Heiress to a big chunk of her family's multimillion-dollar newspaper, radio and TV-station empire, the author of this powerful, mesmerizing autobiography tells a tale of disillusionment. Growing up on a claustrophobic estate in Louisville, Ky., she was protected by a controlling, perfectionist mother, black servants, her own emotional withdrawal and by ``useful lies'' that shielded her from unpleasant realities. But those realitiesher distant father's alleged links to covert government operations, her family's perceived racist and anti-Semitic attitudes, the Old South's pervasive sexismhad a way of constantly intruding. Writing with charm, poise and controlled fury, Bingham weaves a multi-generational saga and profiles a destructive patriarchal pattern that culminated after two of her brothers died accidentally and she became locked in a power struggle with her surviving brother. The ensuing scandal triggered her father's sale of the Louisville Courier-Journal in 1986 . Through it all, the author maintains her clarity of vision as she becomes a teacher, playwright and mother of two sons, and sheds the role of submissive Southern belle she was expected to fulfill. Photos. 35,000 first printing. (Jan.)
This is another version of the ``What Happened to the Binghams'' story. It is told here by the oldest daughter of Barry Bingham Sr., the man who owned a media empire in Louisville, Kentucky, and finally sold it to keep peace in the family. Bingham begins with her earliest memories of life on the Place, where she and her siblings were raised to be Southern ladies and gentlemen. Sallie Bingham's refusal to resign from company boards when her brother, Barry Jr., demanded that she do so, was, in his opinion, not proper behavior for a Southern woman. It caused a family rift and led to her father's decision to sell the companies, including the renowned Courier-Journal . This is a well-written and occasionally thoughtful book that gives an interesting picture of life in a wealthy Southern family. Not essential, however.-- Rebecca Wondriska, Trinity Coll. Lib., Hartford, Ct.