A highly readable and workmanlike history of Grace Kelly— still one of the saddest stories ever told. Regrettably, Lacey overanalyzes, dumbing down a well-researched effort. Even in her MonÇgasque tomb, Princess Grace, the former Gracie Kelly of East Falls, Pa., receives as many as 9,000 visitors a day. Lacey (Little Man, 1991, etc.) paces through her life, step by step, explaining why Grace did this and why Grace did that, and what it all meant. Terms like ``inner child,'' ``enabler,'' and ``empowering'' bring her biography into the '90s, as does Lacey's insistence on allowing a more honest portrait of Grace to emerge from the ruin of illusion. The animus of Grace's life appears to have been her handsome, authoritarian father, Jack Kelly, champion oarsman and head of Kelly for Brickwork. Grace had a series of affairs with older men, including Clark Gable, Oleg Cassini, William Holden, and Philippe of the Waldorf. Much is made of the fire-and-ice duality of Grace's character: docile in a Junior League cashmere coat and then dancing naked to Russian music in front of her lover. There are spicy anecdotes and good Hollywood gossip. Grace makes it to the top, but once she boards the U.S.S. Constitution for Monaco, her life's a downhill proposition. Apparently her dysfunctional family couldn't hold a candle to Rainier's. The prince's mother arrived at the royal wedding with her newest protÇgÇ, a paroled jewel thief, and decided immediately to despise Grace. Rainier was mean and moody; her children were mean and spoiled. ``Grace had become everybody's doormat,'' says Lacey. He publishes new information from interviews with her ``toy boys,'' the lovers she had in middle age, and Rogev Bencze, who investigated the fatal car crash. In the end little of the biography is as eloquent as the cover portrait. But Lacey creates a powerfully engaging woman, then mercilessly, he shows us how Grace did not live happily ever after. And if she couldn't do it, what chance do the rest of us have? (32 b&w photos, most not seen) (100,000 first printing; first serial to Vanity Fair; Literary Guild main selection)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 1994

ISBN: 0-399-13872-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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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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