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Death and Disaster: The Rise of the Warhol Empire and the Race for Andy's Millions Hardcover – 31 Dec 1994

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Recounts the death of Andy Warhol after a gallbladder operation, and describes the complexity of settling his estate and the controversy surrounding the management of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Read 12 Feb. 2003
By Charles T. Bauer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Death and Disaster: The Rise of the Warhol Empire and the Race for Andy's Millions by Paul Alexander. Now this is some book. Andy was a brilliant businessman who had the magic touch, though he was sad most of his life. At the time of his death his empire (not only art and collectibles, but vast real estate holdings and income properties nationwide) was 1/2 a BILLION dollars, second only to Picasso at 1 billion, and Andy died young. His soft and crafty management of the beautiful people, and then the tragedy of his death, and then the catastrophe of the jackals tearing apart his fortune (the lawyers got most of it) is a tale of sheer madness chronicled by a journalist who knew many of the principals and went to most of the trials - for years. Andy once tipped his hand: "A lady asked me what I loved most. That's when I started painting money."
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, But Bad Writing 27 Dec. 2009
By B. Wolinsky - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in 1995. It was in print once, then quickily forgotten. When a book goes out of print quickly, there's usually a good reason for it.

DEATH AND DISASTER (the title aken from a series of Warhol paintings) is all about the economic side of Andy Warhol. From his early days as a commercial illustrator, Warhol had a gift for making money. In the mid-1960's, his "Soup Can" paintings and his "sculptures" of Brillo boxes sold quickly, and Warhol milked it, cranking out as many as the customers ordered. He made plotless film, like "Empire", that brought in more cash. "Empire" was nothing but an eight-hour stare at the Empire State Building, but people paid to see it. Money, money and more money flowed in. When Warhol died, everything was auctioned off according to his will.

Now here's where the problems started. Warhol's assistant, Ted Hughes, was named executor, but he mismanaged the estate. For the next ten years, the money was tied up in court, and the paper value of the estate kept growing. The lawyers kept the case in court for years, generating more fees for the lawyers, all of which were paid out of the estate.

The problem with this book, and the most likely reason that it's ut of print, is that the writing is no good. Alexander chose a method of writing where he introduces a character, then devotes several pages to the characters back-story, and that makes it hard to follow. The first character he introduces is a Korean nurse at the hospital where Warhol died, and gives too much background info. She's a footnote character and doesn't even belong in the story. He does the same with Warhol's doctor, his housekeeper, and a host of other useless characters.

The story here is worth reading if you're interested in business. In fact, it should be required study for anyone looking to become a lawyer specializing in wills and estates. But Alexander's poor writing structure makes this book unreadable.
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