In the late 19th century, Newport, Rhode Island, was a cauldron of money, excess, and unapologetic greed, where reputations were made and lost in a whirlwind of parties and fancied slights. But amid the glamour of yacht races, tennis matches, and costume balls raged undeclared class warfare, scandalous doings, even madness.
In 1893, railroad mogul Sam Driver, one of the few surviving robber barons of the lawless years after the Civil War, knocks on the door of fabled Newport with his daughter, Jenny, determined not to be turned away. In the past, his "new money" was tainted by his rapacious reputation, and even now, an enemy with a pedigree of wealth and position vows to slam every door in Sam's face. But he is determined to win a place in the strange, rarefied world of Newport's brief summer season, presided over by social gadflies Ward McAllister and the androgynous Harry Lehr, both of whom will assist the Drivers...for a price.
The Gods of Newport brings this gilded age of excess to thrilling life. It was a time and place whose extremes of greed, conspicuous consumption, and social striving have an astonishing resonance and relevance for the America we see around us today.