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Henry and Clare: An Intimate Portrait of the Luces

Henry and Clare: An Intimate Portrait of the Luces

by Ralph G. Martin

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The stormy marriage of Henry Luce (1898-1967), founder of the Time-Life publishing empire, and Clare Booth Brokaw (1903-1987), editor of Vanity Fair , congresswoman, war correspondent, playwright and diplomat, was a fiercely competitive alliance marked by intense loneliness and numerous affairs on both sides. Godfearing, patriotic Henry, son of Presbyterian missionaries to China, had two great loves: theatrical producer Jean Dalrymple and Lady Jean Campbell, daughter of British newspaper tycoon Lord Beaverbrook, who married Norman Mailer. Henry's affairs with these and other women drove his outspoken, brash wife to demand a divorce and attempt suicide, even though she herself had a stream of lovers. Martin ( Charles and Diana ) reveals Henry's yearnings to be a public hero and his frustrated political ambitions. He portrays Clare as a woman consumed by private demons, including knowledge of a brother's probable suicide. This riveting dual biography is both a peek inside the Luce publishing empire and a candid love story that rips away the veil of secrecy surrounding a ``royal American couple.'' Photos. (Aug.)
Library Journal
In this case, an intimate portrait means every publicly available detail, along with fresh information from new interviews, about public and private activities. A Martin book means a well-integrated storyline, written from a somewhat analytical and detached perspective, told in a captivating manner for a gossip-loving general audience. The subjects are Henry Luce (1898-1967), the founder and creative force of Time Inc., and Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987), the congresswoman and ambassador. The book is hard to put down, exactly right for a BOMC and History Book Club alternate selection. Recommended more for a library's biography section than for the media collection, since it concentrates on the personal, not the business side.-- Abraham Z. Bass, Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb
Known for his sweeping, larger-than-life biographies of celebrated figures (e.g. Jennie: the life of Lady Randolph Churchill, The woman he loved: the story of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Charles and Diana), Martin now turns to the founder of the Time- Life magazine empire and his congresswoman and ambassador wife. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
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 admirableyet 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.)

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)

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