A MOTHER IN HISTORY by Jean Stafford


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Via McCall's (where it appeared- in parts,) this is, chiefly in her own words, a self-portrait of Marguerite Oswald as a mother ""speaking for history,"" but also in alternating roles as ""citizen, widow, public figure"" with a ""central intelligence at the controls."" In between glasses of ice tea and cups of coffee, Mrs. Oswald's soft Southern inflection becomes strenuously, stridently defensive (Lee was an intelligent boy, or a fine person; the assassination was a mercy killing) or accusatorial (he was persecuted by a nameless ""he"" or ""they""). She also assumes the editorial we; makes slurring inferences against Marina; becomes a professional panderer or exploiter; drops a feminine aside; refers vaguely to her own peripatetic life (her many homes; her many husbands). While the profile is perhaps no more than an addendum to the history she would like to achieve, it is fascinating to read, implacable in its inferences and impeccable in its presentation.

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux