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Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion
Isabella Blow: A Life in Fashion
by Lauren Goldstein Crowe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.20
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF ON AND ON, October 13, 2012
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Regardless of what critics say, I liked both Detmar Blow and Ms. Crowe's book equally. Each added something the other left out or didn't know about.

Having lived in London in the 'Swinging 60s', I knew gals like Isabella. My roommate, married to a Lord, (separated at the time)showed the same lack of judgement. While quite well off financially, I would come home to find the heat turned off in the middle of winter and the pipes frozen. She had forgotten to mail the check to the proper authorities. It had been made out, just not mailed.

Life with Lady Roommate was interesting, to say the least. The time Omar Sharif phoned to say one of his polo ponies in France wasn't well and he couldn't fly over to London for dinner that evening. Of course he didn't identify himself on the phone or I would have volunteered to fly to Paris immediately to help nurse the pony back to health. This message conveyed to Lady Roommate upon her breathless arrival that night was, "Oh, ___. Omar really loves those da-- ponies!" Omar?

Halfway through this book, reading about the incredible amounts of money various fashion publications gave out to Ms. Blow, I sat straight up and said, "Why the heck didn't they just fire her from day one?" Wild and extravagant parties and photo shoots and designer clothes, the best make-up and hair, the most expensive shoes, food and travel. If Donald Trump lived like this he would be broke in a year. No one stopped her!

According to this book she married Detmar Blow for his stately home, not Detmar. Detmar married Isabella not because he adored her but because she was supposed to inherit quite a bit after her father died. Didn't happen. That was when the serious problems began for both of them.

The author goes into great detail describing her homes and the weekend parties held there. Very visual. Is there anyone out there who wouldn't give their next paycheck to be invited just once? I'd give up two.

No one mentions that ugly monster menopause madness in books like this. Remember the film 'Tom & Viv' in which author T.S. Elliot's wife goes round the bend at a certain point and has to be put away? Same with Ms. Blow. It's hormones, dear. There was really no need for all the prescription drugs and, heaven help us, shock treatment. If she had seen a good gyno he/she could have re-arranged her hormones and chemicals so she would not be so manic and depressed. But she didn't and she died by her own hand. From weed killer, no less. A dreadful, sad, painful, slow death.

This is the kind of book I enjoy reading on a rainy weekend or a cold night. Is anyone considering making a movie of her life? Their choice of an actress to play Isabella will probably be someone totally wrong for the part. Hollywood seldom gets it right.

By her funeral you are so exhausted from all the drama you can't feel anything. She complains throughout her adult life that she discovers great talent and puts them on the map and she ends up with nothing while they go on to become millionaires and a household name. Well? Whose fault was that? Instead of working for nothing she should have opened her own public relations firm. No, she opens an art gallery instead.

Halfway through this woe-is-me saga, I found myself refreshing my wine glass more often than usual. By gawd, if I must finish this book I can't do it sober! I was pretty sloshed by the last page. If I couldn't read about her life without help, what must it have been like for her to live it for real?

All in all, it's a fun read.


Paris: The Luminous Years - Toward the Making of the Modern
Paris: The Luminous Years - Toward the Making of the Modern
DVD ~ Perry Miller Adato
Price: $14.96
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN ASTOUNDING GLIMPSE OF A WORLD WE WILL NEVER SEE AGAIN, September 25, 2012
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Since I retired 4 1/2 yrs. ago, I have gone through various 'phases' in reading and study. I am now in my 'artists of the world' phase.

I just finished watching this film which, by the way, is not 120 minutes but an hour and 55 minutes. Not a frame wasted on trivia. A four year university education in two hours. I have never seen an art film with more information than this one has.

Woody Allen must have watched this documentary before writing his wonderful film, 'Midnight In Paris.' All the usual suspects are here. Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Ernest Hemingway, Picasso, Braque, Chagal, Aaron Copland, Leonide Massine, Stravinsky, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce and on and on.

Lady Paris has no bad angles. She never takes a bad photograph. Footage from 100 years ago looks as if it was filmed last month. Paris has not changed that much since the French, Russian, Spanish artists lived there in the teens and 20s making their art and enscribing their names in the book of eternity.

For someone like myself, or a young student, who is an art novice, this film is an enclyclopedia of knowledge on the time and the brilliant people who inhabited this creative period.

