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by George Barr Mccutcheon
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1903. McCutcheon, American newspaperman and prolific author, had eight books on the top 10 bestsellers list from 1901 to 1914. In the early days of film, his novels were constant sources for filmmakers. Would you be able to spend a million dollars in cash and leave yourself penniless, if it meant you would then be given many more millions? That's poor Monty Brewster's dilemma in this charming 1903 tale which has been made into a movie six times. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.
New York, 1900. Montgomery Brewster is a man of great potential. Heir to his uncle's fortune, he is a playboy, very much the American equivalent of P.G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster. However, unlike Bertie, Monty Brewster has a shrewd intellect behind his shallow exterior. Following his uncle's death, he discovers the old man has bequeathed one million dollars to him . . . or, if he is up to the challenge, he can win 7 million by spending the one million dollar inheritance within the space of a year. When Monty decides to go for the big jackpot, he has to keep his plans a secret from everyone -- even though it may cost him his fiancee and his friends!
About the Author
George Barr McCutcheon's novels made him a millionaire. Devoted fans inundated him with mail, and his obituary ran on the front pages of most American and British newspapers. He published stories in McClures, Good Housekeeping, and the Saturday Evening Post. The mythical Alpine principality he created for Graustark, his first novel, inspired a rush of disappointed tourists. Broadway and Hollywood produced successful adaptations of his work. Wrote his brother Ben, "I think that if he wrote a treatise on hydraulic engineering it would sell over 300,000 copies." Moreover, he once shared a stage with fellow Indiana writers George Ade, Booth Tarkington, Lew Wallace and James Whitcomb Riley. Despite the great popularity accorded him during his lifetime, however, most of today's readers are wholly unfamiliar with the name and writings of George Barr McCutcheon (1866-1928). Indiana University Press is proud to reintroduce him to a new generation.
McCutcheon represented the middle-America everyman who had "come up from a benighted Midwestern town," as one reviewer wrote, and made it in the big city. A native of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, McCutcheon studied at the Ford School and Purdue Preparatory Academy. He attended Purdue University, playing shortstop for the baseball team, until an overindulgence in unassigned writing caused him to fail his sophomore exams. He reported for the Lafeyette Journal (which allowed him the use of a typewriter for his literary endeavors), and later served as city editor for the Courier before moving to Chicago to seek his fortune.
An extremely prolific author, McCutcheon not only produced over forty novels, but wrote several plays, short stories, and essays as well. The theater, in fact, was his chief creative focus. His plays took a realist, progressive stance, satirizing Victorian mores, religious hypocrisy, and--in the age of Theodore Roosevelt--the gratuitous slaughter of wild animals. They also dealt with far-sighted compassion toward topics like euthanasia and alcoholism. When the Frohman theater monopoly of the time refused to produce such controversial work, McCutcheon found an outlet for his energies in fiction, even converting several of his plays into novel form. He invested his novels with a good deal of humor and with a warm humanity which charmed his audiences and made George Barr McCutcheon one of the most popular writers of his time.
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