Sku : 634192

The Beneficiary: Fortune, Misfortune, and the Story of My Father

Written by Janny Scott

A parable for the new age of inequality: part family history, part detective story, part history of a vanishing class, and a vividly compelling exploration of the degree to which an inheritance—financial, cultural, genetic—conspired in one person’s self-destruction.

Land, houses, and money tumbled from one generation to the next on the eight-hundred-acre estate built by Scott’s investment banker great-grandfather on Philadelphia’s Main Line. There was an obligation to protect it, a license to enjoy it, a duty to pass it on—but it was impossible to know in advance how all that extraordinary good fortune might influence the choices made over a lifetime.

In this warmly felt tale of an American family’s fortunes, journalist Janny Scott excavates the rarefied world that shaped her charming, unknowable father, Robert Montgomery Scott, and provides an incisive look at the weight of inheritance, the tenacity of addiction, and the power of buried secrets.

Some beneficiaries flourished, like Scott’s grandmother, Helen Hope Scott, a socialite and celebrated horsewoman said to have inspired Katherine Hepburn’s character in the play and Academy Award-winning film The Philadelphia Story. For others, including the author’s father, she concludes, the impact was more complex.

Bringing her journalistic talents, light touch, and crystalline prose to this powerful story of a child’s search to understand a parent’s puzzling end, Scott also raises questions about our new Gilded Age. New fortunes are being amassed, new estates are being born. Does anyone wonder how it will all play out, one hundred years hence?

• Author, Janny Scott will speak at Winterthur on November, 21st, 2020.

• Hardback: 288 pages.

• Dimensions: approximately 6" x 9" x 1".
November 21st, 2020 at Winterthur In her New York Times bestselling book A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother, journalist Janny Scott made use of her research, reporting and writing skills to illuminate a previously opaque but important family story. In her new book, she uses those same skills to examine another unusual and complex family saga—her own.

Part memoir of life at the Main Line estate Androssan, part class history, part detective story, THE BENEFICIARY: Fortune, Misfortune, and the Story of My Father(Riverhead; 2019) explores the degree to which an inheritance— financial, cultural, and genetic— conspired in one person’s self-destruction. It offers a vital and revealing perspective on wealth and its effects.
Janny Scott is the author of A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother. She was a reporter for The New York Times from 1994 to 2009 and was a member of the Times reporting team that won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

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