By turns amusing, enlightening, and plaintive, the former kid from Newark who became editor of Vogue remembers her rise and explains her fall--with a little dishing on the side. The daughter of Italian immigrants Florence Bellofatto and Anthony Mirabella, a Ronrico rum salesman who gambled too much and introduced the daiquiri to America, Grace Mirabella launched herself at the postwar fashion establishment because she wanted to be around the best of everything. Rejecting retail, and with a degree from Skidmore and a lot of dancing at the Stork Club under her belt, in 1952 she invaded the WASPy Condâ€š Nast world of Babses and Babes, of young editors chosen for their long legs and their connections to the Rockefellers. Women worked at Vogue to earn ""pin money,"" and it was infra dig to ask the cost of anything. Mirabella represented the arrival of the working woman at Vogue; she wanted to celebrate real clothing for really stylish and talented women, clothes that they could use to live full lives. Mirabella tells of her years as Diana Vreeland's assistant; she admires Vreeland's brains and glamour while at the same time cataloguing her eccentricities and excesses. After Vreeland's firing in 1971, she bemoans her own lack of loyalty to her former boss in taking her job. With the advent of the venal '80s, Mirabella also lost favor and was fired after a 17-year tenure. (The editor learned of her dismissal only after Liz Smith announced it on TV.) She blows a few poison darts at the fashion celebrities who made her life miserable, including Richard Avedon and Alex Liberman, the ""yellow Russian"" (in Vreeland's words), and describes her rebound to begin the magazine bearing her name. Occasionally the sad tale of a fashion victim, but most often an interesting, chatty view of the trenches at Condâ€š Nast and in women's journalism.