Various Non-Fiction Books About the Hamptons
These are not, by any means, all of them but I am starting with the books I have collected in my own library over the years. I am starting with my favorites and I’ll put the rest in alphabetical order by title.
Sylvia’s Favorite Non-Fiction Books
Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons by Steven Gaines
Philistines at the Hedgerow is a mesmerizing feat of storytelling – a book that takes us behind the private hedges and rolling sand dunes and brings vivid life to the curious passions and personalities that animate the Hamptons. Steven Gaines introduces a host of colorful characters including Jackson Pollock, Ron Perelman, Lauren Bacall, and the Bouvier Beales of Grey Gardens infamy.
The South Fork – The Land and the People of Eastern Long Island by Everett T. Rattray
This is the story of the geological factors that have made the area so rich in soil and varied in country; and the people who have shaped it too (including anecdotes about family and friends not found in your average scientific treatise!).
Men’s Lives: The Surfmen and Baymen of the South Fork by Peter Matthiessen
An eloquent portrayal of the disappearing way of life of the Long Island fishermen whose voices – humorous, bitter, and bewildered – are as clear as the threatened beauty of their once quiet shore. A Limited Edition Boxed Set includes a volume of black and white photographs by Doug Kuntz, Dan Budnik, Martine Franck, Jean Gaumy, Evelyn Hofer, Lynn Johnson, Danny Lyon and Gilles Peress curated by Adelaide de Menil. I am lucky enough to own #506.
In the Hamptons: My Fifty Years with Farmers, Fishermen, Artists, Billionaires and Celebrities by Dan Rattiner (of Dan’s Papers fame!)
This colorful insider’s account of life, love, scandal, and celebrity In the Hamptons is an intimate portrait of a place and the people who formed and transformed it. From former residents like Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning, to colorful locals like bar owner Bobby Van and shark fisherman Frank Mundus (on whom the character Quinn in Jaws was based), literary figures like John Steinbeck and Truman Capote, and present-day stars like Bianca Jagger and Billy Joel.
In the Hamptons Too: Further Encounters with Farmers, Fishermen, Artists, Billionaires and Celebrities by Dan Rattiner
Rattiner continues to regale us with tales of the people who live, work, and play in one of America’s best-known summer colonies, ranging from colorful locals like former East Hampton Town Supervisor Richard T. Gilmartin and marine patrol policeman Ralph George, to more well-known figures like Kurt Vonnegut, Betty Friedan, Alger Hiss, and Martha Stewart. Sometimes amused, sometimes appalled, but always observant, Rattiner tells these stories of the Hamptons as only he can tell them: with dry wit, unassuming language, and as keen an awareness of his own quirks and foibles as he is those of his fellow human beings.
Still in the Hamptons: More Tales of the Rich, the Famous, and the Rest of Us by Dan Rattiner
More encounters with sometimes rich, sometimes famous, but always quirky residents of the Hamptons, by the editor and publishers of Dan’s Papers.
Hamptons Bohemia: Two Centuries of Artists and Writers on the Beach by Helen A. Harrison & Constance Ayers Denne
For more than two centuries, the Hamptons have been home to a vibrant community of artists and writers, lured by the golden dunes, refreshing breezes, radiant landscapes, and frequent visits from the Muse.
Men’s Lives, Limited Edition
Not quite favorites – but still great!
The Big Book of the Hamptons Introduction by Michael Shnayerson
I was asked by Assouline, the glam publisher of high-society coffee-table books, to write an essay that would accompany a picture book to be called “The Big Book of the Hamptons.” It was fun, because they let me write what I felt about the Hamptons, my home off and on for much of my 60 years. Like anyone who’s lived out east for a long time, there is much to rail about and criticize now: the endless onslaught of hedge funders in fancy cars building mega-mansions on once-quiet country lanes. But somehow the Hamptons manages to absorb them all without losing its innate beauty. I couldn’t help but be struck by an irony, when I first saw the book. Instead of the three years I usually spend on a book, I had spent a week or so writing the essay that introduced the pictures that followed. Yet it was the heaviest book I’d ever published! At least eight or ten pounds! And with a very, very orange cover. Possibly the orangest book cover ever created.
