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In Her Sister's Shadow: An Intimate Biography of Lee Radziwill Mass Market Paperback – May, 1997

3.9 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lee Bouvier Radziwill's lifelong rivalry with her older sister, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was intrinsic to each woman's identity and fueled their individuality, according to this perceptive, unauthorized biography. New York-based freelance journalist DuBois portrays Radziwill as a desperately insecure, manipulative yet vulnerable woman whose descent into alcoholism multiplied her woes and left her children, Anthony and Tina, adrift and forlorn. Her recovery was assisted by third husband Herbert Ross, the Hollywood director, whom she wed in 1988 after two unhappy marriages-first to drunken homebody Michael Canfield, adopted son of publisher Cass Canfield, and next to Polish emigre prince Stanislas Radziwill, a London real estate mogul with whom, she belatedly discovered, she had little in common. DuBois traces her subject's insecurity to her divorcing parents-the alcoholic, philandering Wall Street stockbroker John Bouvier III and the ambitious, dominant Janet Norton Lee-who used their daughters as instruments of revenge in a bitter, ongoing feud. DuBois nicely sets Lee Radziwill's social whirl with Rudolf Nureyev, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Diana Vreeland against a disconcerting portrait of a "soul of bluff and illusion." Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 373 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Mass Market Paper (May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312962371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312962371
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,481,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If Lee Radziwell is ever referred to, it is usually in minor passages in Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biographies; a minor character in the overblown legend of the Kennedy dynasty. Yet "In Her Sister's Shadow" offers a new view of Lee Radziwell and the parallels to her more famous sister.
The book covers Lee Radziwell's three marriages, two children, and multiple careers ranging from an author to an interior decorator to an actress. It also covers the unspoken rivalry between her and Jacqueline Kennedy. Though Lee was often considered the prettier and more interesting of the two, her sister became an internationally beloved figure. Lee's quest for happiness, glamour and fame is the central focus of this biography.
Upon finishing this book, it is easy to see parallels between Jackie and Lee: both married powerful men, both were reputed to be difficult to get along with, both thrived in glamour and fashionable circles. Yet Lee often seems to be the more interesting of the two, simply because she did not have the "Camelot" myth and the Kennedy aura paving her way. She stumbled and fell more often than Jackie, and her repeated attempts to pick herself up make her a more real and interesting person.
The writing style is somewhat gossipy, though not as explicit as is usual in Kennedy-related biographies. When love affairs and marriages are referred to, the references are usually tasteful and discreet, except for the description of an obscene art exhibit made by Truman Capone. The photos are excellent, displaying Lee in a variety of places and settings and in the different stages of her life, as well as ones of her children and ex-husbands.
Overall this is an intriguing read about an interesting woman who has been overshadowed for years by her sister. While readers may not truly like Lee when they are finished, it is difficult not to admire her.
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By A Customer on December 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read several biographies on Jacqueline Kennedy and I was intrigued when I heard that one had been written about her sister, Lee. I read this book and enjoyed the gossipy details about the 1960s jet set and Camelot. However, this biography begins with Lee's first visit to AA in 1981 but never mentions her drinking again until more than halfway through. Then there's a brief chapter about her problem drinking and then it's dropped again. It just seemed to me that the author used the AA story line to snag the reader when that was unnecessary. Ms. Radziwill had/has a fascinating,privileged life. That is reason enough to read the book. Some of the stories were so bitchy that one must discount them at least partially. But there's enough there which rings with truth to keep you entertained.
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It's old, and I had to order it in paperback, but, in my opinion, this is one of the best books on the Bouvier sisters ever written. Ms. Dubois gathered quotes and anecdotes from practically everyone Radziwill knew in her lifetime. Universally disliked, Radziwill is an aristocratic gold-digger extraordinaire and when she marries Herbert Ross the reader finds out the lengths to which Radziwill will go to in order to finance her lavish lifestyle. I recently read an interview with Radziwill where she trashed the memory of Ross, her last husband and I thought, "Par for the course." He died shortly after their divorce without hearing from her, except to squabble over a house in East Hampton. She knew he was dying and she figured she'd wait it out, thereby robbing Ross' children of the sole remaining asset of his estate. What a shameless, sad person she is. She lacked the warmth that her sister had, as well as the charisma. Jackie, a compassionate woman, cut her sister completely out of her will when she died, though, interestingly, she set up trust funds for Radziwill's children. That, alone, should tell you the type of person Lee Radziwill is.
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Candid look at an inherently uninteresting self-obsessed person who lived a troubled life through interesting times.
Quick read.
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If you can't get enough of stories on Jackie Onassis you will love this twist of a story on her sister, Lee. Entertaining with its' mix of past characters in history such as Andy Warhol and Truman Capote.
I wish there were more photos-
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I found this book interesting if somewhat depressing. However, I still liked it. I feel that Lee Radziwell could have done so much more with her life. This was an objective study of a truly wasted life.
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Very disturbing and scandalous book on the life of Princess Lee Radziwill (sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) will leave many wondering what went wrong in her life. From her childhood years in New York to the present day, Diana Dubois paints an unflattering picture of the second most famous Bouvier sister. With the resecent death of her son Anthony (he passed away from cancer only two weeks shortly after the death of his beloved cousin, John F. Kennedy Jr. in a plane crash) the lives of Lee and Jackie are eerily similar. Married to powerful men, considered regal in social circles, each had a son and a daughter, etc.. Lee's life as a primadonna will leave many with negative thoughts for years to come. If you are into sensationalism, this book is for you.
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I think we can say, without making any mistake, that Lee Radziwill is a ''courtisane''. At one point in her life she became Onassis's lover while she was still married to Prince Radziwill... she was certainly after Onassis's money and power. There would have been a King available somewhere, she would have gone after him. That's what we call a ''courtisane''. In my opinion, her behavior is rather erratic and far from noble. Into that world of privilege and money, that kind of behavior is not unusual. That being said, Diana DuBois wrote a very interesting book.
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