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.
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Average rating from 73 members
Spectacular! Beautifully written and perfectly researched, this book is a masterpiece. John Glatt's ability to tell this story with precision and compassion is what makes this book a "must-read". I've finished Golden Boy in a couple of hours and, as much as it breaks my heart to read about how poorly mentally ill people are treated in a court of law, this book needs to be read!
True Crime is my #1 genre to read and I was thrilled to get a copy of this fantastic book by one of my favorite authors, John Glatt. I loved the family background history of this family and where their wealth came from. I enjoyed reading how the rich and famous spend their time and money. As I read this book, I kept thinking "what if" they would have done this or that different maybe things would have turned out different. There is no doubt that Tommy suffers from several forms of mental illness, but after reading about his courtroom antics, I also think he is a master manipulator. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC of this very interesting and thought provoking book that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I have to admit when I heard about this murder, I thought it was simply a “poor little spoiled rich boy”. Troubling and not as clear cut as I thought. The author provides a thorough account of the case and back story. This was an interesting read which I recommend. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
I really liked this one. I hadn't even heard of this case before but I liked how it was presented with short chapters and no fluff. Learning of the mental health problems that ultimately lead to a heinous act were incredible and I appreciate author exploring the roots of this crime.
This is one of the absolute best books written about wealth, mental illness and true crime.!!! The author painstakingly recounts the tremendous toll mental illness takes on a family, especially when the family refuses to acknowledge it's existence in order save the carefully constructed facade they created. It is sad tale of a once brilliant and promising young man's journey into the depths of severe mental illness. I will be using this in my classroom when I teach mental illness and true crime. It will be a wonderful addition. I highly recommend this book to everyone!!!
Thomas Gilbert Jr is well known for his actions against his father. John Glatt did an amazing job of describing Tommy’s life from his early years to when he stood trial for the Murder of his father, Thomas Gilbert Sr. He was a party boy taking drugs and drinking when he should have been taking his medications prescribed by his several psychiatrists. He became very upset with his father several times cutting off total contact. The book describes many of the parties in great detail and takes you through all the detail of the trial. Anyone interested in reading true crime books will enjoy this immensely. It was really hard to read the help being provided but the refusal to admit their is a need and accept it. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an early ARC for an honest review. #Netgalley #StMartinsPress
Years ago, I had a morning routine. I would leave the house with enough time to stop at the bodega to get a New York Post to read on my commute. January 2015, I picked up the paper and was drawn into the story of Thomas Gilbert Sr and Tommy Gilbert Jr. An Upper East Side man, with all the education and access to anything he could ever want, walked into his parent's house, told his mom to leave, and shot his father, directly in the head. It was a story that has stuck with me ever since that morning. John Glatt has taken the sad story of an elite man who, no matter what, was still a sick individual. Glatt has managed to take this insane story and lay it out in an easy to read and digest order. Tommy's childhood is one that set him up for success. He goes to an elite high school, he plays sports, he goes to Princeton, he's EXTREMELY good looking. He's also paranoid, a bit of a troublemaker, angry and mentally ill. There's a lot to unpack. Tommy's constant refusal to take medication and his parent's allowing this to happen. The lack of repercussions for vandalism and petty theft. The HOUSE FIRE. He never was punished so of course he thinks it's fine to get mad about being a 30 year old getting an allowance. It's a hard story. It's a sad story. It's a story about mental health. It's a story about a family who let one member change their fate. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book.
This was such a tragic story to read. I hadn't heard of this case prior to reading the book. I had so many mixed emotions reading this, but the main thing was something I already knew- our mental health care system in the United States is so broken. If a well off student with a great education and a good home life that struggles with mental health can not get the help he needs, what hope is there with people without a good background and money have? It was a really difficult book to get through because of the subject matter, but it was well constructed and organized.
Golden Boy is a fast moving and chilling true crime book. Author John Glatt does an outstanding job peeling back the layers of Tommy Gilbert Jr. and his life, which lead to unspeakable tragedy. This book will, without doubt, find the reader eagerly turning each page with breathless anticipation. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley.
Life is good for many, but it was especially good for Tommy Gilbert. Born into a family of wealth and prestige, he was educated in the best of schools, was able to enjoy his parents’ multiple residences in affluent areas, and seemed to have the world at his command. Added to all of that was the fact that Tommy was intensely handsome, a blond blue eyed Adonis. Yet something was wrong with Tommy. His various oddities included thinking things and some people were contaminated, having the intense feeling that others were out to get him, and seeming to lack social graces. All of these personalities started to appear in his later teenage years. Tommy started a downward spiral into mental illness what some of his doctors described as psychosis and probably schizophrenia. Seeing over the years a plethora of doctors, Tommy floundered refusing to take medication, being enabled by his parents for his lack of finding a job after graduating from Princeton and developing an overwhelmingly hatred of his father, Thomas Gilbert, Sr. The last of these traits led Tommy eventually to murdering his father, shooting him at point blank range in his parents' apartment in Manhattan. Because of the social strata his family traveled within, the case became one of noteworthy proportions. Tommy’s mother stayed a staunch supporter of her son, yet years of what seemed like turning a somewhat cloudy eye to her child’s failings, made for an interesting piece of what entitlement can do. Tommy exhibited many very troubling incidents before his final act of murder, and the author documents them all plus Tommy’s interactions with family, friends, and women. This book encourages lots of thoughts about the state of mental health in this country, including the laws that can’t force anyone into mental facilities unless they agree to it. It also focuses well on the question of what constitutes mental competency in a courtroom trial. It’s a sad story where there are no winners, where by the end we are not quite sure that justice has been served, and what we wonder if anything could have saved Tommy. Definitely a strong recommendation for well done, clear, intriguing, and and concise story. Thanks to John Glatt, St Martin's Press, and NetGalley for a copy of this fascinating true crime story due out July 20, 2021
Golden Boy is a powerful well researched and presented book about the life and trial of Tommy Gilbert Junior. Tommy had a privileged life then things started to go awry as he became mentally ill. John Glatt has done a superb job of presenting the Gilbert's life and background and what happened that fatal day he shot and killed his father. You have to admire the strength and resilience of his mom Shelley. She and her daughter lost everything. The courtroom scenes were so well presented. The book was an eye opener regarding mental illness and how we must do more against this devastating and often misunderstood illness. The story of Tom, Shelley and Tommy will stay with me for a very long time. Thanks to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for a in depth read of this tragic case.
