Archie Douglas and Ellie Reed, two children of the American dream, met at a cocktail party in a New York town house in the fall of 1937. He was a Wall Street broker, the son of an heiress, handsome, trust-funded, Yale-educated, a young man with his future on a plate. She was buoyant, beautiful, Social Registered, a fashion model for whom life was a party that never ran down. Their marriage began with a honeymoon in Cuba and ended with her suicide in New York. The thirteen years between were an endless gaudy whirl of glitter and gaiety, hurtling closer by the year to the perils that underlay it: alcoholism, debauchery, and abuse. The son of that marriage, the author, whose last memory of his mother was finding her dead, resurrects those years. Drawing on his own memories and those of others, as well as a wealth of records, diaries, letters, and keepsakes, Geoffrey Douglas offers a vision of corrupted privilege as haunting and personal as it is well wrought. In today's rootless climate, with the loss of "family values" being mourned from every pulpit in the land, the message of Class - that even among the "chosen," a family without love is a family without hope - should strike a chord in every husband, wife, or parent who has ever faced failure and sought a better way. This is the story of the wreckage of a family told from its beginnings: from the making of a nineteenth-century copper fortune, through the nannies, trust funds, and private schools that it bought, to its final awful end. Class is a tale of waste and loss that fills every page with the passions of its teller. It is a story superbly told by a writer of exceptional talent, a story of old money gone bad. An American tragedy.