A heartfelt and often eyebrow-raising memoir perfect for armchair fashionistas or high-fashion insiders.



The inimitable fashion veteran shares the scandals and name-dropping details of his sartorial career.

Readers of Talley’s debut memoir, A.L.T. (2003), will recognize the details of his Southern childhood and his grandmother’s significant influence. Moving further forward in this volume, he delves into his later years and dishes the dirt on his many years at Vogue. In a conversational and earnest voice, the author chronicles his defining years learning under Diana Vreeland, who got him into “all the right parties,” and his time at Interview magazine with an accommodating Andy Warhol. From there, Talley ascended to positions at Women’s Wear Daily and Vogue, his “dream job,” where he would spend decades weathering a “series of voyages” within a tumultuous business (and personal) relationship with the demanding and mercurial Anna Wintour. Other relationships were similarly tumultuous and unpredictable, including his four-decade friendship with Karl Lagerfeld, which instantly and cruelly dissolved when Lagerfeld simply “cut [Talley] out of his life.” The author’s writing becomes more animated when he describes more personal details—e.g., his coming-of-age on the New York party circuit in the halcyon late 1970s, when “everyone was high on coke and cock”; or his vulnerability regarding his weight and self-worth. Talley too-fleetingly addresses the sobering reality of the “subtle, casual jabs” of racism that he has experienced throughout his career. He does note how many editors with whom he worked failed to understand his perspective as a black professional in a predominantly white field or appreciate the cultural significance of events such as Beyoncé’s gracing the cover of Vogue in 2018. Though the text brims with gossipy anecdotes, Talley mixes the serious and the saucy with equal heft. Though his legacy speaks for itself, this balanced, entertaining memoir is dramatic proof in print.

A heartfelt and often eyebrow-raising memoir perfect for armchair fashionistas or high-fashion insiders. (8-page full-color insert; b/w photos throughout)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12925-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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