MEN, MONEY & MAGIC: The Story of Dorothy Schiff by Jeffrey Potter
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MEN, MONEY & MAGIC: The Story of Dorothy Schiff

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KIRKUS REVIEW

FDR's paramour or not, she can hardly miss, this ""peculiar combination of a party girl and an intellectual"" born into New York's foremost Jewish family, raised in Gentile society, who married four times, still (at 73) dazzles attractive, influential men, and runs the liberal New York Post with regal composure--panicked at the prospect of flying, of speaking in public, of spending that next long weekend alone. About the fascinating men in her life she tends to be coy, even a tease: Obolensky and Harriman apparently weren't lovers, the upstart Beaverbrook was (it took her twenty years to get over him), and as for FDR, though his summonses were ""not to be denied,"" the clues suggest that he never exercised his full seignorial rights. Public service was a personal panacea in the Thirties and led--via second husband George Backer and Eleanor Roosevelt--to this heiress' affiliation with the Democrats; a rash pledge by Backer made her owner of the foundering Post. The marriage and the paper went down together; exec editor Ted Thackrey put forth the best solutions; and soon the two were married and running it in tandem--out of the red. Then Ted's ""increasingly leftist policies"" threatened, and in 1950 she took it over, to become in effect Mrs. Post. Formally she is--despite the marriages--Mrs. Schiff, and there are those who consider her very much the heir of her magisterial grandfather Jacob. You'll see her, in any case, as she sees herself--on many, many tapes--and as others see her; nominal author Potter contributes little but legwork and clumsy prose. But her memos of latter-day meetings with Nixon (""obsessed with the idea of money""), all the Kennedys, Johnson, Rockefeller, and Kissinger bristle with privileged remarks and close observation. A half-baked book, certainly, but tantalizing in its particulars.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1976
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan