A riveting look behind the gates of the house of Astor as a famous family falls apart in public.
The fate of Brooke Astor, the endearing philanthropist with the storied name, has generated worldwide headlines since her grandson Philip sued his father in 2006, alleging mistreatment of Brooke. And shortly after her death in 2007, Anthony Marshall, Mrs. Astor's only child, was indicted on charges of looting her estate. Rarely has there been a story with such an appealing heroine, conjuring up a world sonearly forgotten: a realm of lavish wealth and secrets of the sort that have engaged Americans from the era of Edith Wharton to the more recent days of Truman Capote and Vanity Fair.
New York journalist Meryl Gordon has interviewed not only the elite of Brooke Astor's social circle but also the large staff who cosseted and cared for Mrs. Astor during her declining years. The result is the behind-the-headlines story of the Astor empire's unraveling, filled with never-before-reported scenes. This powerful, poignant saga takes the listener inside the gilded gates of an American dynasty to tell of three generations' worth of longing and missed opportunities. Even in this territory of privilege, no riches can put things right once they've been torn asunder. Here is an American epic of the bonds of money, morality, and social position.
"[An] impeccably researched, thoroughly detailed, and absorbing profile of a sadly dysfunctional family." ---Library Journal
"Spellbinding...Ms. Gordon unwinds the whole saga in a nifty book that reads like a cross between an Edith Wharton classic and a Linda Fairstein crime novel. Except in this case, it's all true." ---Lesley Stahl, correspondent for 60 Minutes
"Ms. Gordon walks her readers through a schadenfreude-filled wonderland." ---The New York Times
"Meryl Gordon's riveting account of the legendary life and sad final days of Brooke Astor is an American epic. It's all here---high society, big money, blue blood, family feuds and criminal charges." ---Tom Brokaw, former anchor of NBC Nightly News
"Lorna Raver's crisp narration is a good match for this thorough, well-researched account of Mrs. Astor's fascinating life and the ensuing family dispute." ---AudioFile
"A balanced, dogged---and ultimately sad---detective account.... Gordon sifts painstakingly through the rubble of the extended Astor family history.... In the end, [she] tells a sad and moving story." ---Publishers Weekly
"Juicy account of a shocking scandal." ---Kirkus Starred Review
"Gordon weaves a web of fine detail into an enthralling, enraging story.... This is a sometimes heartbreaking story of greed and betrayal, but also one of loyalty, love and ultimate redemption." ---Geraldine Brooks, author of March
"Given Lorna Raver's measured reading, it's hard to stop listening." ---Winston-Salem Journal
"A tale that is more sad than scandalous, but nonetheless riveting." ---The Washington Post