After watching this parade of genius on film, I come away from this experience with a heavy heart. No one has made a similar documentary that covers the American artists from the 1930s to 2000. Thirty years from now when we are all gone, how will my grandchild and her children learn about Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, Keith Haring and their contemporaries? Were these men the last great artists in the US? Who is there at this moment who is their equal?

There are films on Andy Warhol that are available from many sources. A couple of short films with Jackson Pollock. Where are the films with Lee Krasner, Elaine and Bill de Kooning? Someone should interview our contemporary artists now and showcase their work on film before time passes by and we have lost the chance to immortalize them as this film has immortalized the great European artists of the 20th Century.

What a spectacular and enlightening film. I know I will be watching it again and again through the years. You cannot learn all there is to know in one sitting.


Love Affair: A Memoir of Jackson Pollock
Love Affair: A Memoir of Jackson Pollock
by Ruth Kligman
Edition: Paperback
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I WANT TO BELIEVE HER STORY IS TRUE!, August 14, 2012
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UPDATE: 11-08-2013 My faith in Ms. Kligman has paid off. It was announced today that private and reputable labs that work only in authenticating works of art have declared this painting as being Jackson Pollock's final work!!! She was telling the truth all along! Could not be happier!

ORIGINAL REVIEW
I knew when I read Lesley M. M. Blume's wonderful article in the Sept. 2012 VANITY FAIR magazine entitled, THE CANVAS & THE TRIANGLE, about the late Ruth Kligman's small Pollock painting, that I would be back 'on' the Jackson Pollock bandwagon. Amazon.com can attest that since reading this story in early August, I have bought just about every Pollock, Krasner book, DVDs and Kligman's personal narrative of their affair.

This VANITY FAIR piece centers around a small painting that Ms. Kligman (in her later years) passed off as an authentic Pollock. She claimed he painted this, with her watching, during their time together shortly before his death. It is up for auction soon and no one can authenticate it. The painting in question is on the cover of Ms. Kligman's book. It certainly looks like a Pollock. When I first saw the painting, it immediately reminded me of his work, The Wooden Horse #10A, painted in 1948. There are a lot of similarities in the two.

As I said in my title, I want to believe this is authentic. I want to believe her story is true, as well.

The book is a quick read. You won't be bothered by the history of art in America, or talk about which artist shows at what gallery. She's young, she's pretty, ambitious, doesn't feel like one of the real people 'cause she wasn't born a WASP. Or something like that. She works part-time at a nothing art gallery in NYC. She studies art at night. Wants to meet only the top artists. Someone turns her on to the Cedar Tavern Bar in the Village. It's where all the art stars hang out.

Pollock, who is living on Long Island, comes to the city (Manhattan) on Monday to see his shrink. Uh, what? As luck would have it, this young lady ALSO sees her shrink but four times a week! We are never told WHY she has to see a shrink that often, but we assume her life is a mess. OK?

She goes to the Cedar Bar one Monday and meets Pollock. The rest, as they say, is history. She calls him at the bar the following Monday and he is so thrilled and delighted to hear from her again, 'cause she didn't give him her telephone number, that he rushes right over to her apartment. Of course they fly into bed. And they aren't even on a date!

Time flies by quickly and whamo! Pollock has decided that he wants to marry her and have a child with her. Lee Krasner, his wife, the woman who put him on the map? Don't worry about Lee. She will understand. I'll give her a big settlement and we can all three live together. Lee can live in the small house next to where they currently abide as husband and wife! You will live with me in the big house that Lee slaved over for decades. She'll understand.

Well, big surprise, Lee Krasner Pollock does NOT understand and chews the paint off the wall when she learns of Ms. Kligman. 'It's her or me, Pollock," she screams. He's kinda confused now, so this is a perfect time for Lee to go to Europe for the summer. Let lover boy remain at the house to figure out what the next step is.

Ruth moves into the house recently vacated by Lee. She can't cook, by the way. They eat out every night. Jackson does the cooking when they stay home. But, she's great in the sack, so that momentarily makes up for her lack of cooking skills. He foolishly takes her to a party at the home of Clement Greenberg, Lee Krasner's dear friend. And, guess what? Everyone at the party totally ignores Ruth! Didn't see that coming! Wow.

