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Golden Boy: A Murder Among the Manhattan Elite Kindle Edition
In Golden Boy, New York Times bestselling author John Glatt tells the true story of Thomas Gilbert Jr., the handsome and charming New York socialite accused of murdering his father, a Manhattan millionaire and hedge fund founder.
By all accounts, Thomas Gilbert Jr. led a charmed life. The son of a wealthy financier, he grew up surrounded by a loving family and all the luxury an Upper East Side childhood could provide: education at the elite Buckley School and Deerfield Academy, summers in a sprawling seaside mansion in the Hamptons. With his striking good lucks, he moved with ease through glittering social circles and followed in his father’s footsteps to Princeton.
But Tommy always felt different. The cracks in his façade began to show in warning signs of OCD, increasing paranoia, and—most troubling—an inexplicable hatred of his father. As his parents begged him to seek psychiatric help, Tommy pushed back by self-medicating with drugs and escalating violence. When a fire destroyed his former best friend’s Hamptons home, Tommy was the prime suspect—but he was never charged. Just months later, he arrived at his parents’ apartment, calmly asked his mother to leave, and shot his father point-blank in the head.
Journalist John Glatt takes an in-depth look at the devastating crime that rocked Manhattan’s upper class. With exclusive access to sources close to Tommy, including his own mother, Glatt constructs the agonizing spiral of mental illness that led Thomas Gilbert Jr. to the ultimate unspeakable act.
“Piercing … add this one to your beach bag.” –People Magazine
“An in-depth look at an act that shocked the city’s elite.” –New York Post, “Best Books of 2021”
“Glatt is a balanced narrator of this story; though it would be easy to dismiss Gilbert as a privileged man-child protected by wealth and connections, the author also examines how complicated mental illness diagnoses can be, even for people with access to doctors and treatments….A tragic character study at the intersection of wealth, privilege, and mental illness, told with empathy.” ― Library Journal
“True crime fans will find this a compelling read.” ―Booklist
"Glatt shares alarming revelations about the state of the mental health system, where psychiatrists are largely powerless to intervene even when they see serious psychological issues that could result in harm to the patient or others. This is must reading for true crime enthusiasts who prize depth over salaciousness." --Publishers Weekly
"Glatt expertly interweaves the issues of mental health and privilege... by thorough investigative research and empathy for all involved, [he] has managed to present these complicated matters in an intriguing, enthralling narrative." --Criminal Element
About the Author
Born and raised in Southampton, England, Shaun Grindell is an accomplished actor who trained at the Calland School of Speech and Drama and the Lee Strasberg Actors Institute in London. An AudioFile Earphones Award-winning audiobook narrator, Shaun has narrated many titles in different genres. --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B08FZ8W12F
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press (July 20, 2021)
- Publication date : July 20, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 17829 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 311 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #54,098 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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John Glatt owes Graydon Carter of AIR MAIL a huge thank you for publishing excerpts of this book in a recent issue. I would never have known about it had I not read it on Carter's site.
Yes, living in Manhattan, I knew about this story. Who didn't? His super handsome face was front page on all the local NYC papers and TV news. We couldn't get enough of the senseless murder of a father by a son. Sadly, much of what we have already read is covered in this book.This book is for readers outside NY State where children aren't as entitled, spoiled & enabled by their parents.
Golden Boy reads like an episode of The Dr. Phil Show where he spotlights kids who are driving their parents up the wall and turning them into drug addicts and alcoholics trying to understand why the once adorable tots are now raging teens.
Tom's parents, Shelley and Tom, Sr. come off as clueless and talk a lot about getting Tommy real help with his mental health issues but, in reality, only throw money at the problem. Then, it's way too late when Tommy puts a Glock to his father's head and pulls the trigger while mom is out getting her son a sandwich and a Coke. She returns to her expensive apartment to find her son gone and her husband lying on the floor dead. During the 9-1-1 call she mentions to the Dispatcher that her son just killed her husband. And, when the NYPD take her to the church where her daughter is for Sunday services, she rushes to the front of the church screaming, "Tommy just shot and killed your dad!" Needless to say, chaos ensues and the fragile daughter becomes hysterical and has to be taken from the church by the Cops. There is nothing subtle about this family, it appears.
