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Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune Kindle Edition
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“A fascinating investigation into the haunting true-life tale of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark.”—People
“An exhaustively researched, well-written account . . . a blood-boiling expose [that] will make you angry and will make you sad.”—The Seattle Times
“An evocative and rollicking read, part social history, part hothouse mystery, part grand guignol.”—The Daily Beast
“A childlike, self-exiled eccentric, [Huguette Clark] is the sort of of subject susceptible to a biography of broad strokes, which makes Empty Mansions, the first full-length account of her life, impressive for its delicacy and depth.”—Town & Country
“One of those incredible stories that you didn’t even know existed. It filled a void.”—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
“So well written . . . such a gripping, gripping story.”—Bill Goldstein, NBC 4 New York
“A compelling account of what happened to the Clark family and its fortune . . . a tremendous feat.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A fascinating story.”—Today
“Meticulous and absorbing.”—Bloomberg Businessweek
“Brilliantly researched, tough-minded, and fair . . . a fascinating read.”—Santa Barbara Independent
“Riveting . . . deliciously scandalous . . . a thrilling study of the responsibilities and privileges that come with great wealth.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A spellbinding mystery.”—Booklist
“Empty Mansions is a dazzlement and a wonder. Bill Dedman and Paul Newell unravel a great character, Huguette Clark, a shy soul akin to Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird—if Boo’s father had been as rich as Rockefeller. This is an enchanting journey into the mysteries of the mind, a true-to-life exploration of strangeness and delight.”—Pat Conroy, author of The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son
“Empty Mansions is at once an engrossing portrait of a forgotten American heiress and a fascinating meditation on the crosswinds of extreme wealth. Hugely entertaining and well researched, Empty Mansions is a fabulous read.”—Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire
“In Empty Mansions, a unique American character emerges from the shadows. Through deep research and evocative writing, Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr., have expertly captured the arc of history covered by the remarkable Clark family, while solving a deeply personal mystery of wealth and eccentricity.”—Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
“Who knew? Though virtually unknown today, W. A. Clark was one of the fifty richest Americans ever—copper baron, railroad builder, art collector, U.S. senator, and world-class scoundrel. Yet his daughter and heiress Huguette became a bizarre recluse. Empty Mansions reveals this mysterious family in sumptuous detail.”—John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
“Empty Mansions is a mesmerizing tale that delivers all the ingredients of a top-notch mystery novel. But there is nothing fictional about this true, fully researched story of a fascinating and reclusive woman from an era of fabulous American wealth. Empty Mansions is a delicious read—once you start it, you will find it hard to put down.”—Kate Alcott, bestselling author of The Dressmaker
“More than a biography, more than a mystery, Empty Mansions is a real-life American Bleak House, an arresting tale about misplaced souls sketched on a canvas that stretches from coast to coast, from riotous mining camps to the gilded dwellings of the very, very rich.”—John A. Farrell, author of Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned
- ASIN : B00CK8CJOU
- Publisher : Ballantine Books (September 10, 2013)
- Publication date : September 10, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 13169 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 652 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #68,173 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Then there was Huguette. What I found sad was the way the hospital hit her up for cash, yet made fun of her eccentricity. By all accounts, she was a kind person. She may have been eccentric, yet she did not abuse anyone who came in to contact with her, and by all accounts, she did provide for those she cared about.
Empty Mansions does raise questions on ethics, whether it be the lawyer, accountant, the hospital... Even her own relatives who challenged her will. I was glad to see an investigation to determine whether elder abuse had occurred—under the circumstances, it makes complete sense. That said, I was angered by the greed of her family... If one can use that term at all.
In the end, while we never receive concrete answers about how/why Ms. Clark was so isolated, it's almost beside the point. Perhaps most fascinating is this one woman outliving her family by an extraordinary number of years. At nearly 105 at the time of her death, she saw more of history than most people. While I'd have loved to see a diary or journal of some kind to possibly understand Huguette's mindset, as an artist myself, the mystery is also part of the beauty. Nothing is necessarily clean & wrapped in a bow. We can choose to interpret the words on the page in multiple ways. I can't help but imagine that although her privacy was violated following her death, in the end, her story is that of an artist, through & through. Much is still left to the imagination, a world we may create. Perhaps that is the true gift the authors deliver to the readers, as well as Huguette in the end.
Yes, she was very generous to those she cared about, and to some charitable causes. However, she could have done so much, to better the world, with the millions she gave to her private nurse, doctors who were, IMO, taking advantage of Huguette's fears, and eccentricities.
At the end of reading, I don't feel sad for Huguette. She isolated herself so that she didn't have to deal with anything that might make her feel uncomfortable or sad. She only wanted to think about things that were beautiful, things that made her happy to do. In that sense, she seemed selfish and immature.
I think that Huguette Clark's life disproves the adage that, "Money can't buy happiness." I believe that she was absolutely content with the restricted world she created, no matter how stunted it was. I did not find myself admiring Huguette, despite her generosity to those with whom she was loyal.
Top reviews from other countries
I had never heard of W.A. or Huguette Clark before reading this, but the book does a great job of covering the family history - and outlining how W.A. became so fabulously wealthy. Huguette's life comes across as equal parts mysterious and tragic and, I suppose, just goes to show that money really can't buy you everything.
Huguette was a kind and generous person with an artistic nature, possibly somewhere on the autism scale and lost without her family but she seemed happy with such a little life. Inevitably, being America, many of those around her took advantage of her generosity and by and large, she was happy to give.
A really interesting, thought-provoking read from beginning to end.