Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons

Steven S. Gaines, Author Little Brown and Company $26.45 (326p) ISBN 978-0-316-30941-7
Even those who have never heard of Long Island's home to the super-rich and the celebrated (Calvin and Kelly Klein, Steven Spielberg, Martha Stewart, Alec Baldwin and wife Kim Basinger, to name only a few) will find page-turning entertainment in this social history of the Hamptons. In 1635, Lion Gardiner made a pact with Wyandanch, the great sachem of the Montauk, to keep the marauding Connecticut Pequots from infiltrating Long Island, and he received a sack of five Pequot heads to seal the agreement. From that time forward, the Hamptons have hosted a m lange of old society and new money, often an uneasy blending. At the turn of the century, wealthy artists Albert and Adele Herter built the legendary Mediterranean villa, ""The Creeks""; a caretaker poled Adele about Georgica Pond to visit friends in a gondola bought from poet Robert Browning. When operating costs depleted their fortune and Adele, without a laundress, discovered that it took an hour to iron her nightgown, she decided to sleep in her bloomers. In 1990, billionaire Ronald Perlman purchased The Creeks for the bargain price of $12.5 million. In the booming 1980s, to own property in the Hamptons was the signal that one had arrived; it was said that ""if you have to work on Fridays in the summer or be back in the office on Monday morning, you're not successful enough to live there."" Gaines (Obsession, a biography of Calvin Klein) depicts a fabulous cast of real-life characters, both high and low. More fun than most fiction, this is a terrific summer--or anytime--read. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-316-30907-3
Hardcover - 410 pages - 978-1-56895-683-1
Paperback - 978-0-316-30923-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57042-700-8
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