The Case: Thomas Gilbert Jr. is a charming, and extremely good looking New York socialite. He is wealthy, has the finest education with an IQ of 140, speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently and excelled in higher mathematics. But on 4 Jan 2015, he walked into his parent's apartment, shot and killed his father, Thomas Gilbert Sr. a Manhattan millionaire and hedge fund founder. What drove him to commit such devastating crime? My thoughts: This was my second book by John Glatt and once again I enjoyed it! His engaging writing pulled me in and I was totally immersed in the story. With the amount of research done, the information was presented in a concise manner with short chapters. I liked it! I personally think that this was most probably one of the most heartbreaking cases I've read. It talks about how the downward spiral of Tommy's untreated mental illness has put others and himself in dangerous situation. No doubt Tommy killed his father and there is absolutely no justification for that, but would things have been different should Tommy's mental illness was treated earlier or being taken seriously. The courtroom scenes was interesting and how Tommy handled it all clearly shows his state of mind which also prolonged his competency hearing. My heart breaks for his mom, Shelley Gilbert. This was a challenging case as Shelley is trapped in the middle and what she said in her victim's impact statement was heartbreaking. Overall, this was a great book to read about this case. There is no gore details in this book and if you're thinking of trying the true crime genre, this may be the book for you! Pub. Date: July 20th, 2021 ***Thank you St. Martin's Press, author John Glatt and NetGalley for this copy to read and review.***
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this advanced reader copy of Golden Boy by John Glatt. Golden Boy is the story of Thomas Gibson, Jr., a man born to an affluent family who kills his father after a long struggle with untreated mental illness and an inability to find a solid footing in his own adulthood. Many true crime fans will have heard of the murder of Thomas Gibson, Sr. from media coverage at the time of the murder. John Glatt takes his readers on a deep-dive into the life of Thomas Gibson, Jr. from birth to his current incarceration. Extensively researched, Glatt misses no detail of the life and times of Gibson, Jr. It's a sad story, to be sure, but a gread read for true crime fans. I was very excited to read Golden Boy and it did not disappoint. Having read only minimal information at the time of the murder Golden Boy was an engrossing read. Reading about Gibson, Jr.'s long struggle with mental illness and refusal to accept treatment left me feeling extremely conflicted about his conviction. This is a tough case with no good outcome for any of the involved parties. A father lost his life, a wife lost her husband and son and a man lost his father and, as far as I know, continues to live in a live tormented by untreated mental illness. Golden Boy is proof positive that being born into a rich family can only do so much for a person. Great read for true crime fans.
My thoughts: One of many books I’ve read by John Glatt. This is a well written true crime book on the saga of the Gilbert family. Tom Gilbert, Sr. was a well known financier in New York City and had a grown son, Tommy Gilbert, Jr. who was extremely well educated. Despite this, he remained dependent on his parents for support. A real failure to launch situation. The senior Gilbert was trying to wean him off being dependent by cutting his $800 a week allowance a hundred or two at a time. Tommy Gilbert, Jr. had a long history of mental illnesses and often refused to stay on his medication. After getting an email about his allowance being cut again, Tommy took his illegally obtained gun and went and shot his father. The book shares a lot about the family’s life and what went on before and after the crime in excellent detail. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author John Glatt, and the publisher.
I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. John Glatt is a master at true crime writing. Clear, concise, direct; with well researched background history and a writing style that has no subterfuge or speculation; Glatt tells the story of crime, criminal and victim in such a way that you feel a part of the tale. He lays out the case for maximum understanding. In this book, a tragic murder by a mentally ill young man costs the family anguish as they lost their patriarch by death and their hope for the son to life behind bars. Navigate the criminal justice system along with the author as the clarification for mental illness and competency to stand trial is questioned. The Golden boy is a riveting case that will surely be referenced in the years to come.
Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication date: July 20, 2021 Bestselling true crime author John Glatt turns his attention to the murder of Wall Street financier and investor Thomas Gilbert Sr., with the novel “Golden Boy: A Murder Among the Manhattan Elite”. Tommy Gilbert, Thomas Gilbert Sr.’s son, grew up in a life of privilege. Tall, blond and handsome, Tommy was an athlete, and after years of attending elite prep schools, he earned a degree at Princeton University, and was set to work alongside his father in the world of investment banking. With famous friends, a house in the Hamptons, and memberships to the finest clubs, Gilbert Jr. had everything one could ever want. So what drove Tommy to put a bullet in his father’s head? “Golden Boy” is a story of the world of the elite privilege but it is also a heartbreaking examination of the failures of the justice system when it comes to those with mental illness. Thomas Gibson, Jr. had a family history of mental illness, and when he started to show signs of paranoid schizophrenia as a young adult, no amount of money could force him to get the treatment he so desperately needed. The most interesting thing about “Golden Boy” is that there is never an argument that Tommy did not kill his father, but to what degree mental illness contributed to his actions. Full of courtroom drama and legal jargon, the five-year court battle was long and harrowing for all involved. Glatt writes in an honest and objective way, highlighting both sides of the case and presenting the legal battles as openly as he can. He makes it quite easy to both victimize and condemn Gilbert, portraying him as an entitled brat, yet one who also suffers from a very real mental illness. “Golden Boy” depicts life among the Manhattan elite, with country clubs and “summer homes” in the Hamptons, but it still manages to elicit complete sympathy for young Tommy, whose untreated mental illness caused him to commit the vilest of crimes. Two thirds of this book details the lengthy courtroom action, so it can get quite dull at certain points, but my desire to see the outcome and my sympathy for Tommy pulled me through to the end. “Golden Boy” is a thought provoking novel about how society views mental illness, and how even the wealthiest of families can have dark shadows in their minds, wreaking havoc and causing chaos.