Bridgehampton Racing: From the Streets to the Bridge by Joel E. Finn
Bridgehampton saw street racing in the fifties and ended as a purpose built racing circuit in the seventies. It saw most of the great cars and drivers from the Golden Age of US sports car racing. Racing historian Finn’s heavily illustrated history is fascinating stuff for anybody interested in this era. Highly recommended.
de Kooning: An American Master (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize) by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan
Willem de Kooning is one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, a true “painter’s painter” whose protean work continues to inspire many artists. In the thirties and forties, along with Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock, he became a key figure in the revolutionary American movement of abstract expressionism.
de Kooning’s Bicycle: Artists and Writers in the Hamptons by Robert Long
Some of the twentieth century’s most important artists and writers – from Jackson Pollock to Saul Steinberg, Frank O’Hara to Jean Stafford – lived and worked on the East End of Long Island years before it assumed an alternate identity as the Hamptons. The homes they made there, and its effect on their work, is the subject of these searching, lyrical vignettes by the critic and poet Robert Long.
East Hampton Invents the Culture of Summer: The Legacy of the Woodhouse Family of Huntting Lane by Ellen R. Samuels, Robert A. M. Stern, Margaret Stocker, Enez Whipple
This record of the remarkable Woodhouse family and its enduring contributions to the Village of East Hampton brings into focus many of the factors that shaped East Hampton as we know it today. It explores the history of several generations of one family, and the complex coastal community that welcomed them.
East Hampton’s Heritage – An Illustrated Architectural Record by Clay Lancaster, Robert A. M. Stern & Robert Hefner
The Village of East Hampton on the Atlantic shore of Long island is a showcase of architectural styles of the last three centuries – influenced by rural New England and shaped by urban New York.
From Sea to Sea: 350 Years of East Hampton History by Averill Dayton Geus
This book is truly an epic illustrated chronicle of one of our nation’s most unusual towns.
Hamptons Babylon: Life among the Super-Rich on America’s Riviera by Peter Fearon
A history of celebrity life along Long Island’s seaside resort tells a story of greed, sex, drugs, and murder where the other half lives it up.
Hamptons Gardens: a 350 – Year Legacy by John Esten
Wander through the Hampton gardens designed by Charles McKim, Marion Cruger Coffin, Alfonso Ossorio, Robert Dash, Edward Albee, and Jack Lenor Larsen in previously unpublished paintings, vintage photographs, and sumptuous new photography.
Hamptons Havens: The Best of Hamptons Cottages & Gardens by The Editors of Hamptons Cottages & Gardens
Hamptons Havens offers readers a glimpse behind the hedgerows of the Hamptons on Long Island NY.
Hamptons Pleasures by Susan Meisel & Ellen Harris
Capturing the stunning beauty of the famous Hamptons through fabulous full-color photographs and evocative text, the authors of The Hamptons: Life Behind the Hedges return to the place that never fails to inspire and charm its visitors.
Images of America: East Hampton by John W. Rae, East Hampton Library
As early as 1895, seeking to avoid the summer heat of the city, well-to-do executives, heirs and heiresses of family fortunes, bankers, artists, and others began to flock to the bucolic countryside of East Hampton. This influx began the second phase of development of East Hampton. Behind it lay the village’s colonial heritage and ahead lay the estates and condominium subdivisions of today.
Imagining the Past: East Hampton Histories by T. H. Breen
How we make history—and what we then make of it—is engagingly dramatized in T. H. Breen’s portrait of a 350-year-old American community faced with the costs of its “progress.” In the particulars of one town’s struggle to check development and save its natural environment, Breen shows how our sense of history reflects our ever-changing self-perceptions and hopes for the future.
Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Keishin Armstrong
A behind-the-scenes look at the comedic genius of Larry David and East Hampton resident Jerry Seinfeld.
