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Empty Mansions The Mysterious Story of Huguette Clark and the Loss of One of the World's Greatest Fortunes by Paul Clark Newell, Bill Dedman
  

Empty Mansions The Mysterious Story of Huguette Clark and the Loss of One of the World's Greatest Fortunes

Biography / Autobiography   eBook Favourites   

Sue Baker's view...

A book that reads more like an epic novel than a true life account of one woman’s life, Huguette Clark inherited vast wealth from her father; the founder of Las Vegas she ended dying in a hospital bed aged 104 in 2011. She had spent most of her life living hidden away, maintaining properties she never used, her retreat cutting off relations who never saw her in her last years. The part her advisors and medical attendants played in the fight over her money is detailed in a sorry account of financial infighting. This is a story of incredible, unthinkable wealth and what it can do to you – or at least what it did to one woman, Huguette Clark.

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Synopsis

Empty Mansions The Mysterious Story of Huguette Clark and the Loss of One of the World's Greatest Fortunes by Paul Clark Newell, Bill Dedman

Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of nineteenth-century America with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money? Huguette Clark was the daughter of self-made copper industrialist W. A. Clark, nearly as rich as Rockefeller in his day, a controversial senator, railroad builder, and founder of Las Vegas. She grew up in the largest house in New York City, a remarkable dwelling with 121 rooms for a family of four. She owned paintings by Degas and Renoir, a world-renowned Stradivarius violin, a vast collection of antique dolls. But wanting more than treasures, she devoted her wealth to buying gifts for friends and strangers alike, to quietly pursuing her own work as an artist, and to guarding the privacy she valued above all else. Empty Mansions reveals a complex portrait of the mysterious Huguette and her intimate circle. We meet her extravagant father, her publicity-shy mother, her star-crossed sister, her French boyfriend, her nurse who received more than $30 million in gifts, and the relatives fighting to inherit Huguette's copper fortune. Richly illustrated with more than seventy photographs, Empty Mansions is an enthralling story of an eccentric of the highest order, a last jewel of the Gilded Age who lived life on her own terms.

Reviews

'An evocative and rollicking read, part social history, part hothouse mystery, part grand guignol.' -- The Daily Beast

'Empty Mansions is a dazzlement and a wonder... This is an enchanting journey into the mysteries of the mind, a true-to-life exploration of strangeness and delight.' -- Pat Conroy

'Empty Mansions reveals this mysterious family in sumptuous detail.' -- John Berendt

'An amazing story of profligate wealth, one so wild that American aspiration doesn't begin to describe its excesses ... An outsized tale of rags-to-riches prosperit'y -- The New York Times

'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

About the Author

Bill Dedman introduced the public to heiress Huguette Clark and her empty mansions through his compelling series of narratives for NBC, which became the most popular feature in the history of its news website, topping 110 million page views. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting while writing for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and has written for The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. Paul Clark Newell Jr, a cousin of Huguette Clark, has researched the Clark family history for twenty years, sharing many conversations with Huguette about her life and family. He once received a rare private tour of Bellosguardo, her mysterious estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st January 2015

Author

Paul Clark Newell, Bill Dedman

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Publisher

Atlantic Books

Format

Paperback
496 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites

Biography: general

ISBN

9781782394785

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