Gilded City

Gilded City

Scandal and Sensation in Turn-of-the Century New York

Book - 2000
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The dark side of the Gilded Age is revealed in this richly narrated new view of turn-of-the century New York. American culture scholar M. H. Dunlop penetrates the psyche of New York City in the pivotal years made famous by Edith Wharton and by families like the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers, unveiling a Gilded Age that was not genteel and proper but dangerous and predatory. She shows us a society whose drives and desires speak familiarly to our own.

Drawing on rare primary sources, Dunlop focuses each chapter on an event-whether infamous or near-forgotten-that showcases a singular facet of America as reflected in its most prominent city. The passions and preoccupations of the time emerge in Dunlop's edgy portraits of sensational events that riveted the public, including a wealthy society wed, ding where locals were trampled in their frenzy to watch; a bachelor dinner during which men sliced off the girl dancers' dresses; the harrowing nine-hour execution of a zoo elephant diagnosed with sexual frustration; and more.

No other book makes comparable use of the vivid and varied newspapers of the day to reveal the everyday behaviors of a broad spectrum of city people. Dunlop's account is embedded in these and other primary sources, from decorators' manuals to vice commission reports. The result is a mesmerizing story that upends familiar generalizations about the late nineteenth century and uncovers the fixations, fads, and fears of the time-the real hum of city life.

Spiced with cameos of such characters as exotic dancer Little Egypt, Stanford White, William Merritt Chase, art-collecting ex-con Eddie Stokes, the Midnight Band of Mercy (women who chloroformed cats on the streets after 8:00 P.M.), and Grover Cleveland's "mutton-fat diet" doctor, Gilded City brings to life a key era that saw the city rise to domi, nance in America. With her unerring eye for the vivid details that expose the truth of the time, M. H. Dunlop has shone a spotlight on the American mind.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c2000.
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780688171445
0688171443
Branch Call Number: 974/.71/041/Dun 3588mb 1
Characteristics: xxi, 296 p. : ill.

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