Read Last of the Old Guard by Louis Auchincloss Online


The American master Louis Auchincloss offers an intimate look behind the closed doors of a prominent New York law firm.Nearing the end of his days, Adrian Suydam, half the partnership of the law firm of Suydam & Saunders, reflects on his lifelong friendship and business relationship with Ernest Saunders, a tragic and complicated man incapable of properly loving anyone.The American master Louis Auchincloss offers an intimate look behind the closed doors of a prominent New York law firm.Nearing the end of his days, Adrian Suydam, half the partnership of the law firm of Suydam & Saunders, reflects on his lifelong friendship and business relationship with Ernest Saunders, a tragic and complicated man incapable of properly loving anyone. In this perceptive novel, set against the backdrop of old New York, Auchincloss exposes the temptations and vicissitudes that thrust his characters toward unforeseen fates. Drawing on his career as a wills-and-trusts attorney, Auchincloss elegantly brings to life a stratum of society that few have seen. Through interwoven tales of family members, clients, and such notables as Teddy Roosevelt and the Astors, readers get an insider’s look at a secretive world. Touching, comical, and erudite, Last of the Old Guard is both a revealing history of a high-profile law firm and an intimate portrait of a poignant friendship between two men....

Title : Last of the Old Guard
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780547152752
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Last of the Old Guard Reviews

  • Jacob
    2019-12-07 15:09

    January 2013The death of my famous law partner, Ernest Saunders, my lifelong friend and exact contemporary, two years ago, in 1942, at the age of eighty-four, has left me the prey, not only of a peculiar loneliness, the perverse kind that waits on one who is still surrounded by a persistently friendly world, but also the kind that is flooded by the ungovernable tide of mixed reminiscence that inundates the emptiness of old age.(Last of the Old Guard, p. 1)Ahhhh, that's the stuff.That Auchincloss, man, he writes some fine sentences. Well-crafted lines. Lovely paragraphs. Finely polished, top-notch short stories. Novels? Hmm. I'll have to get back to you on that.Adrian Suydam, childhood friend of Theodore Roosevelt, is the slightly-lesser half of the great New York law firm Saunders & Suydam. Some years ago he wrote the official history of the firm, a fine privately-printed book "resting unread in the library of every large New York firm...consulted only by lawyers checking the index to see if they are mentioned." But that was the safe, noncontroversial side of the story. Now, after the death of Ernest Saunders--with his posthumous blessings, as well as family accounts, client anecdotes, and his own long memory--Adrian Suydam has set out to tell the true story of his great friend and partner-in-law, warts and all. Who was Ernest Saunders, really? This one just might tell.Last of the Old Guard is the last novel Louis Auchincloss wrote--and the first I've read, so far. I cut my teeth on his short stories, and this is the first time I've strayed into his longer fiction. So my opinion and rating are a bit biased, I'm afraid. It seemed a tad overlong--and compared to any of his short stories, it certainly was. I'm more accustomed to Auchincloss's 20-30 page character studies than his 200+ page ones; I'm more used to quick glimpses of the worlds of wealth and privilege he usually offers than the long tour he gives us here. But that's just me. This novel is still classic Louis Auchincloss: dry, full of wit, dull-yet-fascinating at the same time, full of people of a certain class in certain situations I would never consider reading by most other authors, and always that fine, fine writing, man. If it seems a bit long, that's mostly my fault for sticking closely to Auchincloss's stories while neglecting to read his novels as well. But the man wrote plenty of both, so there are still many stories, of all lengths, left to explore.More by AuchinclossThe Young Apollo and Other StoriesManhattan MonologuesThe Atonement and Other StoriesThe Anniversary and Other StoriesThree LivesThe Friend of Women and Other Stories

  • Josh Friedlander
    2019-11-09 15:57

    This came out in 2008, which is amazing, because that makes it like, a late, late, late Edith Wharton novel. Obviously, I love it.

  • Tara
    2019-11-25 19:00

    If you're the kind of reader who enjoys delving in the private affairs of the moneyed elite, you're probably already a fan of the works of Evelyn Waugh, Edith Wharton and Henry James. For me, the central charm of Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited" lay in my opportunity to join Charles Ryder as he burrowed into the mysteries and complexities of the rarefied lifestyle enjoyed (and suffered) by his fellow Oxford student, Sebastian Flyte. I shared Ryder's ambivalent fascination as he explored the Flyte family's grand halls, refined mannerisms, and indiscretions. The works of Edith Wharton (The House of Mirth, The Buccaneers), Henry James (The Bostonians, Portrait of a Lady), and, in a more contemporary vein, Dominick Dunne (People Like Us, Fatal Charms) provide similar fly-on-the-gilded-wall experiences for their readers.If you like this sort of thing and haven't discovered Louis Auchincloss, you have a treasure trove awaiting you. Auchincloss, a Manhattan native of the Upper East Side set, is well situated to tell tales about the moneyed and Mayflowered. He was born in 1917 to a wealthy family ("We were not as rich as the Rockefellers or Mellons, but we were rich enough to know how rich they were"). A Groton and Yale alumnus who retired from the white-shoe law firm of Hawkins, Delafield and Wood in 1986, he currently occupies a three-bedroom top-floor apartment on Park Avenue. His literary output is astonishing -- over sixty books and counting, most of which were written during his 30-odd year career as a fully employed attorney. His most recent novel, Last of the Old Guard, follows only one year after his previous book, "The Headmaster's Dilemma," a favorite of mine which I briefly reviewed in my 4/7/08 blog. Last of the Old Guard is a penetrating character study of two founding partners of a New York law firm formed during the turn of the century. The story is narrated by the surviving partner, Adrian Suydam, upon the death of his best friend and law firm co-founder, Ernest Saunders. Suydam's painstaking exposition of Saunders' strengths and foibles reveals as much about Suydam and it does about Saunders. In his attempt to accurately express the core of Saunder's personality and define Saunder's ultimate legacy to his family, profession, and community, Suydam (and Auchincloss?) projects his own values and beliefs with understated skill.The Last of the Old Guard is a quiet little book. If you're looking for a flashy page-turner, look elsewhere. If you're seeking an honest exposition of the inner thoughts and motivations of a rare and dying breed, however, it's invaluable. It's all there: personal tragedy, children that disappoint, cool-headed marital bargains, law firm maneuvering, conflicting loyalties, a sense of duty, defense of honor, the triumph of pragmatism over passion (and sometimes not!), man-to-man chats over brandy and cigars, and an overarching conviction that one's life can actually make a difference to an entire country. Sound interesting? Settle down into a leather club chair, put your feet up on a tufted ottoman, and read this book (if you're an avid fan of this kind of novel, I'm betting you already have these items of furniture in your home).If you're going to read only one Auchincloss book, many readers suggest The Rector of Justin, a "school book" in the lighter vein of The Headmaster's Dilemma. It is considered by some to be Auchincloss's greatest (and most entertaining) book.

