Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Glimpse of the Gilded Age

Newton Stokes and Edith Minturn grew up in one of the most glittering eras of the United States. Born to wealth, they enjoyed elaborate homes and European vacations. For Newton, there was extensive education often with study and travel to other countries. For Edith, there were coming out parties and an education fitting a socialite. Both people rose above their class. Edith's beauty, portrayed by Sargent and French, made her the ideal type of “new” woman. Instead of following his father into the family business, Newton struck out on his own and became an architect. Both were supporters of social causes and tried to better the conditions of the poor. Most of all they loved New York. This love was eventually their undoing when Newton became obsessed with producing the “Iconography,” a record in pictures, and maps, extensively annotated, that preserved the history of New York.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of, not only, New York, but the United States. The book tells a fascinating story woven through the lives of two unique individuals. It is not a traditional love story. Rather it is the tale of two people who grew together and helped each other through the ups and downs of life. I very much enjoyed it.

I reviewed the book as part of the Amazon Vine Program.