Fast forward a bit. Ruth realizes none of Pollock's friends will ever accept her. Lee Krasner is never going to divorce Pollock. He has become so obsessed with her that she lies to him to get a two day vacation from him in NYC. Her shrink, who has been in Europe for the summer, has returned. Only, of course, this is a lie. She is now torn. She wants to ditch Pollock and get on with her life, but he is soooo neeedy!!! She invites her good friend (from her hair salon) Edith Metzger, to return with her for the weekend. And, we all know what transpired next. Pollock drinks gin all day, goes off the rail mentally, and kills himself and poor innocent Edith in a car accident. Klingman somehow survives to tell the story for the rest of her very long life. Whew.

Only recently did I learn that, after Pollocks demise, she went on to bed De Kooning, as well. I don't know what they called this back in the 50s, but in the 60s we called women like this 'star _____' and 'groupies.'

In this book we finally see Jackson Pollock as a human being. He is not an artist, drunk, emotionally disturbed, or all the cliches that have been used to describe him over the ages. He is a flesh and blood, heavy breathing, sexy man in love. And Ms. Kligman is the object of his affections.

In Ed Harris's film POLLOCK, Ruth appears in the last ten minutes (if that) of the film. No explanation. No teaser of what's to come. Wham. There she is being picked up at the train station in the Hamptons by Pollock in his flashy, hot-to-trot roadster. You are left in limbo concerning the depth and origin of their affair as the credits roll.

I was surprised to learn in the first chapter that she met the great Broadway producer, David Merrick. And, I might add, slept with him on their first date. But, of course, Merrick was no Jackson Pollock! She had her sights set pretty high.

There is no doubt that she thought very highly of herself as a great beauty. She says as much in the book. However, in all honesty, she was a real Liz Taylor look-alike. Stunning. In later life, appearing in various Pollock documentaries, she talks through clinched teeth. Was this a result of her automobile accident with Pollock? Strange to watch.

The film I want to see made (listening, Mr. Harris?) is a sequel to POLLOCK. I would love to see Lee Krasner's life on film. Marcia Gay Harden could reprise her role as Lee, and we could see her life play out as artist, wife and widow. I truly hope, in my lifetime, this comes to pass. Gail Levin's bio on Ms. Krasner is a joy to read. Simply outstanding. Buy it!

If you admire Pollock and Krasner (and the art scene of the 50s) you will enjoy reading this book. It humanizes Pollock in a way no other book has. You come away happy knowing that, in his final months of life, he was truly in love. There are biographies on Pollock that claim after two weeks with her he was sending Lee roses in Europe trying to win her back. According to the authors, he could not live without Lee. I have to believe that at the moment of his violent death, he was in love with Ruth. Otherwise the book is meaningless.

January 2012 was his 100th birthday. He endures.


Duchess of Windsor - Mouse Mat Art247 Highest Quality Natural Rubber Mouse Mats - Mouse Mat
Duchess of Windsor - Mouse Mat Art247 Highest Quality Natural Rubber Mouse Mats - Mouse Mat

5.0 out of 5 stars A PIECE OF ART FOR YOUR COMPUTER DESK, July 29, 2012
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The Duchess of Windsor mousepad arrives from England in excellent condition and looks exactly as advertised above. What a beautiful photograph of the Duchess! Surely it must have been taken by a renowned fashion photographer for a fashion magazine at some point in her later years. It is very sturdy. I glance over at it from time-to-time as I type away during the day. I am delighted with this item and thank Art247 for making it available to those of us in the US who love the Duchess.


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
DVD ~ Gary Oldman
Price: $10.01
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4.0 out of 5 stars BUY IT FOR THE CHRISTMAS SCENE ALONE!, July 19, 2012
This review is from: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (DVD)
Yes, this film was boring in some scenes. The British, heaven love them, are boring people. I know. I are one. The photography is beautiful with muted colors. The soundtrack music is so-so. The acting is pitch-perfect. Casting is a dream. I really like Toby Jones.

There is one scene in the film that makes it worth watching. The workers at British Intelligence have their annual Xmas party. A DJ (chuckle) is provided. Then, out of the blue, a 'Russian Santa' appears dressed in red with the Hammer & Sickle insignia on the front, wearing a Stalin mask. The entire group of British intelligence stand and sing (in Russian) the Russian National Anthem! Didn't see that coming!

When you think about it, it all makes sense. At that time the Cold War was still raging. Without the USSR, these men and women wouldn't have a job! By the way, they have a really soul-stirring national anthem. Quite operatic.


