, it covered a lot of ground. I couldn't put it down.
the author has done an almost painful amount of research and this book is thorough and filled with not only fact but also written in such a way as to become a thrilling novel that i found difficult to put down. i hesitate to use the word "gripping" because it is so overused, but for me, i couldnt wait to get back to it at day's end.
the only thing i have a difficult time understanding is why the author went to such pains to study mr wright when it seems, at least to me, that he has a very active dislike for the man and his lifestyle. when mentioning frank he minced no words, referring to him as self absorbed and irresponsible, whereas when his wife was mentioned, it was always "ppor catherine", "sad catherine", "faithful catherine". his lifestyle was at the time unaccepted to be sure, but it seems odd that mr drennan would spend so many hours researching the life of a man he disliked. in any case, i'm certainly glad he did. a fine book, especially for students of the genius of frank lloyd wright.
I first read about Frank Lloyd Wright and Mameh Borthwick in the book "Loving Frank." The story so fascinated me that I wanted to learn more about this strange and horrific tragedy. "Death In a Prairie House" goes a long way to filling in some of the blanks. What's more, Drennan's writing ability is amazing. What else has this guy written, because I want to read it, gosh darnit! Each of his sentences are brilliantly crafted yet completely easy to understand. In addition, he is a true artist who uses vocabulary as his medium! His use and placement of words is truly breathtaking.
I only wish there was more we could learn of Mameh, Lloyd's "feminist mistress." "Loving Frank" probably provides the best portrait, but it would be nice to know a bit more about her from a biographical standpoint. Drennan does not seem particularly sympathetic to Mameh, nor does he chastise her outright. I suppose he wants to leave it up to the reader to decide or maybe allow history to settle the score once and for all.
What you will come away with after reading "Death In a Praire House" is: an open jaw (how can something so horrific have happened?), a better understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright and the progression of his works, and a bit of jealously for the author who can write so well, as well as a whetted appetite for more writing from him.
After reading other books about Frank Lloyd Wright, this book sums up much of his life and love.
I found it interesting, but also sad and heart wrenching.
Most recent customer reviews
Very well written.