Reflected Glory

( 1 )


English debutante Pamela Digby first came into the public eye when she married Churchill's dissolute son Randolph. While he was overseas in World War II, she had an affair with Averell Harriman, the first in a line of wealthy and prominent men - including Jock Whitney, Prince Aly Khan, Gianni Agnelli, Elie de Rothschild, and Stavros Niarchos - who supported her over the next two decades. She found legitimacy as the wife of Broadway producer Leland Hayward and became wealthy when she married Harriman on the eve of...
See more details below
$29.84 price
(Save 19%)$36.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (84) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $26.06   
  • Used (77) from $1.99   
Reflected Glory

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$15.99 price


English debutante Pamela Digby first came into the public eye when she married Churchill's dissolute son Randolph. While he was overseas in World War II, she had an affair with Averell Harriman, the first in a line of wealthy and prominent men - including Jock Whitney, Prince Aly Khan, Gianni Agnelli, Elie de Rothschild, and Stavros Niarchos - who supported her over the next two decades. She found legitimacy as the wife of Broadway producer Leland Hayward and became wealthy when she married Harriman on the eve of his eightieth birthday. At age sixty she reinvented herself as a kingmaker in the Democratic Party, and more than a decade later was rewarded with an appointment as U.S. Ambassador to France. Smith details how Pamela Harriman, even after she had become independent and respectable to a degree that would have been unimaginable in her party-girl years, burned through the Harriman fortune, prompting her late husband's disgruntled heirs to file a series of lawsuits accusing her of being a "faithless fiduciary." Always a brass-knuckle fighter, she made headlines with a barrage of ironic countersuits - against the family whose name elevated her to Democratic doyenne, the Wall Street brokerage that provided her wealth, and the advisers who had guided her every move. At each stage of Pamela's life, newspapers and magazines recounted her public exploits and amplified her legend. The private moments were equally indelible: playing bezique late at night with Winston Churchill, enlisting Dwight Eisenhower to help in the kitchen at her officers' club during World War II, presiding over lavish dinners at the Riviera estate of Gianni Agnelli, fixing chicken hash at midnight for Leland Hayward and his Broadway stars, talking one-on-one with Bill Clinton in the Oval Office.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Kurt Jensen

Biographers are often knocked for devoting too much attention to pop psychologizing and not enough to "the work" — the accomplishments that justify a book-length treatment of any life. In her tart new unauthorized biography of Pamela Churchill Harriman, biographer Sally Bedell Smith is refreshingly uninterested in exploring the inner child of the current U.S. Ambassador to France. The book has been cleansed of the Freudian spoor that clings to the cracks and footnotes of most current biographies.

This leaves Smith free to poke around in Harriman's thin shelf of "accomplishments" — most notably her ability to make cozy with rich and influential people, primarily men. An early marriage to Winston Churchill's unimpressive son Randolph was followed by marriages to Broadway producer Leland Hayward and, later, the elderly diplomat and Wall Street heir Averell Harriman. Harriman married well, and she dated well: The men in her life also included CBS founder William Paley and Edward R. Murrow. Her marriage to Averell Harriman gave her the Democratic party connections (and the cash) to become a major Washington social figure and fund-raiser, cultivating Bill Clinton among many others as her friends.

Bedell makes it clear that Harriman's abilities as a gadfly outstrip any others she might possess. Reflected Glory is vicious in its small details as well as in its large ones. Did Harriman perhaps possess some unseen talent as a writer? "Her personal correspondence showed scant literary merit," Bedell writes, and as a journalist "her commitment to the craft was thin." In conversation, "she was remembered neither for the originality nor the felicity of her contributions." Was she, then, a woman of bold principle, a political provocateur, on the model of her contemporary Margaret Thatcher? "Her political beliefs shifted along with the men in her life." Then she must have had style? Harriman is variously described as "dumpy" and "a banal milkmaid, a little plump, certainly not beautiful."

It was precisely because she lacked conventionally redeeming traits, that Harriman, Bedell implies, was naturally drawn to politics. Reflected Glory is compulsively readable as Bedell details the rake and shovel of Harriman's busy PAC, and the final painful spectacle of her gropings toward respectability — an ambition which culminated in her appointment as an ambassador in 1993. "A lot of French," remarks a source, "were puzzled."

Solidly researched, smoothly written and full of tangy revelations, Reflected Glory is a fascinating study of the triumph of mediocrity — and mediocrity's particular affinity to late 20th-century American democracy. -- Salon

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1994, Christopher Ogden, employed by Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman to ghost her autobiography, published Life of the Party. When she balked at exposing the spicier side of her career, he went ahead on his own, using her taped interviews, but legally he could quote nothing. Smith, another unauthorized biographer, quotes little from Harriman, written or vocal, for similar reasons, but 400 of her acquaintances cooperated, resulting in a deeply informed and revelatory study. Smith (All His Glory: The Life of William S. Paley) has done further homework in financial and court papers and in the diaries, letters and memoirs of contemporaries. Had it not been for Ogden's preemptive strike, Smith's intensely detailed biography of the least sedate of American ambassadors--British-born Pamela Harriman, now 76, represents the U.S. in Paris--would be even more explosive. Perhaps only in France, where premiers and presidents often have publicly acknowledged mistresses, would she be acceptable, even admired, as an envoy. Bedding her way to wealth and power, the resourceful red-haired beauty wed Randolph Churchill, Leland Hayward and Averell Harriman, filling in the interstices between marriages with Edward R. Murrow (her only unmoneyed lover), Gianni Agnelli, Aly Khan, Elie de Rothschild and other deep-pocketed admirers. Said one observer: "She could make a man, not just in bed. She stretched a man's horizons." Austerity was never her cup of tea, nor was familial loyalty to the children and grandchildren inherited from two American husbands. Her lifestyle, Smith contends, was always based on self-aggrandizement. As a former Hayward wife remarked, "Pam Churchill thought she would marry [Fiat heir] Agnelli, so she became a Catholic on spec." Brushing aside her reputation as grande cocotte, a French friend scoffed, "Everyone has a past. It is who she is today that counts." Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Vanity Fair. (Nov.)
Library Journal
In this fully documented biography of a modern-day courtesan, Smith (In All His Glory: The Life of William S. Paley, S. & S., 1990) reveals details and anecdotes extracted from 800 interviews (using 400 named sources) to animate the extraordinary Harriman and her relationships, whether personal, public, or political. The English debutante, born in 1920 and until very recently claiming France as her latest conquest as U.S. ambassador there, has led many lives. Her reputations as "wartime hostess, international femme fatale, show business wife, diplomat's consort..., and American ambassador" evolved with her marriages to three famous men: Randolph Churchill, Leland Hayward, and Averell Harriman. Smith recounts all aspects of this female whirlwind with a straightforward reporting style yet impels us to follow Harriman's continuing saga. Although an interview with Harriman would have lent more credence to her work, Smith paints a portrait with less bias than Christopher Ogden's unauthorized Life of the Party (Little, Brown, 1994). This work lends itself well to a public library's biography section. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/96.]Kay Meredith Dusheck, Univ of Iowa, Iowa City
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684835631
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 7/8/1997
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 578,540
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)