Leamer (The Kennedy Women) reveals the secrets of the Palm Beach elite who reside behind the high walls and manicured hedges of this exclusive enclave. A winter resident since 1994, the author gains the trust of his subjects, playing tennis with them and attending their parties. Such firsthand experience is supplemented by newspaper articles and interviews with scores of men and women who, although usually guarded, are unusually open to Leamer (the informant for the chapter "Palm Beach Millionaire Seeks Playmate" gave the author access to his personal papers, including unpublished memoirs). The book's highly visual vignettes-dominated by divorce, infidelity, excessive drinking and violence-produce a depressing picture of sad, angry, insecure and frequently nasty people hiding behind empty smiles, luxury cars and socially invisible servants. Leamer reflects: "Like [Henry] James, I found that few of the lives have the beauty of the surroundings, or the depths of the artistic vision that inspired this island." Some readers may find this book a penetrating portrayal of a privileged segment of the American population; others might regard it as a book-length gossip column. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beachby Laurence Leamer
Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme has devastated the eternally sunny world of Palm Beach, bringing down multimillionaires and destroying once wealthy widows. At the center of the scandal is the isolated, insulated winter home of the mega wealthy. Suddenly, everyone in America is talking about the South Florida island and the rarified life so apart from the rest of… See more details below
Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme has devastated the eternally sunny world of Palm Beach, bringing down multimillionaires and destroying once wealthy widows. At the center of the scandal is the isolated, insulated winter home of the mega wealthy. Suddenly, everyone in America is talking about the South Florida island and the rarified life so apart from the rest of America. Everyone wants to know what are the deepest truths of this strange, exotic universe of wealth and privilege. In Madness Under the Royal Palms, Laurence Leamer has the answers. It took him fifteen years to get them, and to expose the inner life and drama of the wealthy as it has never been exposed before. It is an often shocking, scandalous book that will forever change not only the way Palm Beach is viewed but the life of wealth and privilege in America. Leave it to Leamer, the bestselling author known for getting the inside story on his elusive subjects, to take us behind the walls of America's most exclusive enclave of wealth and privilege. In Madness, Leamer tells a braided story involving a socialite determined to make it to the top of Palm Beach society, two infamous murders, and a powerful society reporter. As a backdrop, Leamer tells the story of the clash between old money and new, religion and status, and the love, lust, and fatal hatreds that determine the shape of a fiercely protected society. The cast of characters include trophy wives, trophy husbands, purported gigolos, glamorous widows, a pioneering gay couple, a wildly irreverent event planner, a sociopathic multimillionaire, and an elegant society queen. For a hundred years Palm Beach has been a fantasy land nurtured by, and maintained for, the megawealthy. In the end, Leamer's tale of money, murder and mad pretension reveals a darker strain. Uncovering that strain, as the author himself writes, turned into as fascinating, in some cases as shocking, and always as unexpected a journey as I have ever taken.
Palm Beach, FL, is a resort town for the superwealthy, where outsiders are clearly not welcomed, as evidenced by such facts as that its beautiful, pristine beaches do not provide access to public bathrooms and there are no chain stores and outlets along its boulevards, just the likes of Tiffany's and Louis Vuitton. Leamer (The Kennedy Women), a resident of Palm Beach, describes the private lives of many of the town's wealthy inhabitants. In chapter after chapter, and story after story, he details how the city is really one big soap opera ruled by a number of matriarchs who inherited their money by marrying wealthy, older men who are now deceased. In turn, these aging trophy wives now pursue private lives with gigolos and public lives in the island's society pages. The recent influx has led to a conflict between those with "new" money and the WASPS who once dominated the island. Although Madness provides a number of sociological insights about the private lives of wealthy people and social class etiquette, this book will appeal mainly to fans of tabloid gossip.
Now, as unflinching as Dante, the irrepressible Laurence Leamer . . . has turned his attention to the society in which he luxuriates most winters. Social lepidopterist that he is, in the 300-plus pages of Madness Under the Royal Palms Leamer pins out that gaudy, conflicted community like cornered butterflies fluttering, hectic and doomed."St. Petersburg Times"
Leamer meticulously paints the kind of frenzied desire to belong to the club, literally and metaphorically, that led people to abandon most principles."Bloomberg
- Hachette Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.50(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.20(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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