Tuesday, May 21, 2019
"Bar Harbor Babylon" by Dan and Leslie Landrigan - A Fascinating Look At Scandals From the Glory Days of Mt. Desert Island and Bar Harbor
Dan and Leslie Landrigan are to be commended for making gossip - sometimes over 100 years old - read like today's latest installment on E! "Bar Harbor Babylon" takes us back in time to the golden age when The Season in Bar Harbor each summer rivaled that of Newport as a playground for old money, robber barons, politicians, and rum runners.
My love for the coast of Maine hearkens back to my childhood when our family would head "Down East" to visit Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, and to climb Cadillac Mountain. When I learned that a "tell all" book about the golden era of the summer resort, I could not wait to read "Bar Harbor Babylon."
One of the reasons that this book is a satisfying read is that the authors have included names and events that ring with familiarity. The curse of the Hope Diamond takes center stage in one chapter. The Rockefellers, Joseph Pulitzer, the Astors, the Duke of Windsor, the KKK, J. P. Morgan, and the Vanderbilts all play a role in the saga that was life at Bar Harbor from the late 19th century until the world changed and once luxurious mansions were torn down or converted to nursing homes.
The Landrigans write in a style that kept me interested as I plowed through each chapter, eager to learn inside information about heretofore vaguely familiar personages. The result is that I am already planning my next return trip to the coast of Maine to visit the sites of the long ago murders, rum running, and granite quarries that built the U.S. Treasury Build and the glorious NYC main Post Office.