CHARMERS AND CRANKS by Ishbel Ross

CHARMERS AND CRANKS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Subtitled: Twelve Famous American Women Who Defied Convention. They certainly are and they certainly did. While they all had an exciting time of it, few can have had a happy one. For instance, Hetty Green went to Wall St. in a day when women didn't go to business and piled up enough money to make strong men blanch, but she lived and died like a panhandler who didn't know where the next dime was coming from. Carrie Nation pursued Demon Rum while herself pursued by demons that Freud & Co. later put names to. Mrs. Frank Leslie worked at the center and top of an influential news magazine and brooded about news of her affairs she wouldn't have found fit to print. The Fox sisters used bones in their knees and big toes to tap out spirit messages while the Spiritualists they led slowly drove them both to drink. The Clafin sisters and Mrs. Jack Gardner may have enjoyed themselves more than most but the first had to carry the odious tag of ""Freelovers"" and the second was beheld with amazement and coolth in Boston. This is an interesting collective biography by an author noted for her handling of historical research in the popular vein and quite capable of leading readers back to the full length biographies which exist.

Publisher: Harper & Row