Coauthor with David Horowitz of books on the Rockefellers et al., Collier here offers a probing biography of the prominent acting family. The Fondas are shown as individuals quite different from their applauded characterizations on screen and stage. The late Henry Fonda's stellar performances epitomized the gentle hero, yet his second wife, Frances, mother of Jane and Peter, committed suicide. Both children, affected by their father's indifference to them, competed for his attention, according to Collier. Peter won, at least briefly, when he starred in the blockbuster film Easy Rider. But his career later stalled and he took to drugs and womanizing. Jane, in her turn, became a smash hit in movies, then became a controversial figure as a Vietnam protester. She emerges as the most pitiable of the three Fondas in the book, a star who has failed to find ``authenticity as a person.'' Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Vanity Fair; BOMC selection. (Jan.)
Collier, who has coauthored family biographies of the Fords ( LJ 11/15/87), Kennedys ( LJ 9/15/84), and Rockefellers ( LJ 4/1/76), has written an incisive study of the Fonda family: the patriarch, Henry, whose strong, calm demeanor hid any emotion; the druggie son Peter, who was never able to repeat the success of his counterculture epic Easy Rider ; and the superstar daughter Jane, whose several personas, Collier maintains, have each been the handiwork of a powerful man in her life. This is a more rounded portrait of Jane and the family than Christopher Andersen's Citizen Jane ( LJ 5/15/90). Still, no punches are pulled in depicting the excesses of both Jane and Peter, who, according to Collier, never recovered from the suicide of their mother, and alternated between rebelling against their withdrawn father and trying to get his attention. A well-written, readable addition to overworked territory. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/90.-- Marcia L. Perry, Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, Mass.