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The Hamptons, that famous string of beachside hamlets in New York State, are not just a quiet vacation spot for New England blue bloods like the duPonts and Vanderbilts. According to Steven Gaines, the author of a spate of "untold" and "true" biographies of such glitterati asCalvin Klein, they're also--surprise!--a sandbox of scandal.

And who exactly has been stirring things up? Gaines centers the book on an eccentric cast of characters in Hamptons history: semicloseted gay men of fabulous wealth and Ralph Lauren taste, half-cracked Mayflower descendants going to seed, and those "Philistines," the nouveau riche, blemishing the scenery with their terrible taste. "The establishment can hold off the newcomers for only so long," explains the author. "There are always more of Them than Us."

Heavily researched, the book is painstakingly detailed and unapologetically voyeuristic, full of "nine-ounce chilled Baccarat crystal stem glasses," "Chippendale sofas upholstered in Scalamandré silks," "Gucci loafers," and "fourteen-karat-gold wallpaper." It's a Champagne truffle: sinful, enticing, and pure froth at its center. --Maria Dolan

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ISBN-10:  0316309419
ISBN-13:  978-0316309417
Author:  Steven Gaines
Publisher:  Little Brown & Co
Date Published:  1998
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review by . March 04, 1999
This book of money, money and money in the Hamptons read like one long glorious gossip column! But I don't mean this as a criticism - we wouldn't be human if we didn't like gossip. And what is juicier than fame, fortune and fabulous property? Add to it some serious eccentricity, and heavy summer traffic and you have one of the most entertaining reads of the year.
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Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property
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