This story has it all: adultery, thievery, greed, love, insanity, government corruption, and some highly unusual deaths ... Standiford shows [the main characters] in vivid detail, sometimes wicked and other times pathetic ... Les Standiford has created quite a ride for the reader, from pioneers to posh estates to presidents. It is highly recommended.
Les Standiford tells the fascinating story of how the mansion-turned-club, and the unusual community that surrounds it, came to be ... Standiford weaves together dishy tales of...significant figures in Palm Beach society ... Who knows whether Mar-a-Lago will meet the same fate as the Xanadu the author compares it to in his title. But it’s above water for now, and Standiford does a fine job of telling its story so far.
Les Standiford’s book is a once-over-brightly jog through the history of Palm Beach. Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago and the Rise of America’s Xanadu has only two flaws. First, Mr. Standiford never introduces the reader to Johnnie Brown. Second, for most of the first 100 pages he rehashes material from Last Train to Paradise (2002), his definitive life of Henry Flagler, one of two men who made modern Florida possible ... Once the enfeebled Flagler meets his maker by falling down marble steps at his Palm Beach mansion, the book takes off.