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The Richest Woman In America: The Life And Times Of Hetty Green (2012)

by Janet Wallach(Favorite Author)
3.28 of 5 Votes: 3
0385531974 (ISBN13: 9780385531979)
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
review 1: Be a prepared to develop a love/hate (maybe not love, but at least respect) view of Hetty Green. The author fails to mentioned that along with being titled "the richest woman in America" she is also frequently referred to as "the Witch of Wall Street" (thanks Wikipedia...). Ah, how powerful women get labeled when they breach any feminine norms. The book was written well enough that I was able to get through it, although at timed I nearly I gave it up. There is a strong emphasis on the economics of the 19th century, the stock market, and recessions/panics etc. Even with the author's decidedly pro-Hetty stance, I don't think I could ever truly like her. Her miserliness is almost revolting; attempting to get reduced medical care by posing as poor for example. Her love o... moref money seems completely irrational (the author says it stems from her early Quaker upbringing of associating wealth with goodness..I'm not sure this is what the Quakers had in mine) - what's the point if you don't spend a little now and again. She completely controls her childrens' lives. Her daughter doesn't marry until nearly 40, while her son waits to marry his mistress until after his mother's death.In any case, from a 20th century standpoint, what she did within a "man's world" was astounding. Here in lies my respect for her.
review 2: I am glad to know about Hetty Green but after reading 60 pages I grew bored with the repeated information, and the difficulty keeping track of who's who in the family. A genealogy map would have been useful.Hetty had a miserable upbringing but became a very strong, intelligent and capable woman and managed to be a force in the male-dominated times when women were not allowed to be a force anywhere. I have great respect for her and did not know of her existence before reading parts of the book, so am very happy to now know of her influence during the "Gilded Age". less
Reviews (see all)
Hetty was as financially successful as she was socially a failure. You can't have it all.
It was interesting to read and learn of Hatty Green.
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