BLOOD RICH by Jane Wolfe


When Oil Billions, High Fashion, and Royal Intimacies Are Not Enough
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 Gossipy saga of the Wyatt/Sak0owitz clans, whose power-plays and peccadilloes have titillated tabloid readers both in their native Texas and, more recently, across the globe. Wolfe (The Murchisons, 1989), former society editor of the Dallas Morning News, presents a thin-as-gold-leaf account of the curdling of the American Dream and of the agonies and absurdities that seem to attend immense wealth and vaulting ambition. The author traces the Sakowitz family history back to the late 19th century, when a pair of Russian-Jewish brothers immigrated to the US and quickly established a women's clothing emporium in the then-booming port town of Galveston. Through hard work and scrupulous business practices, the brothers built a merchandising empire that elevated them and their offspring into the highest reaches of American society. By contrast, the background of boorish oil billionaire Oscar S. Wyatt, Jr., who married Sakowitz granddaughter Lynn in 1963, is murkier; moreover, says Wolfe, ``with the possible exception of...Santa Anna, whose soldiers killed every last Texan at the Alamo in 1836, no one is more hated in San Antonio than Oscar S. Wyatt, Jr.'' Even so, Wyatt's shadily acquired billions enabled Lynn to enter the Concorde-and-caviar empyrean inhabited by the likes of Princess Grace of Monaco and Truman Capote. At the core of the author's narrative is her account of how Wyatt attempted to wrest control of the Sakowitz business from Lynn's brother, Robert, whose ill-advised policies drove the corporation into bankruptcy. Also included: how Lynn's first husband--a drug-addicted exhibitionist--went to prison for killing a prostitute, was released, and disappeared; and how Lynn's son, Steve, has been photographed cavorting with the Duchess of York, provoking a tempest among the Windsors. Wolfe makes like Robin Leach in a skirt here, with breathless prose and far more fluff than substance. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1993
ISBN: 0-316-95092-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993