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The Season: The Secret Life of Palm Beach and America's Richest Society by [Kessler, Ronald]
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Length: 416 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews Review

In books such as The FBI and Inside Congress, Ronald Kessler turned his journalist's eye, its focus honed during years at The Washington Post, to uncovering the scandals behind America's biggest institutions; his research even led to the deposition of a director of the FBI. So, what secrets has he uncovered that will change the lives of Palm Beach denizens? Not many, as it turns out. Mistresses, breast implants, and other high-living extravagances of the Palm Beach rich aren't secrets after all. Nor does Kessler have the literary gifts of John Berendt, who deftly explored small-town society intrigue in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The characters that populate The Season are straight out of Dynasty: "shapely" and "alluring," "raven-haired," or "spectacular blonds with impossibly tight behinds." If there's anything truly shocking about this book, it's witnessing Kessler's remarkable research skills put to such trivial use. As a frothy page-turner The Season earns its price, but as a cultural study it's as insubstantial as the lives it chronicles. --Maria Dolan

From Publishers Weekly

The tantalizing, and largely borne-out, premise of this dishy expos? is that the real-life goings-on in the wealthy resort community of Palm Beach, Fla., are so hedonistically outr? as to "make Dynasty and Dallas look like nursery tales." Having originally come to the area to research a book on Joseph Kennedy (The Sins of the Father), former Washington Post reporter Kessler found that life in Palm BeachAwhere 87% of the residents are millionaires, the local grocery store offers valet parking, bank tellers routinely make house calls, and party-goers shell out some $38 million a year to attend the almost-nightly charity balls held during the December-April "season"Awas so "bizarre" that the town merited a book of its own. Although one local maintains, "we have the same problems everyone else does. You just add a few zeroes," Kessler's research, conducted during several lengthy stays in Palm Beach, resulted in the hardly surprising but nevertheless titillating conclusion that vast wealth and nearly unlimited leisure time are an often volatile combination. Adultery, plastic surgery and decadent night life all feature prominently here, as do names like Donald Trump, Roxanne Pulitzer and Rod Stewart. But through intimate portraits of some of Palm Beach's less famous residents, Kessler also puts a human face on all the glitz and glamour, revealing that the super-rich can be as painfully insecure, as lonely and even as down-to-earth as the rest of us. While all of that may be nothing new, this is a fun and frothy glimpse into a world that, despite its surface glitter, is, as Kessler astutely observes, characterized by almost as much cliquishness, pettiness and gossip as high school.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • File Size: 13583 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (December 28, 2010)
  • Publication Date: December 28, 2010
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049B1VQS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,089 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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