Studios By The Sea: Artists of Long Island’s East End by Bob Colacell & Jonathan Becher
A tour of the renovated barns, split-shingled cottages, and minimalist mansions of Long Island’s East End artist colony features the homes of such prominent painters and sculptors as Larry Rivers, John Chamberland, April Gornik, Chuck Close, and David Salle. (2002)
The East Hampton Historical Collection: Volume 1 – Awakening the Past by Tom Twomey, Editor
The East Hampton 350th Anniversary Lecture Series 1998
The East Hampton Historical Collection: Volume 2 – Tracing the Past by Tom Twomey, Editor
Writings of Henry P. Hedges, 1817 – 1911, Relating to the History of the East End
The East Hampton Historical Collection: Volume 3 – Exploring the Past by Tom Twomey, Editor
Writings from 1798 to 1896 Relating to the History of the Town of East Hampton
The East Hampton Historical Collection: Volume 4 – Discovering the Past by Tom Twomey, Editor
The Writings of Jeannette Edwards Rattray, 1893 – 1974, Relating to the History of the Town of East Hampton
The East Hampton Historical Collection: Volume 5 – The Story of Montauk and Gardiner’s Island by Tom Twomey, Editor
The story begins in 1637 with the role of early English settler Lion Gardiner and his role in the founding of the Town of East Hampton. Many previous histories of East Hampton argue that the Town was settled by farmers from Connecticut, Massachusetts and England searching for religious freedom. To the contrary, the origins of the Town can be traced to the massacre of the Pequot tribe in Connecticut, the ensuing lucrative wampum trade with the Indians, and the fierce English competition with the mighty Dutch Empire over the fur trade. Instead of a life of agrarian and religious tranquility, the first settlers of the Town lived in an atmosphere of anxiety, fear, and even violence.
The End of the Hamptons: Scenes from the Class Struggle in America’s Paradise by Corey Dolgon
In this absorbing account of New York’s famous vacation playground, Corey Dolgon goes beyond the celebrity tales and polo games to tell us the story of this complex and contentious land.
The Great Hurricane: 1938 by Cherie Burns
A spellbinding hour-by-hour reconstruction of one of the most destructive and powerful storms ever to hit the United States. With riveting detail, Burns weaves together the countless personal stories of loved ones lost and lives changed forever — from those of the Moore family, washed to sea on a raft formerly their attic floor, to Katharine Hepburn, holed up in her Connecticut mansion, watching her car take to the air like a shred of paper.
The Hamptons: Life behind the Hedges by Susan Meisel & Ellen Harris
A tour of the private homes, wonderful gardens, and natural attractions of a popular resort area of Long Island offers 200 color photographs that capture the architectural and design diversity of the Hamptons, a long-time refuge of the rich and artistic. Country Homes & Gardens. Architects and Designers.
The Houses of the Hamptons by Paul Goldberger, Photographs by Ted Brickford
A celebration and survey of the world’s most remarkable array of great modern houses.
The Lost Hamptons (Postcard History Series) by Steven Petrow with Richard Barons
This collection of vintage postcards portrays the quiet villages, white sand beaches, historic homes, and private lined lanes that are the essence of Long Island’s Hamptons. Stunning in their color, detail, and composition, these cards-originally photographs-depict a place and a way of life that has all but disappeared.
The Springs in the Old Days: An Eastern Long Island Town by Ferris G. Talmage
To get ourselves in the right frame of mind for this story, let’s imagine ourselves walking on a beach at Fire Place with our worldly goods in a bag or box after a long voyage across the Sound by sailing ship, not knowing what the next step might bring… The courage to land on unknown, uncharted, and perhaps unwelcoming shores – a persecuted and prosecuted people…
To a Violent Grave: An Oral Biography of Jackson Pollack by Jeffrey Potter
In a thousand dazzling images conjured by his immediate family and closest friends, Jackson Pollock, the spectacularly self-destructive and gifted American painter, comes to life in this fascinating oral biography assembled and written by his friend and East Hampton neighbor, Jeffrey Potter.
Up and Down Main Street: An Informal History of East Hampton and Its Old Houses by Jeannette Edwards Rattray
Based on a portion of an 1855 Suffolk County Map which shows East Hampton’s Main Street and vicinity with names of householders and businessmen of the time, the former editor of the East Hampton Star, weaves a detailed and spirited history of the village and its people.
Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons by Alistair Gordon
This engrossing book combines architectural history with a broad social perspective and paints a comprehensive picture of an area that in many ways shaped modern American culture.
More Non-Fiction Books About the Hamptons!
And if you finish all of these, tune in to my next Reading List Blog. Shall I go to Fiction next? The Classics written by the great Hamptons Authors or trashy beach reading? Art & Photography Books? Let me know what you would like to see.
Gary will take care of Cookbooks!
Until then, happy reading! And if you write a good book review I might just post it. Call us or email us to book your stay.