File Size: 49555 KB
Print Length: 401 pages
Publisher: Touchstone (September 26, 2017)
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Whilst George had the idea to build Biltmore House and hired the many individuals to implement his idea, Edith is the person who protected both Biltmore House and the Asheville area and ensured that her husband’s legacy would remain. She was dedicated to the location and the Biltmore’s employees. I found Edith fascinating and was pleased that Kiernan dedicated substantial pages to Edith’s story. She lived for a long time after George died and left quite a legacy of her own.
Not really only does Denise Kiernan thoroughly and thoughtfully recreate the timeline for and the process that went into the building of Biltmore House, she also places this monumental endeavor into its historical context. Adding historical context will either be skillfully accomplished or haphazardly included in a manner that makes the storyline disjointed and hard to follow. Fortunately, Kiernan masterfully incorporates the history of both the Vanderbilt family and George’s wife Edith Stuyvesant Dresser’s family, events including the settling of the Titanic and the Lusitania, both Planet Wars, the introduction of Forestry Plans (such as the one developed at Biltmore House), and the impact of the Great Depression; I never found myself wondering why a topic was being resolved or how I was all of a sudden reading about some new subject. The Last Castle flows beautifully, and We learned copious amounts of information about both the Vanderbilts and Biltmore House and in addition the decades spanned by the building of this magnificent estate.
The book abounds with fascinating facts and details from the late 1800’s to the death of George and Edith’s daughter Cornelia’s death in 1976. The illustrates for me were the descriptions of John Performer Sargent painting various portraits at Biltmore House, the innovative refrigeration, wiring and elevator systems installed at the house, that Snuggly Roosevelt was visiting Biltmore House when the idea for the teddy carry came about, and this Edith’s second marriage was to Elbridge Gerry, the individual who inspired the term “gerrymandering”. I additionally was unaware that George and Edith had almost traveled on the Titanic but chosen last minute to take an previously ship. The historical information included in the guide was a true highlight for me.
The final Castle provides a glimpse in to the Gilded Age, an era of excess and untold wealth, and one man’s decision to build the grandest home in the United States. I highly recommend this fabulous book. Thank you to Touchstone and Goodreads Giveaways for the chance to read this ARC. Almost all opinions are my own., Awesome book... my family is from Asheville so the Biltmore is a major deal... been there several times. Good to know more in depth people history!, Very interesting read. We liked the story of George Vanderbilts Biltmore House and the business that was associated by it., We don't usually read non-fiction, but I really loved Girls of Atomic Town. The Last Castle is as meticulously researched, but it's better still. Part of this is that the time frame is more interesting to me, and also, the book covers every angle imaginable for the Biltmore and the family at the rear of its legacy. I reside in the region, so there is a local angle too, but Kiernan provides a great glimpse of how the 400 lived, George and Edith Vanderbilt particularly., Given that I've always been considering the Vanderbilt's story, I used to be anxious to read more about Biltmore. We've already been there 3 times every time has been a thrill. There is no place like it. " The Last Castle" shows plenty about the house, but as important to me, it tells read more about George and Edith and the men who helped make Biltmore what it was, and is also. Some of the chapters got into deep detail, which might not be interesting to some people, but since most of it was new to me, I found it interesting, because no other book I've read, including " Lady on the Hill" delved as deeply in the lives of folks who, for the most part, were unfamiliar to me-- not the famous, but the instructors and forrest workers who taught at the universities on the causes. But my main interest was the house. I would have liked to know more about how it was to actually live there. Why is there no ballroom? Why wasn't the Halloween party room mentioned? And surprising to me was that George and Edith only lived there in the Fall and Winter. These people spent additional time in Europe, NYC and Washington DC. The book has already been fascinating to see. I started out to read it 4 days ago and am finished. I'm going to re-buy " Lady on the Hill" and read it again. But " The final Castle" was superb. I will be anxious to go back for another visit.
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