PETER LAWFORD

THE MAN WHO KEPT THE SECRETS

Compared with 1988's The Peter Lawford Story, a shimmering tower of sleaze by Patricia Seaton Lawford and Ted Schwarz, Spada's Lawford bio is serious and respectful. Spada (Grace, 1987, etc.) shoots for the big time at 512 pages, does heavy research and strong fact-packaging. The outstanding section of the book, the middle hundred pages, covers the ties between Jack and Bobby Kennedy and the death of Marilyn Monroe and manages to assemble that now-familiar story with verve and freshness. The subplot throughout these pages is Kennedy- supporter Frank Sinatra's tie with top Mafia boss Sam Giancana, with Sinatra, JFK, and Giancana all sleeping with Judith Campbell, and JFK enlisting Giancana to blow away Fidel Castro, and then RFK as attorney general attacking organized crime, with Giancana asking buddy Sinatra to smooth it with RFK by having RFK's brother-in-law and Sinatra Rat Pack member Lawford speak to RFK or JFK. When Lawford fails and Sinatra's power wavers in Giancana's eyes, and then JFK reneges at staying at Sinatra's massively rebuilt Palm Springs house, Sinatra exiles Lawford from the Rat Pack—forever. All this is lively and gripping and shows fresh spadework, but no new dirt. Lawford, a child actor from Britain, struck it big at 20 with an MGM contract, had his greatest hit singing and dancing in the ever-enjoyable Good News. A fantastic ladies' man, he married into the Kennedy family via Pat Kennedy, became JFK's Hollywood go- between with Monroe. He never sobered up and even had coke delivered to him by helicopter at the Betty Ford Clinic. His lack of self-confidence was apparently a gift from his mother, who told him he wasn't good enough or strong enough to survive without her. Sympathy for a poor devil, once the gayest of blades.

Pub Date: June 17, 1991

ISBN: 0-553-07185-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1991

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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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