Best Non-Fiction Books to Read: Empty Mansions (Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell)

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Huguette Clark is the main character in the non-fiction book Empty Mansions, and she is a person from history worth learning more about.

Huguette Clark was the daughter of William A. Clark, who is one of the most forgotten rich men in history. William A. Clark became rich from the copper industry, and when he was alive he was one of the richest men in the world (and one of the richest in history on a time adjusted basis). Clark was well known for his huge houses and extensive art collection, part of which was passed down to Huguette after his death.

In the book Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell (a relative of Huguette Clark), the authors document Huguette’s very interesting life. The book starts from her childhood when she was living with William Clark, and then moves to the time after Clark has passed away. Huguette has a really interesting life story, as she enjoyed spending a large portion of her fortune on Japanese doll houses and other eccentric art pieces. Considering how rich Huguette was, most people know nothing about her, with many (myself included) never even having heard of her name before.

Empty Mansions even claims that there is no available photo of Huguette for the last 50+ years or so of her life. For the last 20 years of her life, Huguette chose to live in a hospital, even though she had been cleared to be discharged many years prior. In her last years, she gave extravagant gifts to her caretakers (her main caretaker received over $30 million in gifts) and people who surrounded her. Empty Mansions goes into detail about her extraordinary spending habits and how even with hundreds of millions of dollars she sometimes found herself in tight money situations. All in all, Empty Mansions is an interesting read because you get to learn all the details of Huguette Clark’s life, a true elite who you have likely never heard of before.

Empty Mansions Recommendation Rating: 3

This post has now been updated to reflect a new ratings system that I have implemented, which is scored as follows:

1: Something worth checking out if you have time

2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone

3: Something worth prioritizing if interested

4: Something worth making time to check out

5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for


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