Fortune and Folly

The Weird and Wonderful Life of the South's Most Eccentric Millionaire

Title Details

Pages: 240

Illustrations: 27 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 11/15/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6523-7

List Price: $25.95


Pub Date: 11/15/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6525-1

List Price: $25.95


Pub Date: 11/15/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6524-4

List Price: $25.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

A copublication of Georgia Humanities and the University of Georgia Press

Fortune and Folly

The Weird and Wonderful Life of the South's Most Eccentric Millionaire

A deep dive into the life of Asa Buddie” Candler Jr. to excavate a piece—and place—of Atlanta history

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Nestled in the outskirts of Atlanta, in a suburb called Druid Hills, lies Briarcliff Mansion. It sits on Briarcliff Road in the Briarcliff neighborhood, surrounded by strip malls and business with Briarcliff in their names. The mansion and the land it occupies are owned by Emory University, which refers to it as its “Briarcliff Campus.” Fortune and Folly, in part, illuminates the largely lost story of how the mansion, and the entire surrounding neighborhood, got its name. But in order to understand the mansion, we have to understand the man who built it.

Briarcliff Mansion once belonged to a man named Asa Candler, Jr.—or Buddie as friends and family knew him. The second son and namesake of Coca-Cola founder Asa Griggs Candler, Buddie was a wealthy real estate developer of great successes and greater failures. A man of big vision and bigger adventures, and a socialite whose boisterous, unapologetic personality made him both beloved and reviled in the Atlanta community between 1910 and 1950. But after he passed away in 1953, his stories faded from memory, either tangled up with or overshadowed by his father.

It’s no mystery why Briarcliff garners attention. It’s self-consciously grandiose, built to display maximum grandeur to the neighborhood. It towers over the landscape, set far back from the road behind a filled-in, overgrown pool. Its face is stitched together where a music hall was added two years after the main house was completed, and the bricks don’t quite match up.

Fortune and Folly offers a deep-dive into the life of Asa Candler, Jr. to excavate a piece—and place—of Atlanta history.

Fortune and Folly is well-written, engaging, well-paced, and full of new information about a colorful and important figure in Atlanta's history.

—Gary S. Hauk, author of Emory as Place

Wealthy, eccentric, and at times scandalous, Coca-Cola scion Asa Candler Jr. lived a tabloid life of race cars, airplanes, mansions, menageries, and magic. Sara Butler’s Fortune and Folly chronicles for the first time the tantalizing successes and failures of one of Atlanta’s most dismissed, derided, and oft-overlooked millionaires.

—Jeff Clemmons, author of Rich’s: A Southern Institution

Fortune and Folly is mandatory reading for anyone who thinks they know Atlanta. What Sara A. H. Butler does with this book is to nuance the growth of this city through the story of the person she calls its 'most eccentric millionaire,' Asa Griggs Candler Jr. She enables readers to see some part of themselves through his experiences of the fragility of being human, while expressing his individuality at a time when conformity was constant. She presents Candler as a daring man who both loved and battled Atlanta, and whose devotion to and stewardship of his city remains ever present for residents and visitors alike to learn.

—David Yoakley Mitchell, executive director, Atlanta Preservation Center

Butler is an excellent researcher and writer. . . Fortune & Folly is a brisk, enjoyable read for local history buffs who want to fill in some areas not usually covered.

—Phil Kloer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About the Author/Editor

SARA A. H. BUTLER is a director of product marketing at Cox Automotive. She lives in Roswell, Georgia.