Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons

Philistines at the Hedgerow Passion and Property in the Hamptons A quirky cast of eccentrics vies for a slice of the Hamptons on land still inhabited by families that have farmed and fished the regions for generations

  • Title: Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons
  • Author: Steven Gaines
  • ISBN: 9780316309073
  • Page: 349
  • Format: Paperback
  • A quirky cast of eccentrics vies for a slice of the Hamptons on land still inhabited by families that have farmed and fished the regions for generations.

    One thought on “Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons”

    1. A deliciously voyeuristic look at the ultra rich Hamptons, the summer retreat of wealthy WASPy americans. It is written by an insider so it has all the goss on who lives where, the country clubs, the cliques and the council courtcases. I only wish the author had included a map so I could visualise the place.

    2. I've always had a fascination with the Hamptons and every time I'm home on the North Fork, there is always the pull of the South Fork that draws me to the small towns and causes me to buy silly things like a magnet that says "Hamptons Girl" or a very expensive hooked-wool pillow that says "The East End" on it or an on-sale Missoni skirt at the local TJ Maxx.Reading this book was like reading a historic version of The Enquirer and I loved every dirty little second of it. Allow me to explain that [...]

    3. What a weird book. I wouldn't want to live there for anything.There is what at first appears to be a lot of name-dropping, but in general the writing is surprisingly neutral, and I think the endless listing of celebrities and American "royalty" serves to give an impression of the concentration of name cachet in the area. Gaines doesn't openly condemn his subjects but he doesn't seem to admire them, either.What this book desperately needs, though, is more pictures and, for the love of all that is [...]

    4. A delightful history of the Hamptons, full of stories of the many rich and entitled people who flock there, with a few true eccentrics thrown in. The chapters are sprinkled with some real tidbits of American history, like the stories of Jackson Pollack and the Murphy's efforts to get the surrealists out of Europe and away from the Nazis. I enjoyed every minute

    5. Fun, dishy read about one of my favorite spots. At this point a little dated, but would love to see a refresh. Anyone who has spent time in the Hamptons will love this book. I especially enjoyed the early American history that Gaines wove into the narrative.

    6. Fun and juicy history of the Hamptons--especially if you are the type of person, as I am, who gets interested in the characters important in local histories, whether in my own town or elsewhere. Interesting how, similar to Sprinkle Glitter on My Grave and the Odd Mom Out tv show, in this book some rich people appear to be in a lot of pain. There seems to be a constant need to be better than others and a real inability to accept things that don't go one's way.Had thought the Hamptons a glorious, [...]

    7. This was not a book I expected to like. Who cares about a bunch of rich assholes and their houses? But by the time I made it to the section with Ted Dragon and Alphonso Ossorio and Jackson Pollock I was pretty well hooked. Gaines does a great job of building his characters, who include not only rich and famous humans but also their estates, and finds a way to make you interested in petty squabbling that most other times would only invoke schadenfreude.

    8. An entertaining history of the quirky, exclusive villages of the Hamptons. Reads like a cross between "The Official Preppy Handbook" and a gossip rag. My favorite parts were the bits about Jackson Pollock, the saga of Ted Dragon, and the accounts of which rich person bought which house and remodeled it hideously while scandalizing the old-timers.

    9. Fun read as an intro to East Hampton. Captures the dynamics in full color. But, at this point it's dated. A lot has changed in 20 years - maybe he should write a part II?

    10. An interesting and easy to read book that gives some basic early history on the area and towns known as the Hamptons, a wealthy waterfront area of Long Island in New York state, and profiles a number of notable residents and properties through the years. Initially settled because of it's natural beauty and fertile soil, the area became a haven for the wealthy who flaunt their wealth by trying not to appear that they're flaunting it. And over the years it attracted various groups such as artists, [...]

    11. I bought this book ages ago (another discount table find) and finally got around to reading it. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the storytelling in this book, the vividness of the cast of real-life characters on this crazy little island. I'm one of those people who resents the rich and famous who didn't have to work to get that way, so there's more than a little schaedenfreude involved in these stories of legal land battles and secret gay passions and mental health battles and free [...]

    12. A wonderfully well-written history/commentary on life in the Hamptons. At times hilarious, at times horrifying, and at times making me shake my head at the invincible narcissism that afflicts some Hamptonites, this book provides some great perspective and background for what makes the Hamptons tick. Gaines is a beautiful writer, and he tells the story with heart, wit, and insight. I loved it. At the end of the day, the message that comes through is that money can't buy happiness, class, true cha [...]