A really interestingly written, fast-paced and well-researched story. It felt like you were following the story piece-by-piece.
This is a tough book to review - one cannot help but have opinions after reading it. Serious opinions. I am right there with everyone else that has read this book. One thing we all agree on is that Tommy Gilbert murdered his father; after that, it all gets a bit murky. Many believe he is suffering from serious psychosis and schizophrenia [even though he was never, ever, formally diagnosed with this horrible mental illness - that is something to keep in mind. The Drs. he saw said they thought he had that, but it was never a formal diagnosis, which would have required a hospital stay and massive evaluation, something he never received and still has not received]. Many believe he knew exactly what he was doing and was manipulating everyone from the moment he murdered his father. I find that I am a bit in the middle of both camps - I absolutely believe that Tommy Gilbert has some form of mental illness [at the very least, he is severely OCD, at the very worse, he is a sociopath], but I also fully believe that because of his circumstances and how he grew up, with great privilege and money and no consequences ever, he learned how to manipulate those around him to get what he wanted and what he saw as needs and more importantly, what he saw as deserved [entitlement]; his interaction with his Uncle Beck and the country club incident shows that in full scale. Add to the fact that he deliberately sent his mother to the store the day he murdered his father, because he knew she never kept Coke in the house, shows he knew exactly what he was doing, and to be honest, I think he knew the outcome [why wipe all your electronic equipment that had damning evidence on it? Why continually attempt to contact your lawyer?] as well and that is where the serious manipulation came into play. Can severe manipulation be part of a mental illness diagnosis? Probably. Most sociopaths are extremely skilled in the art of manipulation and Tommy seems to be extremely good at getting what he wants and then throwing a tantrum when things don't go his way. Which is one reason this trial dragged on for as long as it did. I really believe that some of the blame has to be laid at the feet of the parents themselves [and that in no way means that Tom Gilbert Sr. deserved in ANY way to be murdered in cold blood - no one deserves that ever] - there were so many opportunities when Tommy was young enough to be hospitalized that were just brushed off as oddities and then so much of what he did was either paid for, covered up or explained away, that Tommy never saw any consequences of his actions - of course he believed he would get bail and then get off from his father's murder - he always had gotten away with stuff before, why should now be any different, and that fault lies directly with the parents [Tommy's mother is especially culpable as she secretly feeds him money after Tom Sr. is trying to cut him off, deliberately going against her husband's wishes]. One can understand anger on Tommy's part of suddenly being cut off from most of his income as well - his parents had supported his extravagant lifestyle for years and he was accustomed to that life and to suddenly have that cut off [even if it was by degrees] had to be shocking, though IMO, not enough to kill someone over. I think the issues between Tommy and his father went way deeper than we will ever know as one is dead and one is still pulling the strings, even from prison [and we certainly cannot rely on the mother's testimony - she has proven herself an extremely unreliable narrator]. I have to commend the author - at the end, he admits to being friends with Tommy's mother and with Lila Chase and found their input to this book invaluable, but unlike other true crime books where the author is friendly with some of the players in the story and is therefore prejudicial in the writing, this book doesn't go that way. The author really presents the whole case and story from a fairly unbiased view and that is admirable. I believe Mr. Glatt worked hard to keep his own opinions and thoughts of the matter out of the book [and like I said, people will absolutely have opinions] and just laid out the story as it was presented over the days and years in the court, and again, that is admirable. I don't know many writers who know players in the story who can do that and I say well done Mr. Glatt; I will absolutely be seeking out other books of yours to read. Thank you to NetGalley, John Glatt, and St. Martin's Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review
Not much mystery here. Tommie Gilbert shoots his dad on page 2. The rest of the book delves into how someone raised in such wealth and privilege could do that and then follows his subsequent trial. It was a very good read. The Gilberts are a wealthy New York family. Both sides come from money and keep it going. Tommie is bright, good looking, and given all the advantages of the best schools. But mental illness and drugs take their toll. After graduating from Princeton, Tommie never really gets a job, just partying and living off his parents. They get him the best doctors, but he refuses to take the treatments and continues to get farther and farther into trouble. Eventually, he kills his father. This book is well-written and quite easy to read. A true crime story that is recent, you will recognize some of the players. If you find such books interesting, this is well worth your time.
Golden Boy by John Glatt is a superb book with an engrossing plot and well drawn characters. Well worth the read!
There’s no question that Tommy Gilbert, Jr. pulled the trigger that ended his father’s life. What is less clear is if he was mentally competent to be held criminally responsible. Tommy, with his movie-star good looks, lived a privileged life as a “Golden Boy” from a wealthy prominent family. He was afforded every possible opportunity for success, but, inside his head, something went terribly awry. Crippling anxiety and paranoia took hold, along with irrational fears of his father and some of his classmates. He suffered from social anxiety and "contamination" fears. He believed friends were trying to steal his soul, and developed a set of rituals to protect himself. He had increasing difficulty in maintaining relationships and was known to be irrational and emotionally volatile. Mental illness ran in the family, and Tommy’s parents were very concerned about his mental deterioration. They scheduled evaluations and treatments by multiple psychiatrists, none of whom agreed on a firm diagnosis, yet prescribed a laundry list of medications. At one time or another he was diagnosed as having OCD, anxiety disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, and bipolar disease, among others. In response to abuses of the past, it is very difficult to commit an adult to a mental institution, even when the person clearly is very disturbed. As an adult, his parents had no legal sway over him. The parents found themselves trying their best to support him in his endeavors, while attempting to keep his mental illness at bay. Was he a privileged, entitled spoiled ypung man? Or was he severely mentally ill? Sometimes I’m sure it was difficult for others to see the difference. Despite multiple psychiatric evaluations and bizarre behavior in the courtroom he was deemed fit for trial, and much of the latter part of the book covers the courtroom trial. His mother, Shelley, stood by his side, never wavering that Tommy was mentally ill and needed help. If a family such as the Gilbert’s, who had the money and access to the best medical care in the world, was unable to help their son, then what hope do any of us have? More than a simple true crime drama, this is an indictment on the current state of mental health care, as well as a thought-provoking story that highlights the cracks in our justice system. The author writes compellingly and with clarity, never inserting himself or his opinion into the story. I closed the cover of the book with a feeling of sadness for all involved. There are no winners here.
