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I found "Fool's Paradise" to be a rich, fascinating listen. Gaines is a terrific storyteller, with a gift for remembering that "history" is yesterday's juicy gossip. Starting with the description of a half-million dollar bat mitzvah (for the daughter of a couple of nouveau riche socialites who are not exactly Jewish), he then goes back in time to the cigar-chomping businessmen who drained the swamps, built the great hotels, and wound up in mammoth, ego-fueled feuds.
Then we get the coming of Al Capone and his gangster buddies … the Rat Pack era when Sinatra had his own suite at the Fontainebleau but didn't pay for anything but his hookers … the flamboyantly gay doorman whose pot-inspired reveries gave birth to South Beach's pastel color scheme … the Cuban boatlift and the drug wars of the "Scarface" era … the gay scene, the nightclubs, the models, etc., etc., etc.
Narrator Dean Sluyter brings the right kind of storytelling energy to all this. He voices a big cast of characters (models, mobsters, etc.) in lively fashion, and when the stories verge (often) on the surreal or the absurd, you can sense the raised eyebrow in his voice.
I was disappointed by this audiobook. The title was misleading in my opinion. There were a few examples of "players,posers and excess" but an inordinate amount of the book was spent on architecture, people who didn't have anything to do with the title description and random characters. I got so tired of name dropping and uninteresting facts that I barely made it to the end.
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