Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago, and the Rise of America's Xanadu

Product Details
$27.00  $25.11
Atlantic Monthly Press
Publish Date
6.3 X 1.3 X 9.1 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author
Les Standiford is the author of the bestselling Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean, Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles, and Meet you in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership that Transformed America, among many other works of fiction and nonfiction. He lives with his wife, Kimberly, in Florida.
Praise for Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago, and the Rise of America's Xanadu

"A once-over-brightly jog through the history of Palm Beach . . . Once the enfeebled Flagler meets his maker by falling down marble steps at his Palm Beach mansion, the book takes off. Its richest portion centers on Marjorie Merriweather Post, the cereal heiress and magnate who began planning Mar-a-Lago in 1924 while married to financier E.F. Hutton."--Scott Eyman, Wall Street Journal

"Les Standiford tells the fascinating story of how the mansion-turned-club, and the unusual community that surrounds it, came to be in his latest book . . . [He] does a fine job of telling its story."--Tampa Bay Times

"In this charming, zippy history of Palm Beach, Les Standiford charts the destination's fortune from its founding in the 1800s to the modern day. All of the familiar Palm Beach characters, from Henry Flagler to Addison Mizner and Marjorie Merriweather Post, are on hand for a rollicking, informative lesson in real estate, American history, and current events."--Town & Country

"A book that will appeal to nose-pressed-against-the-glass readers."--Economist

"The author of Last Train to Paradise tackles a topic that Palm Beachers know all too well: Mar-a-Lago. Standiford chronicles how the cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and her husband E.F. Hutton built the Gilded Age mansion that is now dubbed 'The Winter White House.'"--Palm Beach Post

"Delightful . . . Mr. Standiford details every significant residence, club, and hotel; every significant marriage and divorce (first, second, or beyond); and every significant architect and designer. He describes the social calendar, the fads that came and went, the inheritances that kept family names afloat . . . Edifying, energetic, and captivating."--Florida Weekly

"When there is a good story to tell, Les Standiford knows how to tell it great."--FIU News

"Standiford returns to the Floridian territory of the rich and famous that he chronicled in his biography of Henry Flagler, but this time the author will likely attract even more readers with the newly relevant Mar-a-Lago . . . Recounts the epic struggle of the ultrawealthy to transform what are now known as Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Key West into a previously unimaginable enclave for conspicuous consumption."--Kirkus Reviews

"Mar-a-Lago immediately conjures references to Donald Trump. However, this detailed social history of Palm Beach, Florida, reveals that Mr. Trump is only one of the many celebrities, political figures, and mega-rich entrepreneurs associated with this exclusive enclave . . . This is enjoyable social voyeurism for those who hanker after tales of the rich and famous, past and present."--Booklist

"A readable history of the wealthy Americans who developed Florida for their vacationing pleasure . . . This chronicle focuses less on the personalities of the rich and famous and more on land acquisition and building, about which Standiford writes effortlessly . . . Will appeal to those interested in business history."--Publishers Weekly

"A Florida tale always has unpredictable turns, and Les Standiford has the craftsmanship to guide us through in an utterly engaging way."--Mark Kurlansky

Praise for Les Standiford:

"Hubris and gilded dreams are good subjects for Standiford, who has previously written about Henry Frick and Andrew Carnegie, among others; he artfully captures small moments while maintaining the historian's broader view . . . Like Mulholland's aqueduct, the book covers a lot of ground while moving along in episodic but dramatic fashion."--New York Times Book Review, on Water to the Angels

"[An] incredibly timely book . . . A powerful--and beautifully told--story of hubris, ingenuity, and, ultimately, deepest tragedy."--Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake, on Water to the Angels

"A refreshingly engaging tale."--Los Angeles Review of Books, on Water to the Angels

"Oozes with tales of back-room corruption and opportunism . . . Unearths some new archival nuggets along the way."--Miami Herald, on Water to the Angels

"Masterful . . . Standiford has a way of making the 1890s resonate with a twenty-first-century audience."--USA Today, on Meet You in Hell

"Standiford tells the story with the skills of a novelist . . . A colloquial style that is mindful of William Manchester's great The Glory and the Dream."--Pittsburgh Tribune, on Meet You in Hell

"A dramatic story . . . Les Standiford has a good deal of fun with it all."--Washington Post Book World, on Last Train to Paradise

"A definitive account of the engineering feat that became known as 'Flagler's Folly'. . . A rousing adventure."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on Last Train to Paradise

"This is a wonderfully told tale, a strange and compelling story about a strange and compelling part of the world. With sharp, evocative reporting, the book captures an era, the Florida landscape, and the very human dream of doing the impossible."--Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book, on Last Train to Paradise