Denise Kiernan’s The Last Castle explores the drama inside America’s largest home ever built. The story of the Biltmore House, tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, spans world wars, the Jazz Age, the Depression, and generations of the famous Vanderbilt family. Its history features a captivating cast of reallife characters, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home reveals the amazing true story of the Vanderbilt family, and the tragic struggles they encountered within Biltmore’s walls.
Kiernan’s previous book, The Girls of Atomic City, was named one of Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of 2013 and was a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and NPR bestseller. Throughout her twenty-year career, Kiernan has been a featured guest on many radio and television shows, including NPR's Weekend Edition, PBS NewsHour, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She has also worked as head writer for ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire during its Emmy Award–winning first season and as producer for media outlets such as ESPN and MSNBC.
“Ms. Kiernan's research is prodigious . . . . She brings the place to life. And she doesn't leave out the juicy bits from the family history: adultery, bankruptcy, suicide.”—The Wall Street Journal
6:30 p.m. Join Lea Stephenson, the McDermott Graduate Intern for American Art, for a pre-event art tour featuring a beautiful console table from the Vanderbilt mansion in New York, as well as other paintings and decorative arts from this era.