I’m a historical voyeur. I enjoy looking back and seeing the way that people used to live in all walks of life. And of course a peak into the uber-rich’s lifestyle is always interesting. That is what drew my attention to this book.

If you’re interested in historical New York hotels, why they were built, why they were destroyed, and a very little detail about the goings-ons in them back in the day, this book might almost be for you. If you are interested in ritzy New York generally from about 100-125 years ago, this book is not for you. I guess I just didn’t take the author’s title literally enough. I guess at one point the Astor family owned a not inconsequential chunk of Manhattan. And that is all that this book is about–oh, with a little sibling rivalry built in so that we leave New York for a few pages to visit England. Otherwise, it’s about the Astor family’s acquisition of property and pissing match as to who could build the biggest, most ostentatious hotel.

My historical life-and-times voyeurism was not fed. The end.

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