Women of Privilege: 100 Years of Love & Loss in a Family of the Hudson River Valley (Hardback)Susan S. Gillotti (author)
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Carolyn Heilbrun, in Writing a Woman's Life, states that books about the real lives of women aren't written often enough. Women of Privilege is an attempt to fill that gap. The book describes three generations of women at Grasmere - a country estate in Rhinebeck, New York - who suffered because of the patriarchal attitudes of the men in their lives. On the surface, everything seemed enviable; below the surface were mental illness, alcoholism, the yearning for divorce, and questions about sexual identity.
The book traces the decline of a once privileged Hudson River Valley family where the neighbors were Vanderbilts, Delanos, and Roosevelts. Based on diaries and journals, and written by a family descendant, it combines biography and memoir with social history. Written by the great-great granddaughter of Sarah Minerva Schieffelin, the book is part biography, part memoir, and part social history. Based on journals and diaries that span more than a hundred years, Women of Privilege reveals how easy it is to create a family myth, when there is money to keep up appearances. Written with skill and grace, this is an insightful exploration of how the absence of human warmth can harm a child, and of how little inherited money matters in the end.
Publisher: Academy Chicago Publishers
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 21 mm
"Using a treasure trove of family records, Susan Gillotti relates with wonderful details the challenges that faced the upper class women in her family from the latter decades of the nineteenth century until the late twentieth. The book offers readers a look at the beautiful Hudson River Valley, but we also learn about the lives of prosperous Americans in east coast cities, at elite schools, and in Europe. This is a riveting and moving family story, which, quite literally, I could not put down."
- Miriam Cohen, Evalyn Clark Professor of History, Vassar College
"Susan Gillotti opens the door of this great house to explore the lives and turmoil within. "Women of Privilege" is a riveting read--one cannot stop until the final outcome of these powerful, but flawed, lives is revealed. Equally compelling is that the telling of these personal dramas is based on a wealth of conserved letters, diaries, and other documentation."
-- Peter H. Brink, former senior vice president, Programs, National Trust for Historic Preservation
"In the context of a family unraveling from the American Golden Age through five generations, Susan Gillotti weaves dispassionately from journals and letters, without judgment, the stories of her mother and grandmothers, bravely, sometimes desperately, trying to claim their independence from social straight jackets, and succeeding in Gillotti's voice."
-- Georgina Forbes, Artist
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