John Glatt has a remarkable ability to tell true crime stories. I had not been familiar with the case of Thomas Gilbert Jr. but upon reading the description of this book, I thought I would know everything there was to know about the case: a well-educated child from a wealthy family starts getting cut off and he seeks revenge on his father. I was very, very wrong. Glatt dives into Gilbert's history with mental illness and trouble with relationships. This book was thoroughly researched and told. There are so many layers to the case and Thomas Gilbert Jr. that reveal it wasn't just about money. Glatt's retelling of this case not only show downward spiral of Thomas Gilbert Jr. but also open the conversation of how mental illness is treated in criminal cases. I appreciated that every component of this case was well-researched and told so it wasn't solely about what happened during the crime. Excellent read.
As someone who consumes true crime in all forms this case somehow never came to my attention. With a healthy dose of Tommy’s backstory and a detailed account of the trial I found it to be very interesting and well done. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thank you, NetGalley!
Love authors books, including this one. In depth and detailed, this book won't disappoint crime fanatics. Thanks to author, publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
A really compelling and harrowing book. Tommy Gilbert led such a charmed life, had everything he could want, But there was definitely something very, very wrong with him. Really well written, and such meticulous research, I really enjoyed this. Thank you so much
I have read several of John Glatt's books, so I really looked forward to this one. This book is about Thomas Gilbert Jr. and the murder of his father, Thomas Sr. As I expected, it was a great book! I like the way the author writes, and he is clear on his details, which are not lacking. It is well written. Plus, the storyline is very good, and you can understand both sides, although your empathies go with his parents. It is a heartbreaking story. I highly recommend this book. It is great!
John Glatt definitely tops my list of true crime authors. It is apparent that he does a thorough job of researching the people involved and events leading up to a heinous crime. I appreciated his complete and straight forward account because I was not familiar with this particular case and found it to be a compelling read. It also gave me a lot to think about when it comes to mental illness and the justice system. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martins Press for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy.
A true story of murder,and mental illness. Did the system fail a thirty year old son who murdered his father? Tom was said to have schizophrenia. He was never institutionalized. He wouldn't take medicine that was prescribed for him was he in his right mind when he pressed the gun to his father's temple and fired it. And if not, why was he seemed fit to stand trial. A book that looks into the life of someone with a mental disorder and the consequences of that disease being ignored.
Thank you to Net Galley for the advanced reader digital copy of this book. This is a very well written true crime story, that has to be read to be believed. Glatt gives us a lot of background into the mental health of Tommy, but the reader will still be shocked that he actually could murder the man who had taken care of all his needs his whole life. When a simple thing like reducing an already too high allowance causes ones mind to think that it is okay to kill them, something is wrong. Once the trial started the book does lose a little steam. Great for lovers of true crime.
First off, I love this author's writing style. I first discovered him when I read his book on Chris Watts and I was thrilled to see that Golden Boy was coming out. This book has a hugely difficult subject matter to read. Thomas" actions were so "out there" that at times, I had to put the book down. The author does an excellent job of balancing the real life results of a real life mental illness. I like that he does not take a side,, other than to write the facts about what happened and let's us decide. Many times during this book, I kept asking myself is Thomas really mental ill or is he faking? I came to believe that both were in play here. I also wonder how his poor mother was still standing. Glatt did an excellent job of describing her feelings and situations and while I am really annoyed at her comment about "the system did not help her son", I could only imagine her pain. That statement...."the system let my son down" I absolutely believe because we hear this comment so many times, I will say that in this case, with the money these people had, they could have hired the "best" doctors to help him, but instead they just kept throwing money at their son, making him entitled and needy. These people appeared to scared to "hurt" their son's feelings.....so I believe that the family holds some blame here. They HAD the money to do something beyond the "regular channels of mental help for the average joe". The book reads like that to me. Thomas was always on the periphery of things and he author really shines a light on this as well. Ultimately, this is a really well researched book that is sad to read.....but what a good read.
