The author profiles her relatives with the same sensitivity she brought to biographies of Montgomery Clift and Diane Arbus. She pays tribute to the liberal idealism that led her father, Bartley C. Crum, to defend unpopular leftists at home and Jewish refugees desperate to get into Palestine abroad, even as she depicts his lengthy absences and financial carelessness wreaking havoc on his wife and children. Patricia Bosworth's portraits of her unhappy, adulterous mother and withdrawn, suicidal brother are equally nuanced. The subtitle says it all: "An American Family Story."
From Library Journal
Writers of familial reminiscences often reveal a taste for treacly superlatives and insincere endearments. No such charge can be leveled here against Bosworth (e.g., Diane Arbus, LJ 6/1/84), the daughter of Bartley C. Crum. Crum was perhaps best known as one of the six lawyers who defended the Hollywood Ten when the House Un-American Activities Committee was pursuing its investigations of the "Communist peril" at the start of the Cold War in 1947. In presenting the story of Crum's remarkable career as lawyer to such notables as Rita Hayworth, adviser to President Truman, publisher of a liberal tabloid, and champion of the First Amendment, Bosworth maintains an admirable combination of sympathetic understanding and never-cold detachment. One feels that she has accomplished what she evidently set out to do: come to terms with her brother's and her father's suicides and reconcile herself to her father's having named names to prove his own loyalty. An engrossing study of personalities and motivations; strongly recommended.?A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston
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