Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago and the Rise of America's Xanadu
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Like Philistines at the Hedgerow or 740 Park, Palm Beach is a character-driven work of narrative nonfiction that illuminates a fabled community, its residents, and their homes over a century of dramatic development and change.Standiford summarizes the key thesis of his book as he writes, “What has taken place in Mar-a-Lago and in Palm Beach redefines our very concepts of class distinction in the United States. In the early years of the Twentieth century, those who had assembled vast fortunes during the country’s Gilded Age began to place their own claims upon importance and distinction, and, along with ducal wealth, celebrity also became a new imprimatur of consequence.”Mar-a-Lago has long been the subject of fascination, even before Donald Trump was elected President. Indeed, the most memorable of all the characters in the book is Mar-a-Lago’s first inhabitant, the legendary socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post. Les Standiford is the author of previous works of social and cultural history that have examined such figures as Henry Clay Frick, Charles Dickens, Andrew Carnegie, and Pierre Charles L’Enfant. His bestselling book Last Train to Paradise has sold some 200,000 copies, and tells the story of Henry Flagler’s famous railroad, which enabled Palm Beach to become a tourist destination for Americans beginning in the late nineteenth century. And what colorful characters they were (and are)! With a full color insert and black-and-white photos running throughout the text, Palm Beach is a perfect holiday gift for anyone who enjoys history and society.