John Glatt is one of my favorite authors in the true crime genre. Especially after reading his book on Chris Watts (EEWWW), I was happy to receive a copy of Golden Boy from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley in exchange for this honest review. Although I am an avid fan of true crime books and podcasts, this particular case was new to me, although the subtitle (“Murder Among the Hamptons Elite) gave me advance notice that this would be a story generally about people I don’t really relate to and specifically about one tragic family. The Gilberts (hedge fund founder Thomas Sr., his wife Shelley, and their son Thomas Jr., known as Tommy) are the kind of rich Manhattan folk who send their kids to schools like The Buckley School, Deerfield Academy, and Princeton (all of which Tommy attended) and use terms like “summer” as a verb (as in “we summered in the Hamptons”). One one level, this is a straightforward story about the murder of Thomas by his son Tommy, a fact no one disputes. There is lots of background about the family, Tommy’s childhood and apparent path toward the kind of success his father and uncle had achieved. But there were some rough spots during Tommy’s teen years, and things started to spiral out of control, leading up to his full-blown hatred of his father that resulted in the murder. Another level in this well-written book is the exploration of the justice system’s complete lack of help for people with mental illness. And Tommy was definitely sick. After graduating from Princeton, he seemed poised for success. But his early signs of mental illness (including OCD, paranoia, and extreme hatred of his father) were magnified when he led an aimless life, subsidized by his parents, who “appeared more concerned about their reputation than their son’s highly dangerous mental state.” Life was good for Tommy, with his seemingly endless source of funds allowing him to fill his days with surfing and socializing with other rich people.Once of his girlfriends said “He did want to have a job…wasn’t that he was this layabout just living off his parents. He was trying to start a hedge fund…” Tommy kept getting in trouble, and in a revelatory line about his parents’ response, “...instead of confronting his son directly, Tom asked Shelley to do so.” So yeah, he was just living off his parents..right up until the day he went to their apartment, sent his mother out ostensibly to buy food for him, and shot his father in the head. His parents had urged him to seek help, but Tommy was mostly into self-medicating and partying and burning down his friend’s family house in the Hamptons (for which he was never charged). After reading this, part of me is so sad for the wasted lives, and part of me thinks people could and maybe should have seen this tragic end coming for years. Whether it’s more of a procedural about a horrific crime or a look at the social costs of ignoring mental health and the resulting impact on the justice system, it’s a good read. Oh, and it also addresses the incredible privilege being rich and white brings as well as the need for mental health services, even among the rich. Four stars.
What a heartbreaking story. There was never a question as to his guilt, but this tragic story could have been prevented. So many 'if only's'....If only this man had received the help he so clearly needed. If only his parents had been able to step in and force him to get that help. If only they hadn't been in denial of the severity of his mental decline. This story shows that even the most wealthy can be struck down by mental illness and that money can't always protect you. John Glatt is my favorite true crime author. He never disappoints. I get the feeling that he cares deeply about the people involved in the crimes he writes about and it definitely shows.
Add this to your TO READ list immediately especially if you are a fan of true crime books. I never heard of this story before and was instantly intrigued. I have read books by John Glatt before and liked them so I am definitely eager to get my hands on this one. "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 facade 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." YIKES. There is a Goodreads giveaway happening right now so head over and enter to win!
Brought up in the Hamptons, a rich son who had everything. His parents made sure that he was given the best education and set him up for a financial hedge fund business. His father Tom Gilbert Sr, had a very successful business and wanted his affluent son to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately Tommy Gilbert Jr., had no.motivation, partly due to his parents still supporting him and his mother giving in to his every whim. Instead, Tommy partied, did drugs and never pursued the business that his parents had helped set up for him. When his father was 70 years old and wanting to retire, he told his son that his allowance would be cut back. That was not what Tommy wanted, so he had to take steps to make sure that this would not happen. I really enjoyed this True Crime book and thank the author, publisher and Netgalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest review
Thank you to the Publisher, John Glatt and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review Previously posted at https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/golden-boy/ Thomas Gilbert Jr. is an All-American Boy. Princeton graduate, tall, athletic, handsome, smart, and engaging. Having been raised in affluence. “Tommy” had all the means to have a successful life. So why did he refuse to do absolutely anything? Why did he ultimately put a bullet in his father’s head, after calmly asking his mother to go get him a sandwich? Author John Glatt turns has written a fascinating book about the murder of Wall Street financier and investor Thomas Gilbert Sr., by his son Tommy, with the novel Golden Boy: A Murder Among the Manhattan Elite. But the story is really about how mental illness is viewed and managed in the US court system. The Gibson family has a strong history of mental illness in both parents of Thomas Gilbert Sr. His father, having depression and ultimately committing suicide. When Tommy shows signs of schizophrenia and mental illness, his parents can only encourage him to get help, as he is an adult and their hands are tied. Sadly, he refuses to get help, while simultaneously insisting the world is trying to “contaminate” him. As his friends begin to abandon him, he gets more and more paranoid that they are out to get him. He only has one staunch ally, his ex-girlfriend Lila Chase, who stuck by him through everything. Golden Boy has many fascinating aspects; the book is one-third the story of Tommy and his descent into insanity and two-thirds courtroom procedural. There is never an argument of whether Tommy killed his father. It is known he did, but the question remains if he knew what he was doing. This is a five-year court battle full of drama and intensity, described in harrowing detail by the author. One can’t help feeling sorry for Tommy, who is so deep into schizophrenia at the time of the trial, that he does not know what is happening. Even going as far as to not realized they have convicted him of second-degree murder after the trial ends. John Glatt has taken the reader on a journey through Tommy’s childhood, his years at Princeton and the many years between graduating and ultimately shooting and killing his father for cutting his allowance. The author does an amazing job tracking his descent into insanity and how it affects him and the people who love him. While it seems his parents would be to blame for not getting him the help he needs, they ended up paying the ultimate place. While everything has come easy, it is hard to condemn Gilbert as being entitled. He elicits more sympathy than anything else as someone who could have had it all but lost because of mental illness and being too proud to seek the help he needed.
Excellent writing and attention to detail! John Glatt is a master at his craft and I'm a fan of many of his true crime novels. This one is no different! I heard about this case prior to reading this novel but never knew the gritty details until now. I highly recommend it to true crime readers!
5 stars Golden Boy A Murder Among the Manhattan Elite By John Glatt This is perhaps one of the most emotionally draining books I have ever read. John Glatt has written a remarkable book deftly outlining the life of Tommy Gilbert Jr. and the ultimate death/murder of his father. As a mother, I identify so strongly with his mother Shelley Gilbert, and she and her husband's need to try and help their son Tommy. His mental illness made their lives so incredibly difficult and yet they continued to try and help him. Glatt showcases the horrors of the need for better care for mentally ill adults and what happens when they refuse the care/medicines they so desperately need. The judicial system is really incapable of handling a person this sick and yet it far too often is required too. My heart goes out to his mom and sister. I empathize and understand their support of Tommy. His friend Lila Chase is truly remarkable I am very conflicted by the outcome of Tommy's trial. I am grateful he is finally getting some of the psychiatric help he so desperately needs but at what cost? I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley.
