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Harbor Hill: Portrait of a House Hardcover – 18 Mar 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (18 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393732169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393732160
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 2 x 31.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,263,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"[L]oving and detailed study." -- Lucy Worsley "Fully illustrated look at this marvelous house and...surrounding structures...along with an in-depth look at the families who've called it home." "Wilson has compiled a riveting life story of...a prominent turn-of-the-century family...[and] their impressive mansion...that was intended to be remembered" -- Jickie Torres "The book delves into its creation, its owner and family, its place in society--and so much more." "Wilson turns this chronicle of what reporters at the time called 'Heartbreak House' into a page-turner...entertaining, enlightening cautionary tale." -- Eve Kahn

About the Author

Richard Guy Wilson is Commonwealth Professor at the University of Virginia.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
IN APRIL 1900, a construction project under way on the North Shore of Long Island had people up and down the East Coast talking. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By navigator on 27 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sailed on the J W MacKay was always interested in the family this book is fantastic Sham about the ending
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HARBOR HILL 9 April 2008
By Shannon Deason - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Harbor Hill was one of the most spectacular mansions ever built in America. Designed by the iconic Stanford White and built to embody the MacKays desire to accend to the pinacle of NYC society. This book charts the rise of the MacKays and their ultimate demise, along with the similar fate of this great house. The mistress of the house was a real peice of work, but this beautiful showplace was really her creation, she knew what she wanted and Stanford White gave it to her, with Mr. MacKay's money of course. The book is well researched and it's an interesting read and the images are first rate. Honestly, it's tragic that this house no longer survives, you just wonder what kind of philstine could tear something like this down, unfortunitely this being America and not Europe, none of us should be surprised it was so uncerimoniously destroyed. Harbor Hills fate closely resembles the great Philadelphia mansion, Whitehall, and the MacKays are more than a bit similiar to the Stotesbury's, both thought they built their great estates to last for centuries and instead they barely outlived them..when you see the kind of grand mansions built today in places like Bel Air and Palm Beach, you can't help but notice how inferior they are in comparison to the great Gilded Age mansions like Harbor Hill, it's a shame we dont have more respect for beautiful architecture of the past, we inherited so much from the Europeans, but that unfortunitely was not one of them...too bad for Harbor Hill, now just a ghost, haunting old sepia stained images.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Finally, someone documents this gem !! 1 Nov. 2009
By Peter T. Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Publisher W. W. Norton is to be complimented for taking a chance in publishing this book. Unlike more famous estates still standing, Harbor Hill is long gone and was not attached to a famous family like Hearst or Vanderbilt. But what a place it was !! In its day it was considered one of the wonders of the Gilded Age. Sadly it did not survive long. Yet here it's beautifully restored with outstanding photos of the house, grounds and family who built it. As you know from my other reviews, I'm a fan of these kinds of books and own many. So I judge accordingly. Trust me, this is a 'must have' for anyone interested in this subject. When it came out I bought it sight unseen since I knew it was rare that this house would have its own volume. I was certainly glad I did.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Harbor Hill: a reader's opinion 31 May 2008
By Stephen C. Erskine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Harbor Hill: Portrait of a house deals with one of the most important private homes built in America's "gilded age." Both the family involved, and the architect, provide the meat for a good story. Unfortunately, the result is a dry review of the details. Perhaps there are few surviving photographs of the home's interior, but too few are included to gain a good picture of the interior design and furnishings. In the end, the book is something of a disappointment.
Excellent and HTF (hard to find) 19 Feb. 2013
By L'escribe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who is a serious student of architecture and/or history of the Gilded Age in America will love this book by Richard Guy Wilson. To begin with, it is extremely hard to find, often commanding exhorbitant prices as I understand it is now out of print. Amazon can always be counted on to find books of this nature.
The house, Harbor Hill, was built for the Mackay family, daughter Ellin Mackay famous for marrying composer Irving Berlin (God Bless America and many others) and defying her father, Clarence Mackay, who was violently opposed to the marriage, and ended up disinheriting Ellin for marrying Berlin. The marriage endured, as a true love match does, until the death of Ellin. Berlin lived to be 101 I believe.
There are some charming photographs of the family but the true star of the book is the house, Harbor Hill, long since demolished, in the cause of progress. The vast beauty of the architecture will stagger you. It is indicative of workmanship that will never be seen again. Truly a wonderful book.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
harbor hill book 18 April 2008
By Lynne Denis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gave as gift and person who received it absolutely loves it. She could not put the book down and we have ordered another copy to give as gift to somene else! Very well written and immensely interesting.
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