All Columns in Alphabetical Order

Thursday, December 30, 2010

READ THIS: Mrs. Astor Regrets - The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach by Meryl Gordon

Life on the inside is not so much what it appears to be on the outside, and with the good comes the bad in life at times, and Mrs. Astor had quite a bit of both.  We are sad that we never met her, but feel like she must be there in spirit at quite of the few soirees we cover.  What we liked most about her is her depth of character-she didn't just write out checks, she actually went in person to see how her money was being spent.  We love that kind of interest that goes beyond the surface of anything and clearly displays passion.  As early as page 8 our friend Peg Breen from the Landmarks Conservancy, one of our most favorite charities was quoted as saying the backing of Mrs. Astor held quite some weight....we love the Landmarks Conservency:
2010 coverage:
2009 coverage:
So we guess we must say Brooke, we were born too late to have met you at their gala....and we also love how your criteria for people is that they must be accomplished, interesting and fun - we agree.  We also love how she took pleasure in the small things and love the relationships she had with her grandsons.

We say it time and time again-life revolves around Swifty's and on page 10 Robert Caravaggi appears - giving her teapots she was admiring.  Oh Brooke we wish you were here to drink The Peachy Deegan made with Star Vodka-you were born too early!!!  And our friend Chris Meigher is quoted on page 215 commenting on the public appetite for news on Mrs. Astor and how she made their online traffic jump...well Robert and Chris, you do the same for us!  It must be contagious.

On a more serious note, her overall attitude and ability to rise to the occasion are something to be admired and we don't want to highlight the darker parts of her life in this review, but they are in the book and her life is definitely not as easy as it may have appeared.  She was known to not have gone out without at least a million dollars around her neck, but Peachy thinks she'd prefer to wear faux pearls and not go through what Mrs. Astor did.  

You won't be able to put this book down; it is truly one of the most fascinating reads we've encountered.  Unfortunately it's true as far as we can see...and we would like to know what happened to her clothes (p. 208).  The pictures in the middle add to the overall color.  Also, we love her poem Discipline on p. 228.  We won't print it as we want you to read the book...

Whom You Know Highly Recommends Mrs. Astor Regrets!  It is a staple of Manhattan history. 


The fate of Brooke Astor, the endearing philanthropist with the storied name, has generated worldwide headlines since her grandson Philip sued his father, Anthony Marshall, in 2006, alleging mistreatment of Brooke. Shortly after her death in 2007, Anthony was indicted on charges of looting her estate.
New York journalist Meryl Gordon has interviewed not only the elite of Mrs. Astor's social circle but also the large staff who cared for her during her declining years. The result is the behind-the-headlines story of the Astor empire's unraveling, filled with never-before-reported scenes.  This powerful, poignant saga takes the reader inside the gilded gates of an American dynasty to tell of three generations' worth of longing and missed opportunities and is filled with secrets of the sort that have engaged Americans from the era of Edith Wharton to the more recent days of Truman Capote.  Even in this territory of privilege, no riches can put things right once they've been torn asunder. Mrs. Astor Regrets is an American epic of the bonds of money, morality, and social position.

Back to TOP