The life and trial of Thomas Gilbert Jr. gives the reader some insight into the upper class in Manhattan. The author expertly reports everything happening before, during and after this murder trial, using a lot of actual dialogue, in a way that keeps you wanting to read more. This compelling book raises the issue of how we treat mental illness both legally and personally. It is tragic no matter which side you agree with in this case. Well written and very thought provoking.
True crime books are especially difficult to read and review because they need to strike the right balance: an interesting premise with focus on the details throughout, without being gory or sensational. John Glatt does a beautiful job of this; I don’t feel discomfort reading his books, and he tells the whole story to allow you to see what you think. In this case, it’s the story of Tommy Gilbert, Jr, a Manhattan socialite who murdered his father. Tommy had been diagnosed with OCD, schizophrenia, depression, and a slew of other disorders that make it a big question at trial: was Tommy insane or not at the time of the killing? Glatt takes us through Tommy’s family’s history, his schoolboy years, and throughout his very tumultuous twenties, the killing, the aftermath, and through the whole trial. If you’re interested in true crime or the justice system in America, this would be a fantastic read.
Golden Boy tells the truly harrowing tale of Thomas Gilbert Jr., who shot and killed his own father. That he committed the crime was not in dispute; however, if he was legally insane when he did it is the source of intense media speculation and endless debates in the courtroom. That is what Grant expertly explores in this book. Gilbert Jr. was born into an extravagant and privileged life, where he was still receiving an allowance from his parents even in his twenties, and many of his shocking or disturbing behaviors were brushed off as eccentricities. Grant examines if this lifestyle actually did him a grave disservice in covering his paranoia, agressive tendencies, and other signs of deep mental illness. Did not only society, but the very law itself do Gilbert Jr. a great disservice? Should he have been deemed fit to stand trial? What would life have been like if Gilbert Jr. had been able to be helped before he spiraled downward so completely? Grant does an especially great job of showing both sides of the issue while still highlighting the stigma surrounding mental illness, and the tendency to sweep things under the rug or completely deny they are happening. Golden Boy is a devestating true crime tale that also manages to be a scathing social commentary.
The murder of Thomas Gilbert Sr. was a highly publicized case. It was apparent early on that his own son had murdered him. The big question that was raised during this trial concerned mental fitness, and whether Tommy Gilbert was criminally insane or of sound mind. From the beginning I enjoyed this book. I have read several other books written by John Glatt and have always appreciated the way he introduces everyone involved. He provides the history for each of the main individuals which helps the reader gain a better understanding of how we arrive at such a tragic point. The histories of both Tommy’s mother and father were very interesting and shows how they have established such a high social and financial standing in their community. It is hard to understand how someone like Tommy with all the opportunities and wealth he was provided with could commit such a heinous act. The author made it to easy to learn more about who Tommy really was, and the many struggles that led up to this point. I appreciate the focus on mental health, in particular the way it is treated in the judicial system. It is a very hard topic to understand, and each case is so unique. Deciding whether an individual knows what they were doing at the time of the crime is very difficult to determine. The author did an amazing job covering such a complicated case. Overall, this was a very well written book, that easily engages its audience. The questions it raises about mental health and how it is viewed and treated are very important questions to consider.
Buckley, Deerfield, Princeton, Maidstone, East Hampton. Tommy Gilbert, Jr. had it all - model good looks, a great education, a loving family - and yet he is now serving 30 years to life for murdering his father by firing a bullet through his brain. Tommy had been blessed with both hands, yet it was this very thing that prevented him getting any sort of real help. As a few friends said: "Nobody thought this handsome, well-educated, privileged Princeton man was capable of violence [...] if Tommy looked like me, people would have thought he was an insane person fairly quickly." I must admit that I really struggled with this book because while I feel that Tommy's mental illness (paranoid schizophrenia) was absolutely the major factor in the murder, time and again Tommy was given a second, third, fourth, ad nauseum chances at redemption solely because of his looks and his background. And in a sense, this is the same struggle that the court faced with this case. It took four years to bring the case to trial because of the difficulty in determining if Tommy was sane enough to stand trial. He refused to speak with medical personnel tasked with determining his mental state, he refused to take any medication, he refused to participate in his defense. Yet he also carefully planned to murder his father - purchasing the Glock he used, sending his mother out of the townhouse on an errand, carefully walking away from the scene, etc. The author had access to Tommy's mother, Sheila Gilbert, and others close to him, including his attorney Arnold Levine. There's plenty here showing that Tommy's parents were in denial about his mental illness - "They appeared more concerned about their reputation than their son's highly dangerous mental state" - and that their status and wealth had protected him in the past from consequences. And Sheila strongly advocated for her son getting "as light a sentence as possible" while, IMHO, failing to advocate for her murdered husband. But again, this entire case is a horrific Sophie's choice that far too many families are dealing with every day. At times, the narrative dragged with far too many parties and events described in great detail, but overall Glatt clearly lays out a dilemma to which there is no clear answer. 4 stars.
