HENRY AND CLARE by Ralph G. Martin

HENRY AND CLARE

An Intimate Portrait of the Luces
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A dual biography of one of the ultimate ``power couples,'' which offers an abundance of juicy gossip leavened by some first- rate research and analysis. ``To the world,'' notes Martin (Golda, 1988; Charles & Diana, 1985, etc.), ``the Luces represented the peak of power, the ultimate American dream''--but, as he constantly stresses, beneath the glittering facade they endured a frequently miserable mismatch ``tarnished by constant competition, sharp cuts, and deep hurt.'' On the one hand there was the conscientious, shy, missionaries' son who co-founded (at 24) and remained the controlling force of Time Inc. On the other, the vigorous, self-centered woman who rose above childhood poverty and a dreadful first marriage to shine as, successively, magazine editor, playwright, congresswoman, and ambassador, while remaining deeply envious of her husband's prestige. Although marred by clumsy editing, with anecdotes repeated two, often three, times, and far too many ponderous summations about this ``royal American marriage,'' the book is distinguished by its balance and extensive research. There are judicious analyses of the couple's various milieus, especially within Time Inc. (where Henry pledged to ``give the public the truth we think it must have'') and the political sphere, yet the emphasis is decidedly on the personal peregrinations of a couple who seem to sleep with everyone but each other. We get the high- powered world of Presidents, kings, and popes, along with a laundry list of the powerful men rumored to have bedded the energetic Clare--Bernard Baruch, Joe Kennedy, Randolph Churchill, Lord Beaverbrook, and Lyndon Johnson, to name just a few. The portrait that emerges is of an admirable yet appalling couple who found mutual intellectual stimulation cold comfort for emotional emptiness. Compelling, despite its flaws, with much scandalous detail. (Two 16-page photo inserts--not seen.)

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 1991
ISBN: 0-399-13652-5
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1991




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