The Woodmans
The Woodmans
DVD ~ Francesca Woodman
Price: $18.64
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FILM PORTRAIT OF A FAMILY OF ARTISTS, June 17, 2012
This review is from: The Woodmans (DVD)
Until today (June 17, 2012) I had never heard of George Woodman, Betty Woodman nor Francesca Woodman. This documentary popped up as a film I might like to watch on Netflix. Having studied photography in the 70s and 80s, I was curious why I had never heard of Francesca Woodman nor seen her work. She killed herself in 1980 in her early 20's.

This beautifully photographed film introduces you to artist George Woodman, his wife Betty who is famous for her work in pottery and clay. Son Charles is involved in multi-media art.

The story begins in Colorado where the Woodman's lived and worked. George, a WASP, married Betty, who is Jewish. He says his family did not approve. They probably wouldn't have approved of him marrying a Catholic, either. This was 60 or so years ago. Obviously, this marriage worked on many levels. In the film Betty declares she could not love any man who did not create art. They move to NYC in the early 80s and buy a rustic country house in Italy, too. These are not struggling artists, and appear never to have been.

Betty and George spend all day and every waking moment making art and thinking about art. "Very needy," is how Francesca is described by everyone in the film. Of course she was. She was on the lowest rung on the Totem pole in her artistic family. First George, then Betty, then Charlie and then Francesca. She goes off to art school back East and her father gives her one of his old cameras. She finds her voice and purpose in life.

She becomes her parents. She becomes obsessed with taking photographs. Composing them in her mind, her eyes, and then, in reality. She is the focal point in virtually all of them. She takes thousands of frames of nudes of herself in various poses and places. She speaks in a little girl voice on tape. She moves to NYC to an apt. that appears to be a loft of some kind. NYC is not always kind to creative people. Some flourish and others die on the vine.

Francesca morphs into one of the many privileged women photographers who have had a life of ease since birth, friends who praise them, beautiful times in Italy and beyond, time and space to photograph and hone their craft, and they kill themselves. She felt she was a genius and should be recognized as such. Been there, done that. Understand her frustration because all artists look at their work and think they're unique and should be celebrated. Including myself.

The 'Art World' has always dwelled on artists who take their own lives, or die young from overdoses or accidents. While the spotlight and attention is focused on people like Francesca, hundreds of thousands of American artists from all creative outlets struggle to be seen. There is astounding talent in this country that none of us will ever see because they are not controversial, unstable emotionally, or drug-addled.

I wish there was an entity in this country that would publicize American artists who have an outstanding talent and not someone the media feels is 'interesting.' 'Art' in this country is owned by media conglomerates, not the art galleries. Millions of dollars are spent yearly on art/photography/dance schools by parents. The artist graduates and has nowhere to go. Lofts are not affordable any longer. There seems to be a war against creativity these days, and the landlords are winning.

In the scenes with her parents talking about her suicide, no tears are shed, but you feel the grief that has chewed its way into their bones. This film was made in 2010, 30 years after her death. The father says, "Well, you know it was a hard day for her. She had just learned she did not get the government grant she applied for and someone stole her bicycle." Her mother says she has never gone near the feelings of guilt she felt. She was so consumed with making art she lived in her own little world. Still does. George is in his late 70's and Betty is in her early 80's. Still making art. Betty has an art installation in the US Embassy in Beijing, China that takes up an entire wall.

A handful of their friends (artists/writers/childhood friends)speak of Francesca's frailty. I cannot imagine being a member of a family of artists and trying to fit in and make my own way and say, "Hey, look at me! I have talent, too!" The artist friends speak of how modern her photography looks and how the world of art finally caught up with her. How ahead-of-her time she was.

In the early 70s, my next door neighbor in Greenwich Village was a young Austrian photographer who was already making photographs like Francesca's. Virtually the same ones. Like Francesca, she thought she should be recognized and shown in NYC art galleries. Unlike Francesca, she did not kill herself. She became anorexic and severely depressed and had to be hospitalized. She eventually returned to Europe where she was exhibited and found a group of people who liked her work. This is the name of the game. In order to have your work truly appreciated you have to be dead by your own hand or a total emotional mess. That makes good press. You are then considered exotic, eccentric, tightly-coiled.

I enjoyed this film because it introduced me to the Woodman family and their work. I never would have heard about them had I not stumbled upon this film. George and Betty seem incredibly kind and soft-spoken. They live in their own little world and always have. They are obviously not the type to frequent all the A-List Art Celebrity parties. They are not the see-and-be-seen type, it appears. Their entire lives have been dedicated to making art. An obsession, to be sure.