    13. Gaines explored the Hamptons in the late 90s seeking the most colorful characters form the past and present days, and succeeds with some frightening cases. Among these are a duplicitous mega-realtor, a daffy "Lord of the Manor", two kooky avant-garde artists, a municipal busybody, and a bizarre ultra-wealthy artist couple. One rapidly appreciates the idea that the only difference between these people and crazy hillbillies is the money. It is possible to read these accounts with amusement, but at [...]

    14. This book is completely random: basically a cultural history of rich people in a rich place. So, yeah, there are bizarre requests and stories involving the bold-faced names from the gossip pages (you know the ones). And, just like the best of the gossip rags, this book is compulsively readable too. There's just something about the super-wealthy and their eccentricities that only they can afford, and the petty neighbor-drama that we can ALL identify with. A great beach read or in-between-heavy-re [...]

    15. This book is entertainingly breezy and gossipy, but the subject - rich assholes with too much money - is too overbearing for me to enjoy. My blood pressure just kept going up as I read about various assholes with too much money until I realized that not only was I not enjoying this book, but getting annoyed on my lunch break reading about assholes with too much money is probably not the best idea. Still, it's well-written enough and brisk-moving, so YMMV.

    16. Very interesting look at the personalities of the owners of grand houses in the Hamptons as well as the origins of the community from its earliest times, including relations between early white settlers and the indigenous Native American population. A real in-depth study of how The Hamptons Got That Way. An interesting side note mentions a 19th Century lady of great wealth who actually had a Catholic Church built out there to attract and retain her Irish "help".

    17. A Facinating book. It really seems sad-that people who live in such a beautiful place seem to be so focused on their egos and being better then their neighbors (or newcomers) that they can't enjoy such beautiful surroundings. The book was extremely well written, and I highly recommend it. The ending(telling how many of the protaganists in the stories would be spending the forth of July) was a perfect capstone.

    18. I had read (and really enjoyed) this book. It's really amazing how "quirky" a person can become when you throw a whole lot of cash their way! So then I leant this wonderful book toI don't know. To make a long story short, I gave up trying to find it. So, I had to buy a replacement. Now I need to read it again!

    19. Who knew there was so much drama on Long Island? Even the historical interactions of settlers and Indians have a gossipy interest. The more recent history of the avant guard artists, and then just plain rich people moving in and jockeying for prime real estate is voyeuristic fun.

    20. i loved this fuckin' book, but the best ever section is about how martha stewart backed her SUV into a fence - with a man sandwiched between the fence and bumper! yikes, crazy lady! - because she didn't think the style of fence was appropriate design style for her neighborhood in the hamptons.

    21. It's been a long while since I read it, but I really loved it the first time I read it, and plan to re-open it. Spending every summer in the Hamptons and Montauk growing up, you can have a perfect idea of who and what they are talking about. I love the dirty stories behind the "hedgerows".

    22. "Life of the rich & famous" - but I really enjoyed it. Wonderfully eccentric people (as I guess you can afford to be with 'Hamptons' type money), history, scandal, intrigue. I really had a good time with this read.

    23. A fun, gossipy read about the growth of the Hamptons into an enclave of the rich and famous, and of the eccentric characters who inhabited it then and now, their excesses and their escapades. And their fabulous houses, of course.

    24. Wanted to love this book, but it was written more like a dry research paper than a scathing send up of Hampton society. So many interesting characters and yet it was a slog to finish. Wish the author was less objective and had a bit more panache to bring his characters to life!

    25. Fairly dry read about a particular set of people and incidents in the Hamptons. Mildly interesting to me as a spent weekends in Springs during my formative years so many of the names from the 1990s are familiar to me.

    26. I forced myself to finish this book because of the local interest, but I didn't really like it: the author was too interested in the "beautiful people" and the gory details of their lives, sometime appalling ones.

    27. Absorbing history of the NY Hamptons beginning with Native Americans who first lived there to the evolution of the attitudes of the social classes in society. Fascinating read!

    28. I never finished this book. Though I found the first few chapters very compelling, I lost interest in the lives of characters I couldn't relate to.

    29. When I think of the Hamptons, I think of summer weekends ending with Labor Day in the Hamptons. This book was a gossipy history of the Hamptons and the people who reside there.

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