  • Thom Dunn
    2019-12-08 18:13

    His last novel. Draws on his experience with the law in depicting Old New York. Novel takes place in 1942, with Narrator in his 80s recalling his friendship with Teddy Roosevelt and other major figures of the time, (Auchincloss himself, as a child, knew Roosevelt personally . If you like Edith Wharton, this is a good place to start with a writer who revered her as a role model.

  • Bev
    2019-11-24 18:57

    I thought this a very good read with an interesting look at old New York

  • Jeanne
    2019-11-15 16:55

    Adrian Suydam is the last of the old guard. He is also the narrator of our story, the story of Ernest Saunders. While telling the story of his legendary law partner, Adrian also tells us the story of his life. Both men were lawyers in old New York. Heck, Adrian even knew Teddy Roosevelt. With the help of memos from other characters, Adrian describes New York society, status, history, law, friendship, business, and family. While slim (212 pages), this novel is full of beautiful prose and complex and interesting characters.

  • Mary BethWilliams
    2019-11-15 18:14

    Not a "great" read but certainly a very satisfying one. Louis Auchincloss paints detailed picture of a former time (early 1900's) through the lens of the New York upper class. Specifically, this story reflects the interwoven lives of 2 friends who together build a successful law partnership. My aunt is in her late 80's and sent me this copy of "Last of the Old Guard" after she finished reading it. Now i will enjoy talking with her and getting her perspective about this time period and the references to early 20th century characters, politicians and artists in this book.

  • Linda
    2019-12-07 12:49

    Really old man writes a book about a really old man writing about the life of a really old man. But really, it is interesting, and he, the author, was really a boyhood friend of Theodore Roosevelt, who is afriend of the man he writes about in this book also. What can I say, I loved it. Terrific writing about an intriguing part of history of this country. A glimpse into the emotional lives of rich, aristocratic men.

  • Darlene
    2019-12-07 21:11

    Saunders & Suydam, law partners between 1880s-1940s, of old money, second generation New York City stock. This was an engrossing novel set in the history and politics and rising industrialism of the time as mores and manners shape relationships. Auchincloss, author of more than 60 books, has been honored as a Living Legend for his literary legacy. I encourage everyone to take at least one sip of his masterful depictions of high-end society.

  • Sue
    2019-12-02 17:01

    Lawyer Adrian Suydam explores the personality of his law partner and best friend Ernest Saunders in this leisurely-paced character study. Adrian and Ernest meet as students, form a successful New York City law firm, and remain staunch friends until Ernest’s death in 1942 at the age of 84. Details of a past era of privilege are skillfully woven throughout the story of two friends sharing their professional and personal lives.

  • Josiah
    2019-12-05 13:49

    Plot: CWriting: CVocabulary: CLevel: EasyRating: PG13Worldview: Do good - to oneself most of all.A narrative history of the powerful New York City lawfirm of Saunders & Suydam told from the perspective of the dying Suydam himself as he looks back over his life and that of his partner Saunders, recounting anecdotes. It's rather a dry read, and would only be of interest to history buffs.

  • Karen
    2019-12-02 16:03

    Takes place in 1883 New York...2 best friends become high powered attorneys. The story is told by one of the friends and deals somewhat in each of their families but the book is mostly about the two partners relationship. I stuck with it because of the time period in New York City. Short read, 212 pages, but not sure I would recommend it.

  • Racquel
    2019-12-03 21:03

    Auchincloss can always be relied upon for precise, beautifully-grammatical prose, but this book was something of a disappointment. The players were not sufficiently fleshed-out for a character study and the plot was nonexistent.

  • Raully
    2019-11-29 20:12

    Read while at my mother's wedding rehearsal. In retrospect: an odd choice.

  • Paddy
    2019-11-20 13:56

    Boring pastiche. Read others among his many novels.

  • Bookmarks Magazine
    2019-11-19 21:09

    Citing his subject matter

  • Shannan
    2019-11-11 20:53

    Not so nice picture of what happens behind closed doors of the very rich and upper class in New York City in the 1800's. I liked it.

  • Jude
    2019-11-09 15:53

    Loved Mr. Auchincloss since high school. Good read about times past.

  • Dianne
    2019-11-14 14:05

    Hard to stick with this story that is a reflection of the life of a retired attorney when the world was ruled by men.