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A Season of Splendor: The Court of Mrs.…
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A Season of Splendor: The Court of Mrs. Astor in Gilded Age New York

by Greg King

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This book was a mammoth undertaking. Greg King does a superb job in detailing what it was like in Gilded Age New York. The parties, the fashions, the jewels, the food, the people...nothing is left out, which makes for extremely fascinating reading. My only complaint was that there were too few photographs, which I feel would have made this book stand out even more. A job well done! ( )
  briandrewz | Mar 29, 2012 |
Between roughly 1870 and the outbreak of the first World War, the class structure of American society was dominated by Caroline Astor and her famous four hundred. Motivated by a certain idealism, author Greg King suggests that Caroline Astor thought to "endow American society with tradition and a sense of noblesse oblige...imposing on them a sense of responsibility to establish taste for the enrichment of the nation as a whole". In an attempt to position American wealth and breeding on a par with that found in major European capitals, Caroline Astor forged a new understanding of social rank which bridged old New York Knickerbocker society and that of the industrial nouveau riche. King embarks on a thoroughly footnoted tour of the various elements that were used to display that breeding -- clothing, architecture, jewelry, transportation, etc. He notes that the real excesses of the Gilded Age were spawned during the latter half of that time period, by those possessed of more wealth than intellect. The spectrum of excess and extravagance is breathtaking, even as one recognizes that, over time, the wealth of these families has been distributed throughout the country to modern museums and philanthropic organizations. King offers detail that both exemplifies and illuminates the Gilded Age. This book both educates and entertains, making it a worthwhile and fascinating read. ( )
1 vote jillmwo | Oct 13, 2008 |
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With the kind permission of the 11th Duke of Marlborough, this book is dedicated to the memory of Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill, Alva Vanderbilt's great-granddaughter, an infinite source of knowledge, and a greatly missed friend.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0470185694, Hardcover)

Journey through the splendor and the excesses of the Gilded Age

"Every aspect of life in the Gilded Age took on deeper, transcendent meaning intended to prove the greatness of America: residences beautified their surroundings; works of art uplifted and were shared with the public; clothing exhibited evidence of breeding; jewelry testified to cultured taste and wealth; dinners demonstrated sophisticated palates; and balls rivaled those of European courts in their refinement. The message was unmistakable: the United States had arrived culturally, and Caroline Astor and her circle were intent on leading the nation to unimagined heights of glory."
—From A Season of Splendor

Take a dazzling journey through the Gilded Age, the period from roughly the 1870s to 1914, when bluebloods from older, established families met the nouveau riche headlong—railway barons, steel magnates, and Wall Street speculators—and forged an uneasy and glittering new society in New York City. The best of the best were Caroline Astor's 400 families, and she shaped and ruled this high society with steel.

A Season of Splendor is a panoramic sweep across this sumptuous landscape, presenting the families, the wealth, the balls, the clothing, and the mansions in vivid detail—as well as the shocking end of the era with the sinking of the Titanic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:06 -0400)

Journey through the splendor and the excesses of the Gilded Age ""Every aspect of life in the Gilded Age took on deeper, transcendent meaning intended to prove the greatness of America: residences beautified their surroundings; works of art uplifted and were shared with the public; clothing exhibited evidence of breeding; jewelry testified to cultured taste and wealth; dinners demonstrated sophisticated palates; and balls rivaled those of European courts in their refinement. The message was unmistakable: the United States had arrived culturally, and Caroline Astor and her circle were intent on leading the nation to unimagined heights of glory."" --From A Season of Splendor Take a dazzling journey through the Gilded Age, the period from roughly the 1870s to 1914, when bluebloods from older, established families met the nouveau riche headlong--railway barons, steel magnates, and Wall Street speculators--and forged an uneasy and glittering new society in New York City. The best of the best were Caroline Astor's 400 families, and she shaped and ruled this high society with steel. A Season of Splendor is a panoramic sweep across this sumptuous landscape, presenting the families, the wealth, the balls, the clothing, and the mansions in vivid detail--as well as the shocking end of the era with the sinking of the Titanic.… (more)

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