Prolific true crime author John Glatt’s latest book, Golden Boy: Murder Among the Manhattan Elite (St. Martin’s Press 2021) is a thorough and harrowing journey through a story of wealth, mental illness, and murder. Golden Boy details the consequences of a culture of privilege that led to a son’s untreated illness and a father’s tragic death. Born to two wealthy financiers in New York, Thomas Gilbert Jr. (Tommy) was wealthy in more ways than one. In addition to having a loving and supportive family, staples of Gilbert’s childhood included every luxury—such as a mansion in the Hamptons and an elite education (culminating in his BA from Princeton). Undeniably handsome and well-connected, Tommy was able, in his early adult years, to make friends and cultivate relationships with many people, all of whom moved in the high-class, Upper East Side world of wealth and power. However, in school, Tommy began to show signs of instability that none of his family or friends saw coming. Compulsive paranoia manifested in several ways; alternately, Tommy believed that everyone around him was ‘contaminated’ and only certain rituals would ward off this contamination, or that his father was trying to take over his body and steal his soul. Over several years, many doctors provided different diagnoses for Tommy’s mental condition, but the truth was clear: Tommy was deteriorating, and doctors struggled to find the root cause. Tommy’s struggles culminated in a mysterious fire that destroyed his best friend’s house in the Hamptons—for which he was never charged—and a seemingly-inexplicable hatred of his father. However, in 2015, when Tommy’s father slashed Tommy’s weekly allowance by $200, Tommy arrived at his parent’s apartment and asked his mother to leave, at which point he shot his father in the head, killing him instantly. Glatt’s account of this very recent and galvanizing case was as compelling as it was thorough. Two narratives are in-tension within Glatt’s text: the narrative of Tommy as the severely ill child of two wealthy parents who never received proper treatment, and the narrative of Tommy as the man enraged that his allowance was cut yet again. The defense and the prosecution advocated for the latter and former narratives respectively, and Glatt presents the arguments for each side, never overstepping in his mandate as a journalist to present only the facts. If anything, Glatt seems to wonder throughout the book whether a combination of factors led Tommy to kill his father—did his mental illness coupled with his extreme and unmitigated privilege lead him to this tragic solution? What’s fascinating about this case is Glatt’s up-to-the-minute account. The trial did not finish until 2019, and the case has a stunningly current quality. It is a shocking realization that debates over competency and the ability to stand trial such as those that occurred in the Gilbert case are so recent and yet seem so antiquated. Glatt’s account of the four-year legal proceedings never drags, however, as the trial itself proves to be one of the most bizarre and unexpected aspects of the entire case. Perhaps most compelling factor about Golden Boy is Glatt’s interrogation of the degree to which drug-culture contributed to Tommy’s instability. Glatt draws on several narratives to expose both the casual use of drugs—designer or otherwise—in private educational institutions such as the ones Tommy attended. Without proper treatment, and with the repeated opportunity to self-medicate with various substances, Tommy’s paranoia and fear grew and deepened. Glatt acknowledges that Tommy’s environment was a contributing factor to the ultimate outcome of this case, and as shocked as wealthy New Yorkers were over Tommy Gilbert’s crime, one wonders if anything could have been done to change things. Overall, Golden Boy is a compelling and thorough account of a complex and recent case that is essential for any true crime reader who is interested in current events. Please follow John Glatt on Twitter and add Golden Boy to your Goodreads shelf. Don’t forget to follow True Crime Index on Twitter and please visit our Goodreads for updates on what we’re reading! You can find Rachel on her personal @RachelMFriars or on Goodreads @Rachel Friars. About the Writer: Rachel M. Friars (she/her) is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She holds a BA and an MA in English Literature with a focus on neo-Victorianism and adaptations of Jane Eyre. Her current work centers on neo-Victorianism and nineteenth-century lesbian literature and history, with secondary research interests in life writing, historical fiction, true crime, popular culture, and the Gothic. Her academic writing has been published with Palgrave Macmillan and in The Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies. She is a reviewer for The Lesbrary, the co-creator of True Crime Index, and an Associate Editor and Social Media Coordinator for PopMeC Research Collective. Rachel is co-editor-in-chief of the international literary journal, The Lamp, and regularly publishes her own short fiction and poetry. Find her on Twitter and Goodreads.
I love reading True Crime books by John Glatt! I followed this case as it was happening and was excited when I saw that Mr. Glatt had written about it. This book did not disappoint. It was a quick, enjoyable read. One of those books that I just couldn't put down - even with knowing how it would end!
I was thrilled to get an ARC of this true crime detailing the murder of Tom Gilbert Sr at the hand of his son Tommy Gilbert Jr. I thoroughly enjoyed this author’s factual account of the Gilbert family history, Tommy’s decline and the Court proceedings. The story highlighted a huge problem in society when it comes to mental illness and how the laws make it challenging for a sick adult to get much needed treatment. What stood out for me was how Tommy lacked insight into his mental illness and this in turn resulted in him not taking prescribed medication. Being an adult, his parents were powerless to have him committed for more than a couple of days or for his doctors to force him to take medication without extreme safety reasons. He learned how to hide his illness and present himself in a favourable light to family and friends. The truth of the matter, however, was that he was getting sicker and more delusional as time went on. The story also pointed out how the criminal justice system can fail people like Tommy as it’s not designed to “help” defendants who are mentally ill with some ability to understand even if their mental illness was a prominent factor in their crime. It also highlighted the stigma still attached to mental illness and the lack of education/understanding that judges and prosecutors have in this area. This would be an exceptional book club pick as there is so much to discuss including whether Tommy was a cold blooded killer who knew what he was doing or whether he was a victim of the laws that govern access to treatment for mental illness. A gracious thank you to St Martin’s Press and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Thomas Gilbert appeared to lead the perfect life, The son of the Manhattan wealthy elite he had every privilege- the most expensive prep schools, eventually ending up at Princeton, summers at a mansion in the Hamptons, and movie star looks. He was the proverbial Golden Boy. But there was something wrong with Tommy. He begin to believe people and things were contaminated. As he progressed into his teenage years any ideas of social norms disappeared, he developed new personalities and believed the world was out to get him. Most disturbing of all was the unfounded and deep hatred of his father that developed. His parents tried for years to get their son the help he needed. There were multiple diagnoses and medicines prescribed. But since Tommy was an adult his parents had no way of forcing him to get the help he so desperately need even as his mental health spiraled out of control. His refusal to take his prescribed medications only exacerbated his illness. At one point he is the suspect in the arson of his friend’s Hampton home and a few weeks later Tommy’s descent culminated in the murder of his father. This is not only a true crime story, it is also a treatise on the flaws in our mental health system. Even with all the money and resources in the world, Tommy’s parents could never get him the healp he really needed. The book examines the fact that it is impossible to commit an adult to a mental facility against their will and also spends time detailing what constitutes mental competency in a courtroom. I found this book both fascinating and frustrating to read. The story of Tommy and his family is compelling, but the frustration comes from the fact that it seems like this crime could have easily been avoided if our mental health system were not so broken. I read this book in a day and I don’t know if you would say I enjoyed it, but I was captivated, infuriated, and enlightened by the story it told and I think that those are important things. I highly recommend this one. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an e arc of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.