Through the years it has always frustrated me beyond words to discover an artist or photographer's work only to learn they killed themselves long ago. If Francesca had just matured more as an artist, tried a little patience, endured, she would be alive today to enjoy the fruits of her labor. You will come away from this film angry, confused and yes, dazed. But it is so worth the journey.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2012 10:46 AM PDT


Marilyn Monroe Confidential: An Intimate Personal Account
Marilyn Monroe Confidential: An Intimate Personal Account
by Lena Pepitone
Edition: Hardcover
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE AUTHOR DIED IN JUNE 2011 AT THE AGE OF 86, June 3, 2012
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I bought this book the year it came out and recently bought it again to refresh my memory on the last years of Marilyn's life, from someone who worked for her in her NYC apartment, and saw her daily.

On a Marilyn Monroe internet site, the site owner mentions Lena's passing (of natural causes) and that she had tried to talk with her at an upstate NY event but that 'she spoke little English.' Huh?! Ms. Pepitone came to the US as a young girl and was married with children when she met Marilyn. If she had not spoken English the agency she worked for would never have sent her to Marilyn's house. The 50th anniversary of Marilyn's death is this year and still the falsehoods continue.

Like everyone else who has read this book (and there are legions I am sure) I tried to put myself in Lena's shoes. Am I going to work for a woman (famous or not) who never wears clothes? A woman who spends all day drinking splits of champagne? Someone who appears to be the neediest human on earth? I, personally, could not have done her job under the circumstances. But good for her! She overlooked a heck of a lot working for Marilyn. I don't think about what she wrote, I think about what she DIDN'T write!

The Kennedy brothers don't come up until the last chapter and even then they are dismissed as totally unimportant in Marilyn's life and the scheme of things. Marilyn told her the rumors about her and the Prez were not true. How was she to know? With regard to the child she had as a teen-ager and gave up for adoption against her will, she told some people it was a boy and others it was a girl. Was this a total figment of her imagination? Why didn't she make attempts to find this child when she became famous and had the finances to do so?

I enjoyed this book the first time years and years ago and even more now. Pitiful beyond words, Marilyn Monroe or Norma Jean Baker, becomes a flesh and bones person. Had she lived she surely would have ended up like her mother and grandmother in a mental hospital, based on all of the books written about her by men and women she knew professionally and personally. Her demons became stronger as she grew older. She made her exit from the stage of life right on cue. 50 years later she is still loved, written about and spoken about. She died with her beauty intact and will remain in her 30s for all eternity.

I loved this book because the lady who wrote it was an every day person like me. She obviously loved Marilyn and was there for her as much as Marilyn would allow her to be. Yes, Marilyn Monroe was the Drama Queen to end all drama queens. But she earned her title the hard way through life experience and pain.


Marilyn At Rainbow's End: Sex, Lies, Murder, and the Great Cover-up
Marilyn At Rainbow's End: Sex, Lies, Murder, and the Great Cover-up
by Darwin Porter
Edition: Paperback
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When You Self Publish & Everyone Is Dead, You Can Write Anything!, May 26, 2012
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As much as I like Mr. Porter's books, you really can't take them as 'gospel.'

In this book, James Dean tells Marilyn (at Fire Island, no less) that while filming Giant with Elizabeth Taylor & Rock Hudson, he took a leak in front of 200 townspeople. Duh! James Dean DIED only days after filming Giant! How on earth could he be talking to Marilyn Monroe about it?! This is just one of numerous errors in the book. Such as the quote, "Jack will never leave Ethel." Did anyone proof read this before it was published?

As with all of his other 'biographies' of famous actors and celebrities, everyone sleeps with everyone else. Male, female, doesn't matter. Names are dropped on each page and they are quoted so precisely that Mr. Porter had to be a fly on the wall! Every person quoted in this book is dead. There is no one written about in this 'novel' to sue because they are gone!

You come away from reading this very long book (all his books are hundreds of pages) with the knowledge that Milton Berle was not the only 'star' with a super big bat. Not that it matters 'cause they died years ago! He needs to write a book about current actors who are well-endowed so some lucky gal (or guy) can find out for themselves if the information is correct. He can't. He'll be sued.