While I never heard of the Gilbert family, certain Upper East Side (The rich section of NYC) certainly have. The Wall Street crowd know who they are. To my knowledge, they don't appear to be PAGE SIX material. If son Tom did not have such a crippling mental illness, perhaps he would be quite the catch. Over six feet tall, muscular, grad of Princeton and other posh schools, he had a super bright future ahead of him. His grandfather & father were greatly respected and very successful in their fields of finance. High hopes for son, Tommy. Only one problem: Tommy didn't want to get a job and work for a living. Why should he when his parents paid his rent, shrink bills, traffic tickets, lawyers, trips to the Caribbean, fun in the Hamptons. When his dad cut his allowance (Tom was 30 at the time of the murder) a 100 dollars or so, it was the match to the fuse. His friends and girlfriends watched him come unglued but could not stop this runaway train. No one was surprised when Tommy offed his dad. Sadly.
The book skims his life at the end with as much personal detail as Glatt could muster from trial transcripts and interviews with various people in Tom's life at the time. When he had a falling out with a previous friend and burned down his family's 200 year old home, that should have been sufficient to have Tommy bundled off to a private mental asylum. The former friend and his family could not prove it was Tommy who burned the home to the ground. Really?! If they had pressed charges and had him arrested his father would not be dead and this book would not be necessary.
Twenty years ago this book would be a must-read. That said, there are so many men and women who are murdering their wives and children, wiping out entire families, that this murder doesn't really cause much more than a ripple on the pond. Of course if this son was a household name and part of a distinguished old family it would have been a tsunami of gossip.
The trial is covered extensively as Tom plays mind games with the judge and jury. One day he attends the trial, other days he refuses to leave his cell. In the end, who cares? I certainly don't. This story is going to end with a guilty verdict. Period. And it does. Tommy will be in his 60's when he is released. I will be long gone.
What the book does NOT tell you is what, exactly, caused Thomas Gilbert, Jr.'s severe mental illness. Drugs? Heredity? A football injury to his head? We are left dangling looking for closure but we don't get it. Mr. Glatt was unable to access Tommy's charts in prison.
His mother and sister can't visit him because the prison is in upstate NY and too far to travel to at his mother's age. She did make the trip but Tom refused to see her. He has no visitors although one of his former girlfriends keeps in touch.
As I read the Epilogue, I felt no emotion for any of the main characters. His mother and father were weak and unable to cope with their child's deterioration. Tommy does not elicit one iota of sympathy. This is a story about shallow, typical Ivy League parents who can't seem to cope with adversity. I would have liked more photos of the family. It isn't slap-dash quality, but it could have been much stronger in many ways. I am sure Mr. Glatt will make a fortune off the book and surely a movie can't be far behind.
His approach is to tell a story in a dispassionate, clinical fashion.
That works well when the topic is so horrific that a "just the facts, ma'am" approach is effective, as for "Secrets in the Cellar", the case of the Austrian man who kept his own daughter as a sex slave in the basement for nearly 30 years.
This case isn't nearly that appalling. "Crazy (or maybe not) son murders father" is literally everyday news. (Google "son murders father" if you don't believe me.)
The only thing that makes it special is that the son went to Princeton, which keeps getting repeated over and over and OVER, as though having an upperclass education somehow protected one from mental illness or violence.
More to the point, despite the years of effort Glatt says he put into the book, he missed two obvious (and incredibly important) angles.
Despite his recitation of the facts (and did we mention that Tom Jr. went to Princeton?), Glatt fails to dig deep enough into two items that seem to be both compelling and important.
