Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Magnificent Ambersons - Winner, Novel/Fiction, 1919

The Magnificent Ambersons
by: Booth Tarkington
Doubleday, 1918

The Magnificent Ambersons Takes place at the turn of the century in your typical, growing Midwestern town. It follows the rise and fall of a wealthy family and shows the fascinating struggle between old money & new money and the struggle faced by many who grow up with old money, feel a sense of entitlement, think they will never have to work a day in their lives, & find out that they are wrong.
I loved this book. Social commentary, especially in this time of American history, is my absolute favorite thing to read. I did find it hard to ever have any positive feelings toward the main character, George Amberson Minafer, who was a spoiled brat whom everyone in town hoped would one day "get his come-upance." And, while he eventually does get his "come-upance" by pridefully refusing to work and continuing to spend the family money, by the time he does the town has long ago moved on and no one even remembers him.
I would definitely recommend this book. It is a fascinating study in the way that America shifted from truly valuing "Old Money" as the only authentic form of wealth to valuing money only, regardless of whether it is new or old.


RC said...

when i think of old money/new money i think of the great gatsby and the people on the different part of "the egg."

i think in the right enviornment, you still find issues where "the old money people" take offense at new money hedging in.

AK said...

I do agree. Old money will always take offense at New money. But, I think the general public doesn't seem to care as much whether your money is old or new.