The Magnificent Ambersons: The Original 1918 Edition


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Winner of the 1919 Pulitzer Prize, Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons is a grand historical drama and social history of the United States that follows the story of the Amberson family’s financial decline at the start of the Industrial Age.

Once upon a time in a small―but upscale―Indianapolis town, an American family built a dynasty. For generations, the Ambersons stood unchallenged as the most prominent and powerful family in the region until the turn of the century and the coming of the industrialists. The Ambersons, now centered on the patriarch’s grandson, George, enter a previously unheard of time in which their family name holds little value. Unable or perhaps unwilling to change, George experiences first hand why doing things is better than simply being things. Professionally typeset with a beautifully designed cover, this edition of The Magnificent Ambersons is a classic of American literature, reimagined for modern readers.


The Magnificent Ambersons, written by Booth Tarkington in 1918, tells the story of a wealthy family and their decline in society during the late 19th century as America underwent significant industrial and societal changes. The novel centers around the character of George Amberson Minafer, the spoiled and arrogant grandson of the family patriarch, and his relationships with the other members of the family and his community as they adjust to the changing times. The novel is a commentary on the loss of traditional values and the impact of progress on American society. It was a best-seller at the time of its publication and was later adapted into a film directed by Orson Welles.


About the Author

Booth Tarkington (1869 – 1946) was an American novelist and dramatist, known for most of his career as “The Midwesterner.” Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Tarkington was a personable and charming student who studied at both Purdue and Princeton University. Earning no degrees, the young author cemented his memory and place in the society of higher education on his popularity alone―being familiar with several clubs, the college theater and voted “most popular” in the class of 1893. His writing career began just six years later with his debut novel, The Gentleman from Indiana and from there, Tarkington would enjoy two decades of critical and commercial acclaim. Coming to be known for his romanticized and picturesque depiction of the Midwest, he would become one of only four authors to win the Pulitzer Prize more than once for The Magnificent Ambersons (1918) and Alice Adams (1921), at one point being considered America’s greatest living author, comparable only to Mark Twain. While in the later half of the twentieth century Tarkington’s work fell into obscurity, it is undeniable that at the height of his career, Tarkington’s literary work and reputation were untouchable.

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