I give it 4 Stars because it IS entertaining. A perfect Summer beach or long weekend read. It's Memorial Day Weekend and between cookouts I am cramming in a few chapters.

The 'usual suspects' of much-quoted actors and actresses line the pages. Quotes from the 50s that didn't come into being until the 70s like, "You mean he made you an offer you couldn't refuse?" She died 10 years before this was written by Mario Puzo. But it's in the book. There are many, many mistakes. However, if you're in your 20's or 30's, you may not catch them. You wouldn't know the history timeline involved. Needless to say, the names of the Mafia guys will go way over everyone's head.

He names the men who murdered Marilyn and how they murdered her. Their murder weapon (an enema hose) has been written about before in other books or magazine articles. In this book, during the murder, there were people present in her house! Her housekeeper and the housekeeper's son! The Mafia was many things, but sloppy they weren't!

Mr. Porter did a great deal of research on Marilyn's films and her life. He must have read half a library on Peter Lawford, the Kennedy brothers, Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio, and on and on and on. However, this doesn't mean what he has written is true or accurate. He sort of made up the dialogue as he went along. Which means, he's an excellent writer with a wonderful imagination. And those two assets are why his celebrity tell-alls are successful. You know they're total fabrications, but you don't care. Porter's books are total escapism of the best kind. And with all the negativity bombarding us 24/7 these days from all over the world, isn't that really what we yearn for?

The one truth that shines throughout all the biographies about Marilyn's life is that if she had been a secretary or waitress, she would have been put in a mental hospital very early in her life, and would have never been released. She was a very, very emotionally disturbed person. Everyone connected with her personally and professionally knew this. But she made so much money for them they sheltered us from just how bad off she was. Whether she overdosed on her own or was murdered, she never would have seen 40.

I distinctly remember how off-the-rails she was just before her death. Modern Screen, Photoplay, all the film mags were full of photographs of her romance with her Mexican lover and drunken appearance in Sinatra photos. She had been fired from Something's Got To Give and she looked 50 years old. The book claims she was far from over in Hollywood. Like almost everything in the book, it was wishful thinking. A Disney ending we all wish had been true.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 9, 2012 5:52 PM PDT


Emissary of the Doomed: Bargaining for Lives in the Holocaust
Emissary of the Doomed: Bargaining for Lives in the Holocaust
by Ronald Florence
Edition: Hardcover
33 used & new from $1.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE DOMINO EFFECT, May 8, 2012
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I found this book on amazon.com as a result of reading Tivadar Soros' book, MASKERADO-Dancing Around Death In Nazi Hungary. A must read. I knew nothing of the Hungarian Jews in WWII and his book introduced me to what their lives were like when the Nazis invaded the country.

That book led me to numerous other books on the men in charge (from Germany) of the Hungarian Jews. Eichmann, Himmler, I knew from history books 50 years ago. EMISSARY OF THE DOOMED by Ronald Florence opened the door all the way. This book is so well-written and so well-documented there is little room for me to doubt the authenticity of what he writes about from that period of time. The day the Jews in Budapest had to begin wearing the yellow Star of David on their clothes was two days before my second birthday!

Hungarian men that I, as a non-Jew, never heard of vividly come to life in this story. Joel Brand would have been made a Saint by the Catholic Church had he been Catholic. Amazing, amazing bravery and the deepest possible love for his fellow Jews. I usually finish a book in a day or two, but I lingered over this book for days and days. I made notes. I memorized passages. This book answers so many questions I have had over the decades about why the Nazis got away with murdering millions of Jews, Christians, Gypsies, and other 'undesirables.'

This book led me to Anna Porter's KASZTNER'S TRAIN about one of the key players in Florence's book. He, along with Brand, met with Eichmann in Hungary to find a way to buy the lives of as many Jews as possible. Eichmann tells Brand that if he can get 10,000 trucks from the British or US, he will spare the lives of a million Jews. Brand is not a politician or government official. How can he possibly do this? The book gives you the answers.

Brand goes to Turkey to meet with Zionist leaders living in Palestine. In Turkey he tells Jewish leaders the stories of the camps and tells them, on Page 145, "Six million Jews have been murdered." Is this statement the origin of our understanding over the years that six million Jews died? As it was not even 1945, how could he have given that number? The camps had not been closed.

