Denise Kiernan
Book Speaker
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Denise Kiernan

Fee Range1: $ 10000 - $15000

New York Times Bestselling Author of The Girls of Atomic City and The Last Castle


AuthorGovernment & PoliticsHistorySpouse ProgramsWomen in Society


North Carolina


Denise Kiernan

Denise KiernanNew York Times Bestselling Author of The Girls of Atomic City and The Last Castle

Denise Kiernan has been working as a writer for nearly 20 years. Her most recent book, The Girls of Atomic City, is a New York Times, LA Times and NPR Bestseller.

Her work has been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, Ms. Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Discover and many more publications.

She has also worked in television, serving as head writer for ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”  during its Emmy award-winning first season and producing for places such as ESPN and MSNBC.

She has authored several popular history titles including  Signing Their Lives Away, Signing Their Rights Away and Stuff Every American Should Know.  

She has been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, PBS NewsHour, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, MSNBC’s “The Cycle” and  “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.

In one of her most popular talks, Kiernan takes audiences back in time and into a top-secret world where young women and men lived and worked surrounded by spies and secrecy, forbidden to speak of their work, even to each other, as the United States worked to face the challenges of World War II and the Manhattan Project raced to harness nuclear power.  A lively and engaging speaker, Kiernan enthralls audiences with this story of adventure, intrigue, sacrifice and controversy.


The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home

From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Girls of Atomic City comes the fascinating true story behind the magnificent Gilded Age mansion Biltmore—the largest, grandest residence ever built in the United States, improbably located in Appalachia—and the dynamic, troubled, and ultimately triumphant Vanderbilt family whose stewardship and innovation helped not only shape the region but to preserve a unique era of American history.

Imagine the jaw-dropping splendor of Downton Abbey set against the wilds of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and you’ll have some idea of the delightful idiosyncrasies and unexpected juxtapositions that make Biltmore House and village near Asheville, North Carolina, a captivating setting for a truly American tale of success, loss and world-shifting change. Built over six years by the fabulously wealthy George Vanderbilt and opened in 1895, this mansion remains unrivaled in splendor and size even today (bigger than three White Houses, originally on a plot of land larger than all of Washington, DC). But the true marvel is the down-to-earth socialite who married George Vanderbilt, one of America’s most elusive and wealthy bachelors, and who helped rescue this treasure from the brink of insolvency to become the last great remnant of America’s Gilded Age.

Edith Stuyvesant Dresser claimed lineage from one of New York’s best known families but was orphaned at a young age. She and her sisters spent their formative years in Newport and Paris, mixing with the elite in Europe and New York. Her engagement and marriage to George Vanderbilt was one of the most watched events of New York society, and she appeared set for a life of incomprehensible luxury in the Northeast social scene.

After her honeymoon, Edith was whisked away by her husband to the 175,000-square-foot retreat he had constructed amid 125,000 acres in rural North Carolina, a world away from everything she knew. Edith found herself the mistress of an estate the size of a small city and captivated by the lives of the people living in the baronial village George built around his home.

But when fortunes shifted and the dawn of a new era threatened her family, her home, and everything she held dear, Edith mustered resources she never knew she had to save Biltmore—and her efforts in the community impacted the futures of countless individuals who lived and worked there. Through World Wars, the Depression and devastating personal tragedy, Biltmore endured. Featuring the architectural and landscape genius of Richard Morris Hunt and Frederick Law Olmsted, a secondary cast of characters including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler and Edith Wharton, and dramatic narratives of the most well-known family of the time, Last Castle is the unique American story of how the largest house in America flourished, faltered, and ultimately survived and thrived for more than century.





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