Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball

Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball

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by Deborah Davis (2)
     
 

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In 1966, everyone who was anyone wanted an invitation to Truman Capote's "Black and White Dance" in New York, and guests included Frank Sinatra, Norman Mailer, C. Z. Guest, Kennedys, Rockefellers, and more. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and drawings of the guests, this portrait of revelry at the height of the swirling, swinging sixties is a must for anyone

Overview

In 1966, everyone who was anyone wanted an invitation to Truman Capote's "Black and White Dance" in New York, and guests included Frank Sinatra, Norman Mailer, C. Z. Guest, Kennedys, Rockefellers, and more. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and drawings of the guests, this portrait of revelry at the height of the swirling, swinging sixties is a must for anyone interested in American popular culture and the lifestyles of the rich, famous, and talented.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
This beautiful book, bursting with photos and intriguing memorabilia, captures the glitz and glamour of Truman Capote's legendary Black and White Ball at the Plaza. Ostensibly a tribute to Washington Post publisher Kay Graham, the 1966 gala also provided a chance for the notoriously self-promoting Capote to celebrate the success of his new bestseller, In Cold Blood, with a roster of A-list guests from every sphere of influence. Deborah Davis has done full justice to a party that was every bit as extravagant and outrageous as its host.
Publishers Weekly
Truman Capote's legendary masked ball, at New York City's Plaza Hotel on November 28, 1966, was a hyped-up media event meticulously masterminded by the self-promoting, social-climbing author of In Cold Blood. Davis (Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X) dishes up the menu, the decor, the outfits and the guest list of 540, clueing the reader in to how Capote dangled the prized invitations for months, snubbing early supporters like Carson McCullers as he determined who was "in" and who was "out." In choosing his guest of honor, Capote eschewed glamorous "swans" like Babe Paley and Marella Agnelli in favor of "dowdy" Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. Actress Candice Bergen was bored at the ball; Capote's elevator man danced the night away with a woman who didn't know his pedigree; and Norman Mailer sounded off about Vietnam. This frothy effort retreads ground already covered by Gerald Clarke, George Plimpton and Sally Bedell Smith, among others. Black-and-white photos have frozen the beautiful people of the '60s in all their preening glory, and readers also get to see the invitation and the fashion sketches of the elaborate masks and headdresses created by Halston and Adolfo. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In 1966, Truman Capote threw an elaborate formal ball at the Plaza Hotel in New York, ostensibly in honor of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. The focus was really on Capote himself, a rising star following the publication of his "nonfiction novel," In Cold Blood. Davis (Strapless), who gained access to Capote's personal documents, here provides some biographical information on Capote but focuses much of the book on the actual guests, who included Hollywood stars (Gregory Peck, Vivian Leigh), Rat Pack crooners (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr.), literary giants (Norman Mailer, Tennessee Williams), society regulars (the Rockefellers, the Whitneys), royalty, and even Kansas friends Capote had made while researching his book. It's a look inside the world of the rich, famous, and beautiful through the context of a much-publicized event that brought Hollywood, New York, and Washington, DC, together in a way that had never happened before. A fast-paced, eclectic, and engaging work, it covers everything from the origin of the Best Dressed List and the fitting of designer gowns to the politics of high society. Recent films about Capote may generate interest for this topic. Recommended for public libraries and for academic libraries with strong popular culture or fashion design collections.-Alison M. Lewis, Drexel Univ. Lib., Philadelphia Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
* In Party of the Century, Deborah Davis tells of the now legendary Black and White Ball. Truman Capote threw the bash at Manhattan's Plaza Hotel on Nov. 28, 1966. Its guest of honor was Katharine Graham, president of the Washington Post Co., but no one had any illusions: The purpose of this gala was to celebrate the host, a serious writer but also a celebrity. There had never been much doubt about the celebrity part — from the moment that he styled himself as a male nymphet for his first novel's jacket photo, Capote had shown a rare talent for self-promotion. What had been in doubt was the literary prowess. As he entered his forties, the once-promising young writer had produced only a few slim volumes of exquisitely written fiction and journalism. But recently In Cold Blood — a masterpiece in the literature of fact — had routed the skeptics, and it was time to celebrate. Capote's plan, notes Davis, was to mix and match people: titled aristocrats with intellectuals with ordinary Joes from the rural Kansas county where the In Cold Blood murders had occurred. But in this respect, the party seems to have failed. "I've never seen such ghettoizing in all my life," complained Capote's lover, Jack Dunphy. "No group mixed with another group." As for the excluded, the book reproduces the cover of a subsequent Esquire issue. Under the rubric "We wouldn't have come even if you had invited us, Truman Capote" is pictured a surly-looking group comprising Jimmy Brown, Kim Novak, Tony Curtis, Pat Brown, Ed Sullivan, Pierre Salinger, Lynn Redgrave and Casey Stengel. (The Washington Post, June 4, 2006)

"...opens up his [Truman Capote] vulnerable heart as well as, and more accurately than the film..." (Yorkshire Post, June 2006)

"...gripping...very enjoyable in a voyeuristic way...." (Observer, April 2006)

"...Davis's excitement about the ball and its organisation is contagious...there is room too, for this stylish, sparkling little volume...." (Sunday Times, April 2006)

"...full of lavish photographs and anecdotes detailing the glitz and glamour of Truman's infamous black and white masked ball..." (Stella Magazine, April 2006)  

"...an interesting read and a must for all Capote fans..." (The Western Daily Press, April 2006)

"brings splendidly colorful behind-the-scenes action and players up front." (The New York Times, March 19, 2006)

"...Davis details every glittering facet of the painstakingly planned bal masque ... an evocative testament to bygone elegance, etiquette and entertaining..." (Guardian, March 2006)

"...captures the spirit and significance of the occasion with new material and fresh perspective, making this a party worth crashing..." (Town and Country, March 2005) 

Truman Capote's legendary masked ball, at New York City's Plaza Hotel on November 28, 1966, was a hyped-up media event meticulously masterminded by the self-promoting, social-climbing author of In Cold Blood. Davis (Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X) dishes up the menu, the decor, the outfits and the guest list of 540, clueing the reader in to how Capote dangled the prized invitations for months, snubbing early supporters like Carson McCullers as he determined who was "in" and who was "out." In choosing his guest of honor, Capote eschewed glamorous "swans" like Babe Paley and Marella Agnelli in favor of "dowdy" Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. Actress Candice Bergen was bored at the ball; Capote's elevator man danced the night away with a woman who didn't know his pedigree; and Norman Mailer sounded off about Vietnam. This frothy effort retreads ground already covered by Gerald Clarke, George Plimpton and Sally Bedell Smith, among others. Black-and-white photos have frozen the beautiful people of the '60s in all their preening glory, and readers also get to see the invitation and the fashion sketches of th

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470098219
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
01/29/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
338,170
Product dimensions:
9.12(w) x 6.04(h) x 0.82(d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Davis is a writer and film executive who has worked as a story editor and story analyst for several major film companies. She is also the author of Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X.

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Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black-and-White Ball 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I highly reccomend this tale of fashion, glamour,scandal and all things Capote. Davis does an exceptional job in telling this story. Its a must read, and one of my new favorite books!
Donna Mahoney More than 1 year ago
Just like Truman, the author doesn't leave out a single detail of the events leading up to and following that party. Seems nothing in society has changed in the last 50 years; the players are still playing the same roles. Whether it is soldiers (mentioned in the book), unappreciated and still fighting in endless wars, or the misunderstood global elite, oblivious and still living in a tiny gold fishbowl, it seems life is difficult whether you are or aren't born with a silver spoon in your mouth.
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