THE LAST OF THE DUCHESS

The chronicle of dogged journalist/novelist Blackwood's quest to discover the fate of Wallis Simpson—for whom King Edward VIII gave up the throne and settled for the title duke of Windsor—after the death of her husband. Blackwood's obsession began with an impossible assignment- -reporting on Lord Snowdon, who had been commissioned by the London Sunday Times to photograph the duchess—a celluloid encounter that was never to take place because her formidable keeper, the female French lawyer Maåtre Blum, never permitted it. But in trying to sway the terrifying octogenarian lawyer (``If you do not write a favorable article about the Duchess—I will not sue you...I will kill you''), who kept the duchess in her French home with no visitors for a decade, Blackwood became determined to comprehend ``Master'' Blum and her victim, the once ``dreadful Mrs. Simpson.'' Blum, an accomplished lawyer whose clients included Charlie Chaplin and Walt Disney, was given the duchess's power of attorney soon after the duke's death. After a few fruitless interviews with Blum herself, in which the Windsors are exalted as a sober, cultured couple that no one knew them to be, Blackwood tracks down surviving Windsor pals. A parade of wistful, wizened aristocratic women—such as Lady Diana Mosley—tell tales about the duchess's love affair with Woolworth heir and profligate Jimmy Donahue and her public humiliations of the besotted duke. From other sources Blackwood hears that, in Blum's care, the duchess, once heralded for her sense of style and shunned as sex incarnate, has shriveled to half her size, turned black, and is fed through pipes in her nose. By weaving semi-sordid speculation with famous factual tidbits, Blackwood spins a very ``dark fairy tale'' indeed. A terrifying look at how far the mighty can fall when infirmity and poor judgment put them into nefarious hands.

Pub Date: March 22, 1995

ISBN: 0-679-43970-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1995

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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