The Fall of the House of Walworth
A Tale of Madness and Murder in Gilded Age America
By Geoffrey O'Brien
(St. Martin's Griffin, Paperback, 9780312577148, 368pp.)
Publication Date: August 16, 2011
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The Walworth family was the very symbol of virtue and distinction for decades, rising to prominence as part of the splendor of New York's aristocracy. When Frank Walworth travels to New York to "settle a family difficulty" by shooting his father at point blank range, his family must reveal their inner demons in a spectacular trial to save him from execution. The resulting testimony exposes a legacy of mania and abuse, and the stately reputation of the family crumbles in a Gothic drama which the "New York Tribune "called "sensational to the last degree."
"The Fall of the House of Walworth "gives us both the intimate history of a family torn apart by violent obsessions, and a rich portrait of the American social worlds in which they moved. In the tradition of Edith Wharton, this is a riveting true story which "rival s] the most extravagant Gothic novels of the day" ("The Chicago Tribune).
GEOFFREY O’BRIEN is a poet, editor, and cultural historian. He is editor in chief for the Library of America. His other nonfiction books include Hardboiled America, Dreamtime, The Times Square Story, Red Sky Café, and Sonata for Jukebox. He lives in New York City.