SARATOGA: Saga of an Impious Era by George Waller

SARATOGA: Saga of an Impious Era

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Comparable to Waller's earlier Kidnap about the Lindbergh case, this is a thoroughly researched project and features 300 illustrations (which we haven't seen but which if the text is any measure should be excellent). The routine opening tells of the Hudson Valley's Mohawk tribes' first meeting with white men, the arrival of those pan-ubiquitous Jesuits, 150 years of French frustration with the Indians, the loss of the territory to England, Dutch settlements and so on. Threading all this is the legendary mineral water at Saratoga which the Indians had revered for centuries for its restorative powers. The 19th century's first decade found the medicine springs famous across the Union and rapidly becoming commercialized. By midcentury Saratoga was known simply as The Spa and was a center for the haut monde, beau monde and demimonde: unlike highly fashionable Newport, The Spa was a democratic showplace and not insular. A gambling house and racetrack were introduced during the Civil War, since the resort was hors de combat. Perhaps the best description of Saratoga was written by Henry James, who was acidulous about the nouveau riche vulgarity of The Spa's architecture but amazed by its feminine elegance. One fabulous million-dollar hotel extended over acres of expensive real estate. Celebrities such as Jim Fisk and Lily Langtry stud the pages like carbuncles. The annual August racing extravaganza is covered through several eras, as is the cultural agglutinization. The book about Saratoga and a fancy item for cocktail tables.

Pub Date: Dec. 8th, 1966
Publisher: Prentice-Hall