In the late 19th century, Newport, Rhode Island, was a cauldron of money, excess, and unapologetic greed, where reputations were made and lost in a whirlwind of parties and fancied slights. But amid the glamour of yacht races, tennis matches, and costume balls raged undeclared class warfare, scandalous doings, even madness.
In 1893, railroad mogul Sam Driver, one of the few surviving robber barons of the lawless years after the Civil War, knocks on the door of fabled Newport with his daughter, Jenny, determined not to be turned away. In the past, his "new money" was tainted by his rapacious reputation, and even now, an enemy with a pedigree of wealth and position vows to slam every door in Sam's face. But he is determined to win a place in the strange, rarefied world of Newport's brief summer season, presided over by social gadflies Ward McAllister and the androgynous Harry Lehr, both of whom will assist the Drivers...for a price.
The Gods of Newport brings this gilded age of excess to thrilling life. It was a time and place whose extremes of greed, conspicuous consumption, and social striving have an astonishing resonance and relevance for the America we see around us today.
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My time listening to this book was not well spent. The story moved slower than the Mississippi on a hot summer day and was just a predictable in its flow.
John Jakes could have written a better story by dropping the never-ending history lesson. What background I needed should have been included with the story not “told” to me by the narrator. Further, John seems to despise not only the Sam, but all of the wealthy people in the story. I don’t have any idea if that was intentional, but it lowers the story to a diatribe against the rich and famous. It is more than telling that all of the business ventures of Sam’s partners turned out to be failures. It makes one wonder how they ever got so rich.
None of the characters stand out as particularly noteworthy.
No, absolutely not.
While a good narrator can't save a poor book, Jack Garrett made a valiant effort in this case.
Good listen with familiar setting