The Last Castle

The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home

The Last Castle

New York Times Bestseller

“A soaring and gorgeous American story” (Karen Abbott) from the author of the New York Times bestselling The Girls of Atomic City.

The fascinating true story behind the magnificent Gilded Age mansion Biltmore—the largest, grandest residence ever built in the United States.

The story of Biltmore spans World Wars, the Jazz Age, the Depression, and generations of the famous Vanderbilt family, and features a captivating cast of real-life characters including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, Henry James, and Edith Wharton.

Orphaned at a young age, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser claimed lineage from one of New York’s best known families. She grew up in Newport and Paris, and her engagement and marriage to George Vanderbilt was one of the most watched events of Gilded Age society. But none of this prepared her to be mistress of Biltmore House.

Before their marriage, the wealthy and bookish Vanderbilt had dedicated his life to creating a spectacular European-style estate on 125,000 acres of North Carolina wilderness. He summoned the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to tame the grounds, collaborated with celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt to build a 175,000-square-foot chateau, filled it with priceless art and antiques, and erected a charming village beyond the gates. Newlywed Edith was now mistress of an estate nearly three times the size of Washington, DC and benefactress of the village and surrounding rural area. When fortunes shifted and changing times threatened her family, her home, and her community, it was up to Edith to save Biltmore—and secure the future of the region and her husband’s legacy.

The Last Castle is the unique American story of how the largest house in America flourished, faltered, and ultimately endured to this day.
This Edition:
9781476794044 Hardcover $28.00 Touchstone September 26, 2017
Other US Editions:
9781476794068 eBook $11.99 Touchstone September 26, 2017
9781476794051 Trade Paperback $16.00 Touchstone May 01, 2018
Retailers for Hardcover:
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Last Castle includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Denise Kiernan. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Girls of Atomic City comes the fascinating true story behind the magnificent Gilded Age mansion of Biltmore—the largest, grandest residence ever built in the United States.

Orphaned at a young age, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser claimed lineage from one of New York’s best-known families. She grew up in Newport and Paris, and her engagement and marriage to George Vanderbilt was one of the most-watched events of Gilded Age society. But none of this prepared her to be mistress of Biltmore House.

Before their marriage, the wealthy and bookish Vanderbilt had dedicated his life to creating a spectacular European-style estate on 125,000 acres of North Carolina wilderness. In addition to taming the grounds with the help of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, he collaborated with celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt to build a 175,000-square-foot chateau, filled it with priceless art and antiques, and erected a village just beyond its gates. N see more

More Books from this Author

The Girls of Atomic City

About the Author

Denise Kiernan
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Denise Kiernan

Denise Kiernan’s previous book, The Girls of Atomic City, is a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and NPR bestseller, and was named one of Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of 2013. Kiernan has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Ms. Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Discover, and many more publications. She has also worked in television, serving as head writer for ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire during its Emmy award–winning first season and producing for media outlets such as ESPN and MSNBC. She has been a featured guest on NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” PBS NewsHour, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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