Gilded City: Scandal and Sensation in Turn-of-the-Century New York
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Gilded City: Scandal and Sensation in Turn-of-the-Century New York

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  35 ratings  ·  6 reviews
The dark side of the Gilded Age is revealed in this vivid new view of turn-of-the-century New York. Scholar of American culture M. H. Dunlop penetrates the psyche of New York City in the pivotal years made famous by Edith Wharton, the Vanderbilts, and the Rockefellers, unveiling an age that was not genteel and proper but dangerous and predatory.

Drawing on rare primary sour...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 27th 2001 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2000)
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Overwrought. Hard to see how she missed the mark with such a promising subject. The arrangement of the book in chapters, each on a scandal or social phenomenon, makes the material seem fragmented and repetitive. The author tries terribly hard to shock the reader, but she ends up sounding like a maiden aunt addicted to racy romances. It's rather a mish-mash and nothing hangs together particularly well. A more competent treatment of even a handful of these scandals would be of greater interest.
I happened to be a student of Mary Helen Dunlop's at the time she was writing this book. When she explained to our research methods class how she had conducted her own research, she was pretty straight-forward. "I read ten years' worth of newspapers on microfilm" was her one-sentence summation. To accomplish this, she actually bought a microfilm reader and set it up in her office, so she wasn't forced to spend all her time in the basement of the library.

Until I actually started to do research on...more
Very forced attempt to tie in a bunch of anecdotes about life in early 20th century New York (I'm really not sure how Tip the Central Park Zoo elephant is the equivalent of the unemployed workers who protested their fate in life or the young women who were used as prostitutes, but the author really belabors that point!)

I wouldn't recommend this at all - you'd be better off reading some Edith Wharton novels!
Sep 30, 2007 Billy rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people with train tickets
If you want to know more about long-forgotten New York miscellany and minutiae, or have ever been curious as to whether Michael Musto would have had a career had he been born 100 years earlier instead, this is for you. Pulpy and fun.
Rachel Pollock
The chapters of this book hang together only loosely, but each one is full of interesting trivia from the news stories of the turn of the century. Oddly, there is also a fair amount of stuff about Chicago as well.
This book is amazing. So much detail on people who were total ciphers. It's like riding the bus with a bunch of undergrads.
Dec 26, 2008 Danadoodle marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Mary Helen Dunlop was an associate professor of English and women's studies at Iowa State University.
More about M.H. Dunlop...
Sixty Miles from Contentment: Traveling the Nineteenth-Century American Interior

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