It is obvious in the storyline that the Zionist leaders, as well as American and British officials did not believe Brand, Kasztner and others when they spoke of the camps and what was happening there. Men who managed to escape Auschwitz also spoke to Jewish leaders outside Hungary about what they endured. No one believed them. Brand wants to speak to the top leaders in Palestine but is prevented from doing so. Eichmann sends him to Turkey and gives him two weeks to get the 10,000 trucks. Brand is thought to be a German spy by British/US/Jewish authorities. He talks for ten hours with the Zionist leaders telling them everything he knew and/or had heard.

It is an incredibly frustrating book to read because while he is in Turkey to obtain money, trucks, anything he can bring back to the Nazi leaders in Hungary, thousands of Jews are dying every day in the camps. It is one thing to be sitting on a sofa reading the book in 2012. It is something else to be Joel Brand in 1944 trying to save his wife, children, family and the lives of his friends and fellow Jews. No one wants to hear what he has to say.

EMISSARY OF THE DOOMED is a book that should be read in every high school throughout the world. It is a recent book (2010) and has information that I have not read in other books on the subject. As the years pass, governments open up secret files that, until today, have been considered highly confidential. There is much more to learn in years to come. A lot of information will be released, but, unfortunately, not in my lifetime. At least I have this book. By the end of the book (Pg 290) you have an ending. Or a beginning, if you like.

It is an incredibly frustrating book to read but so very worth the agony. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who, like me, has so many questions about the European/Hungarian Jews in WWII, but never had the answers. This book comes as close as any one I have read to-date in answering those questions. Mr. Florence is a brilliant writer!


Behind Closed Doors: The Tragic, Untold Story of the Duchess of Windsor
Behind Closed Doors: The Tragic, Untold Story of the Duchess of Windsor
by Hugo Vickers
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from $2.10

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK ANSWERS ALL THE QUESTIONS, March 31, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It is hard to believe that Mr. Vickers was born in 1951. His writings are those of a much older man. In other words, it is as if he was born in the early 1900s. Very mature writer and observer of people and events.

May I echo the sentiments of previous reviewers who complain about all of the French in this book. There are copious footnotes on every page. I wish Mr. Vickers had taken the time to translate the French into English in the footnotes. There is snob appeal, I am sure, involved in this. Not all of his readers/fans are fluent in other languages, as much as he would like to think we are. Frustrating!

If you adored the Duke & Duchess of Windsor as I did, this book will leave you in tears. It is the history of the years after the Duke passed away in France and what happened to his wife, Wallis. If only she had family left at the time the doctors would not have been able to keep her alive artificially for all those years. And, of course, that dreadful witch Blum would never have gotten near her or her fortune.

Mr. Vickers knows about these events because he knew many of the men and women who played a large part in Wallis Simpson Windsor's life. Confidential information was passed on to him out of trust. The thought that her attorney, Maitre Blum, was selling off her personal treasures while she lay in her bedroom semi-conscious makes your blood boil. But she did, and got away with it. One can almost see the vultures sitting on the windowsill of the sick Duchess all those years, waiting to strike.

There is an in-depth report of the funeral of the Duchess of Windsor. Who was there. Who wasn't there. Where they sat. How they conducted themselves. The universal emotion that day was relief that the Duchess was finally at peace and not suffering as she had for so many years.

The book goes into great detail about the men and women who worked for the Duchess in her final years and how each was treated at the end. Long-time employees dismissed by Blum on a whim. All she thought of was how she could save the Windsor money, while a vast fortune sat in Swiss banks. Blum constantly scared her after the Duke's death with comments about her running out of funds and how would she live if she did and so on. The Duchess, even at the time of her husband's death, was already flirting with senility. It became worse as the years progressed.

Mr. Vickers answers the question I have had on my mind since reading Michael Bloch's book which stated there was a possibility Wallis Warfield Simpson was not female but male! I knew immediately this was nonsense but could not, for the life of me, understand how he got this published and why he made the statement. This book will tell you the truth regarding the statement and why he made it.

Please note that when discussing the many men and women involved in the lives of the Windsors that he gives the birth year and year of death for each. It amazes me how old these people were when they died! Most lived to their 80's, 90's and even a few to 100.

There are two parts to this remarkable book. The first half dwells on the final years of the Duchess. The second half discusses the early lives of the Windsors. Stories we have read so many times before. But well worth another read. It is a book that should be in every university library for scholars interested in King Edward XIII's life and the life and death of his wife, the Duchess of Windsor.

Now if he had only translated that darned French!
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