Biography

Book 26 of 52: The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil by Tina Brown

I’m not going to write a long review of Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil for two reasons. First, it’s been hashed to death already, as anything about the royals is, by people who are far more invested in this whole thing than I am. And second, I’m in the frantic “do I really need a jean jacket AND a windbreaker” level of packing before a long trip. I can say that I didn’t mind listening to this nearly 18 hour audiobook while the rest of the world is on fire, although of course they are not insulated. We can pretend that the Royal Family lives in a bubble, but they are enormously influential; touched by the same issues of race, class and gender; and Queen Elizabeth II is one of most influential politicians of modern times — and she is…

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Book 21 of 52: Miss Dior by Justine Picardie

I’m sure most people reading this book know Dior: the name, the brand, the fashion, the perfume, etc. But that’s not what Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture by Justine Picardie is about. After writing a biography about Coco Chanel, she considering doing one of Christian Dior. Instead, Picardie became much more interested in his sister Catherine. While Christian’s creations have captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of people (including myself – I nearly wept when I saw the Bar Suit in December at the now closed Brooklyn Museum’s “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibit, which is also where I found this book), Catherine was a true hero. A member of the French Resistance, she was caught, tortured, and imprisoned at the Ravensbrück concentration camp, where the Nazis murdered at least 50,000 women. Picardie’s challenge was that very little is know about Catherine beyond the facts: birth and death…

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