THE GRIMALDIS OF MONACO

THE CENTURIES OF SCANDAL--THE YEARS OF GRACE

Veteran celebrity-biographer Edwards (Wallis, 1991, etc.) does her best with Prince Rainier and his ancestors, but the Grimaldis as a dynasty seem more bent on survival than on cutting a heroic figure. Europe's oldest dynasty was founded in 1215, when wealthy Genoese merchant Rainier Grimaldi established a fortress on the rock that was to become the heart of the principality. The place was soon under siege from a rebellious nephew; and during subsequent centuries the rulers of Monaco have had to contend with threats from family members, neighboring France and Italy, and magnates like Aristotle Onassis. The Grimaldis also once held the title of ``prince of France,'' which endowed the family with great prestige and proved especially useful during those centuries when marriage to a very rich woman was the only form of respectable entrepreneurship open to improvident aristocrats. As absentee landlords who preferred to live in Paris, the Grimaldis neglected Monaco itself—that ``sunny place for shady people,'' as it was once described by Somerset Maugham. Not until a Princess Caroline of the mid-1800's had the brilliant idea of building a casino did the principality become wealthy and self-supporting—though this solution wasn't exactly approved of by such people as Queen Victoria, who refused to visit the Grimaldis in their palace. Extravagant and apparently prone to making bad judgments (Prince Rainier's grandfather saved the family and his fortune by collaborating with the Nazis) and bad marriages (Edwards excepts the marriage to Grace Kelly), the family has lurched from one scandal and financial disaster to another, though Edwards feels that the present prince, decent and well-intentioned, is doing good things for his family and country. Competently written and researched, but, apart from the Grace Kelly years, the Grimaldis come off here as a rather shabby and dull lot. (B&w photos—48—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 1992

ISBN: 0-688-08837-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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