cover image Saranac: America's Magic Mountain

Saranac: America's Magic Mountain

Robert Taylor, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $17.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-395-37905-9

What do Bartok, Emerson, Maugham, Einstein, Mark Twain, Sylvia Plath, Walker Percy, Christy Mathewson, Gerald and Sarah Murphy's son Patrick and gangster ""Legs'' Diamond have in common? All visited the Adirondack resort town of Saranac Lake or were patients in the tuberculosis sanatorium established there by Dr. Edward Trudeau. This popular social history of Saranac describes the many colorful characters who formed part of its sceneamong them, Harvard anatomist Jeffries Wyman, who invented the word gorilla; poet Adelaide Crapsey, whose single year spent at Saranac ``secured her place in American letters''; chainsmoker Robert Louis Stevenson; library scientist Melvil Dewey, founder of the Lake Placid Club, which became infamous for excluding Jews from its membership; cereal heiress Marjorie Post, whose four husbands included financier E. F. Hutton and FDR's ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph E. Davies (author of Mission to Moscow; and Norman Bethune, the Canadian doctor who became a hero of Communist China. Saranac was indeed a magic mountain, especially as recreated by Boston Globe book and art critic Taylor. Photos not seen by PW. (March)