RAGE FOR FAME by Sylvia Jukes Morris


The Ascent of Clare Boothe Luce
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 Morris dishes the fascinating dirt on--and logs the remarkable accomplishments of--this controversial author, social climber, magazine editor, athlete, foreign correspondent, and trophy wife. Most people these days know Clare Boothe Luce as the author of the acid-tongued movie classic The Women, which made Jungle Red nail polish a synonym for social intrigue and betrayal. Morris (Edith Kermit Roosevelt, 1980), who had access to Luce in the last years of her life and to the letters, journals, and documents that Luce kept from her adolescence, blends the killer nail color with a more subtle palette in a complex portrait of an intelligent, ambitious, and multi-faceted woman who was also beautiful, charming, witty, and always elegantly turned out. However, there was no silver spoon in Clare's mouth when she was born in 1903, the illegitimate child of an upwardly striving young mother, who at some point in Luce's childhood probably earned a living as a call girl. That interfered with the quest of neither mother nor daughter for wealthy, well-connected partners. Clare's first husband was rich, social, alcoholic George Brokaw. After their divorce, she begged a job from magazine publisher CondÇ Nast. Within a few years she was managing editor of Vanity Fair, a playwright, essayist, and the object of Henry Luce's desire. Married to Luce, she went on to become a war correspondent, filing reports for the new Life magazine. The controversy surrounding her often obscured the fact that she was a talented writer and an astute, if sometimes venomous, reporter. Lap up Volume I, with its intimate and sometimes contradictary detail: Clare Boothe Luce, her Vionnet dresses fitted in Paris, as feminist icon. Watch for Volume II--Clare as congresswoman and US ambassador. (45 b&w photos, not seen) (First serial to Vanity Fair; Book-of-the-Month Club selection)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-394-57555-5
Page count: 560pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997


NonfictionTHE PUBLISHER by Alan Brinkley
by Alan Brinkley