Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune

Bill Dedman, Author, Paul Clark Newell, Author
Paul Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. Ballantine, $28 (472p) ISBN 978-0-345-53452-1
Reviewed on: 09/16/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Hardcover - 496 pages - 978-1-78239-492-1
Hardcover - 496 pages - 978-1-78239-476-1
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-345-54556-5
Paperback - 470 pages - 978-0-345-53453-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-80956-7
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Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr., a cousin of the book's subject, reconstruct the life of reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark (1906-2011) in this riveting biography. The authors bring Huguette's odd past into clear perspective, including the hilariously corrupt political schemes of her father, W.A. Clark, who was a Montana senator. Though less celebrated than his compatriots Rockefeller and Carnegie, W.A. Clark was at a time wealthier than they, and by extension, so was his daughter. She was a regular in the society pages during her youth and even married for a short time, Clark later slipped into her own world and stayed there, quietly buying multi-million dollar homes for her dolls. Kind and unspeakably generous to those who worked for her and usually suspicious of family, she wrote a few big checks to people she hardly knew. Other family acquisitions, valuable musical instruments and jewelry among them, she simply gave away. The authors provide a thrilling study of the responsibilities and privileges that come with great wealth and draw the reader into the deliciously scandalous story of Clark's choices in later life, the question of Clark's presence of mind always at issue. Hewn from Huguette's stories, purchases, phone calls, gifts, and letters, the tale of where and how Huguette Clark found happiness will entrance anyone. (Sept.)
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