Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

Empty Mansions: the mysterious life of Huguette Clark and the spending of a great American fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. - 456 pgs.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dedman started investigating Clark after noticing a seemingly abandoned mansion now for sale in a high brow Connecticut neighborhood - a house that Clark had purchased decades ago but never lived in.  This led him to the story of a self-made millionaire, W. A. Clark,  whose wealth rivaled Carnegie and Rockefeller and the life of his daughter Huguette Clark who lived until 2011.  The first third of the book is a little dry because it covers how W.A. made his fortune.  The rest of the book is more intriguing when it starts to detail Huguette's life filled with empty houses and eccentricities as she spent a fortune but still had over 300 million dollars in her estate when she died.  The will is still being contested by her relatives so it is still an ongoing story.

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