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WE DANCED ALL NIGHT by Barbara Cartland

WE DANCED ALL NIGHT

A Dazzling Memoir of the Glittering Twenties

By Barbara Cartland

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1995
ISBN: 0-86051-925-2

 The madcap '20s, as told by queen of romance Cartland (see also I Reach for the Stars, above, etc., etc., etc.). First published in England in 1970, this vivid memoir is quantifiably better than the caricature Cartland (both in her image and her work) of the past decade: a juicy social history of privileged youth after WW I. Cartland was 18 in 1920, and she was a flapperone of those ``enchanting, sexless, bosomless, hipless, thighless creatures'' with shingled hair and backless dresses. ``Flaming youth,'' says Cartland, was her generations's reaction to the misery of WW I. ``We couldn't bear all those anniversaries: `the anniversary of the day that Daddy was missing,' `the anniversary of the day that he was reported killed.' '' So the ``Bright Young People'' Vaselined their eyelids, raced motorcars down Pall Mall, and danced every night until dawn. Cartland paints a picture of elaborate artifice, wealth and the pretense of it, and glamour on the grandest scale: Gaby Deslys, whose knee-length ropes of pearls caused a peasant riot in Portugal; Paula Gellibrand, ``who sprang into fame by appearing at the Ritz in a hat covered with wisteria.'' And the most stylish of all: the Prince of Wales, who entered nightclubs behind a footman in a powdered wig. Cartland herself wasn't rich; she was a ``socialite'' who had to workbut, boy, did she have contacts. She became a sort of mascot to the ``Four Adventurers'': her boss Lord Beaverbrook, Winston Churchill, Sir James Dunn, and Lord Birkenhead. In a dutiful nod to the General Strike of 1926, Cartland acknowledges how clueless the ``smart set'' was about poverty and identifies the great problem of her age as the ``uninvited guest.'' A jaw-dropping account of a tribe who whitened their faces with powder, dressed in feathers, and broke each other's hearts at thÇ-dansants. (b&w photos)