Dogged diva biographer Heymann (Liz, 1995, etc.) purports to show that governments rose and fell by the promptings of those in DC’s glittery ghetto. From his report, however, the signal events were simply what Susan May told Missy and what Oatsie said about Rip and Adlai.
Five Georgetown duchesses—Katherine Graham, Lorraine Cooper, Evangeline Bruce, Pamela Harriman, and Sally Quinn—headline, supported by a large cast of featured players, including Liz Taylor, Warren Buffett, Ben Bradlee, and JFK. There’s Capote and his wretched Black and White caper for Kay Graham. Were these the best and brightest? Is this how Dolley Madison did it? Amid the clatter of teacups and tumblers of scotch, we hear the piercing clank of dropping names. It’s a toast to the sort who “liked pleasure and . . . had great fun with it.” Heymann informs us of loves, feuds, and peccadilloes. The tittle-tattle covers the fortunes, talents, connections, alliances, dalliances, table manners, looks, wardrobes, sleeping habits, and mental aberrations of yesteryear’s Georgetowners. CIA spooks, a mysterious murder, Joe Alsop’s sexual orientation, and Phil Graham’s madness all come up for discussion. Some of it is patently questionable. Did a hostess really revive Alan Greenspan with an oxygen tank she “happened to have on hand”? Did “everyone come dressed as a ground hog” to a Groundhog’s Day fête? It’s all cold dish, largely enclosed in quotation marks, an inflated and fetid hodgepodge suited to a tabloid’s party report. Admittedly, contrary to all decency, this sort of thing can become addictive and may even find a solid audience—but what’s the point?
Shallow and nasty enough to make readers queasy. (16 pp. b&w photos, not seen)