THE RICH AND OTHER ATROCITIES by Charlotte Curtis

THE RICH AND OTHER ATROCITIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Before she became head of the New York Times Op-Ed page, Charlotte Curtis covered the haunts and hoedowns of Society with devastating aplomb. The pieces here, which appeared from 1963 to 1973, are briefly annotated and updated; to give the collection shape, they are assigned place-categories--sometimes in disregard of their nature (a rare interview with the Duchess of Windsor to ""Paris,"" the first male Ford's graduation from college to ""Detroit""). Some are little more, too, than inventories of over-indulgence, and the same gilt-edged names utter the same inanities in Palm Springs, Southampton, Saratoga, and New York. But there are compensations. Here again is Truman Capote's masked ball for Kay Graham and 540 famous friends (Curtis still isn't telling how she got the closely-guarded guest list); the Leonard Bernsteins' radical chic fund-raiser for the Black Panthers (with gracious exculpatory remarks); David Frost's jet-away luncheon in Bermuda; the Shah of Iran's royal camp-out at Persepolis; and other celebrated do's of the decade. More to a connoisseur's taste, however, may be the portrait of imperturbable Boston matriarch Abigail Homans (""I don't quite know what sociology is,"" says this mother of a Harvard sociology professor, ""and it's probably just as well""); the many faces of Marion Javits (lobbyist Javits, Curtis appends, ""had also changed her hairstyle. Some people even thought she resembled Audrey Hepburn""); the assorted faces of the old ladies of Dubuque. From Palm Springs to Anchorage, from Houston to the Riviera, there are indeed differences in style, manner, outlook. All etched in ice by a reporter who is too good, really, for much of her material.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row