Tommy Gilbert Jr. murdered his father. There is no doubt about his guilt. There is doubt, however, as to whether or not he was mentally competent enough to stand trial for the murder. This kid had it all. He went to the best schools, grew up in country clubs, and had the world at his feet. He graduated from PRINCETON. His father was a successful businessman on Wall Street and as a result, he had access to some of the best real-world training possible for jobs in the financial industry. What did he do instead? He refused to get any kind of job, was a jerk to anyone who was nice to him, and decided instead, to waste his life on drugs. He drained his parents bank accounts, and when they finally put their foot down and cut back on the money they were giving him, he killed his father and was mentally sane enough to make it look like a suicide. This book was incredibly detailed. Most of the book puts the reader in the courtroom right along with Tommy. I have strong feelings about this book. I don't believe for one second that he was mentally incompetent enough to get out of being held accountable for his actions. He's a petulant child and he got what he deserved. His mother is absolutely infuriating. I understand loving your child, but being blind to the fact that he's a monster is just insurmountable to me. This guy gave her plenty of red flags along the way and no one stepped in to control him until after he killed his father. I loved the detail throughout this book, but it did move a bit slow at times (hence the 4 star rating).
Tommy Gilbert, the son of a wealthy hedge fund manager, was the Golden Boy - rich, privileged and, unfortunately deeply disturbed. This book chronicles Tommy’s life and ultimately his arrest and trial for the murder of his father. This is a superb true crime story, told in a factual and unbiased manner, pieced together from trial testimony, interviews with friends and family and police reports, that dissects Tommy’s struggles with mental health issues, drug abuse, and his dysfunctional relationship with his parents. A must-read for any true crime fan, and a glimpse at a world few of us will ever experience. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
“Some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality. They think depression is simply a form of being sad, that OCD is a form of being uptight. They think the soul is sick, not the body. It is, they believe, something that you have some choice over……..I know how wrong this is.”~David Levithan Golden Boy was published July 20, 2021 and it was a compelling, tragic account of a family trying to make sense of this horrific murder. Mental illness stole from this family and it didn’t care about popularity or their social or economical status. I kept asking myself how I would handle this and I couldn’t put myself into this story. It was to awful to imagine. I’m a mother of a 31 and 29 year old adults. Where is the help? How do you fix this? Can it even be fixed? The legal system was a sham in my opinion. And I wonder how many mentally ill people are in prison. The writing was good and it was told well. I highly recommend this if you’re a crime junky like me. Thanks St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley.
This was a very interesting story but very sad and more than that, very Infuriating. John Glatt is one of my favorite true crime authors and he did an excellent job with this book, even though I’m sure he is frustrated with the fact that it took so long for the case to run its course in the judicial system. The only thing I would object to is the title of the book, golden boy. Tommy Gilbert Jr. might have been a golden boy to his parents when he was young and certainly they thought he should be successful given his Ivy League background, Princeton degree and his good looks but what they fail to understand was that if several psychiatrists and psychologists tell you your son is sick and needs to be institutionalized, you should listen. Tommy was clearly schizophrenic or schizoaffective if you will. Everyone pussy footed around him and failed this young man. I know he felt he deserved a lot of things most people can’t afford but much of his behavior was a direct result of his illness and his family aided and abetted his inability and unwillingness to get help. I won’t tell you what happens as I’m sure you can guess and look it up. The trial shenanigans were unlike anything I had ever heard of. Again a direct result of Tommy’s mental illness. Clearly he needs to be hospitalized and treated, not stuck in a prison. Sad, sad story for the entire family, especially his father who seemed like a good man, but clueless. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I'd been following this case in the newspapers so was very happy to get a chance to read this book. It's well researched and though a little slow at times, it mostly really held my attention. I think Thomas Jr inherited his mental illness from his maternal grandfather. Its sad all the way around. Great book. Definitely recommend.
True Crime is a favorite genre of mine, and this one was so well done. I had not heard of this one before but was utterly fascinated from the beginning. The author does a brilliant job of highlighting the crime and the person behind it, Thomas Gilbert, Jr., who was a charming New York socialite that was accused of murdering his father, a Manhattan millionaire and hedge fund founder. The interesting twist in this case is the subject of mental illness, how it was a factor in this case and how we still have so far to go with treatment, especially in relation to crimes. The author shows that the struggle with this case was that although it was clear the signs were there that Tommy had some form of illness, he was so calm when he shot his father it was hard to say he was ill when he committed the crime. It was absolutely fascinating to read this story and Tommy’s progression from high school to present day in prison. Having been married to someone that was bipolar and also chose to self-medicate with drugs rather than get help, this resonated very close to home. I am always interested in stories involving mental illness because there are oftentimes very similar patterns (although I fortunately did not experience any violence). If you like true crime I absolutely recommend this one, it was fascinating overall and I was captivated the entire time. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the digital galley to review.