First is that Tom Sr. is nowhere close to being as rich as he's described as being. Halfway through the book Glatt mentions in a cavalier way that Tom's older brother, Beck, paid Junior's college tuition (which was at Princeton, did we mention that?).
Why? That makes absolutely no sense, if Senior was "worth $200 million", as Glatt mentions elsewhere. And that was over a decade BEFORE Senior's financial troubles caused him to cut back Junior's allowance.
Reading between the lines, it appears that Senior was a fraud and a fake, skilled in putting on the pretense of riches without having the reality to back it up (where have we seen that before in a famous New Yorker?).
His net worth at the time of his death was a paltry $555,000--despite having just sold a house with a $4 million mortgage for $9.5 million.
I may be no financial genius, but by my math Senior should have netted anywhere from $4 million to $5.5 million from that sale alone (depending on how much New York State takes off the top for taxes and sundry fees). That means he was millions of dollars in debt (other than the house) by the time he died--and his financial difficulties had been present for at least a dozen years, given that his brother had to pay his son's tuition.
Yet during that period, Senior started not one but two hedge funds (if my memory holds), and succeeded in getting at least enough investment that he had $7.5 million assets under management. That's actually NOTHING in the world of hedge funds, but it does mean that a person or people trusted him enough to give him $7.5 million to invest--even though the guy couldn't pay his own son's tuition.
So Senior and presumably his wife were EXTREMELY good at faking things and putting on appearances--something that might have factored into the psychological profile of their son. And, something Glatt should have explored far more thoroughly.
Second, there's the case of Lila Chase, Tom Junior's long-time girlfriend (and interestingly but irrelevantly, the niece of Chevy Chase). Why did she stand by Tom Junior so steadfastly, even after their romance ended and at significant cost (in terms of time and energy) to herself?
Glatt just glosses right over this, as though it's perfectly normal for an ex-girlfriend to devote large amounts of time and energy for years after the relationship has ended to someone who behaves horribly to almost everyone, herself included.
Chase seems wise and grounded, and usually wise, grounded people figure out after a while when their efforts are useless. What drove her to stick by Tom, even though she had figured out early on that he was mentally ill?
Was it something in her makeup, or something in Tom's personality (which otherwise appears to be ugly, petty, and nasty even when he isn't outright nuts)?
This is an important question and one that Glatt doesn't even acknowledge, let alone address.
Finally--and this might just be me--it's hard to read this without imagining what would have happened had Tom been a poor Black high-school dropout instead of a rich White college (and did we mention PRINCETON?) grad. The trial would have lasted a week instead of four years, and Tom would have been hustled off to prison in a hurry.
It's hard to escape the conclusion that the entire premise of this story is that we're supposed to be shocked that rich, well-educated White people can be sick and evil.
I don't find it shocking. What I DO find a bit shocking is the idea that sick, evil, violent behavior is the province of "those people" (non-rich, non-White, non-well-educated). Our society bends over backwards to protect a certain class of people from the consequences of their actions, while throwing the book at others for the same. That's not news, but in this day and age to find a writer who seems to think that's perfectly normal and correct is a bit surprising.
As I said, deeply mediocre book.
Several times I became annoyed by Shelly Gilbert - for enabling her son prior to her husband’s murder and refusing to acknowledge he was not a “golden boy.” She decried the state of psychiatric treatment in the state of New York when both she and her husband sat in their hands and accommodated their son’s lifestyle and recklessness. There were times along the way in this saga that their connections and money could have resulted in in-patient psychiatric evaluation at a minimum. She then alleges that somehow it is the state of New York responsibility to get him mental health.
This may be a mother and wife’s way of dealing with her son and his crime and her pain is no doubt genuine. But if Shelly’s critique of the mental health system is valid for her son what is like for people who have no resources.
Want to keep reading past my bedtime to find out what outrageous thing this guy and his sadly naive parents would do next as he kept escalating deeper into mental Illness with violent, delusional tendencies. Glad the jurors didn’t leave it up to him - again - to take his meds and accept treatment. He’s where he belongs.