Clare Boothe Luce and 'The Price of Fame'

By Marcina Zaccaria ,
Author Rating: 
4.0 Stars - Very Good

The Price of Fame: The Honorable Clare Boothe Luce by Sylvia Jukes Morris, is an enlightening account of a female statesman of prominence.

Claire Boothe Luce was a force to be reckoned with at a time when there were so few women on Capitol Hill. More than just polished book about the 1940s, The Price of Fame is a careful examination of politics from many sides.

A strong woman who traversed with the elite in both Washington, D.C. and New York City, Luce was best known to the theater community for her 1936 play, The Women. The wife of Henry Luce, the publisher of Life, Time, and Fortune, Luce was a Republican who served in the U.S. House of Representatives during the 4th Congressional District. She entered office in 1942, representing Connecticut.

Author Sylvia Jukes Morris just a good job of painting a picture of the times in The Price of Fame. The author has written articles and reviews that have appeared in The New York Sunday Times Magazine, Travel & Leisure, and The Washington Post. She served as a judge for the National Book Awards. She lectured at the Library of Congress, and the New York Society Library. Her television credits include appearances on the PBS show, American Experience.

The writing in The Price of Fame is anecdotal and informative. The book moves slowly through Luce’s career. In those days, women weren’t frequently seen on the Capitol Hill, and Luce maintained her office with grace and style. An opinionated, tough woman, Luce seems like the ideal stateswoman who is also skilled at working with journalists. The book quickly moves through her New York years before discussing the day-to-day details about her service in Washington, D.C.

The book never reads like a tell-all or a gossipy treatise. Throughout the book, we are reminded that Luce maintained the utmost dignity while carrying out all of the duties of her office. The book is chock full of details, telling not only about Luce’s work in the United States, but also abroad in European battlefronts during World War II. There is a discussion of war and the people who were brave enough to see it from many sides. Attention is paid to photos that help provide historical accuracy, including photos of Luce, campaigning for re-election in 1944.

The biography is never too laborious. Rather, it’s an open-minded, factual account for scholars and those interested in politics and this uncommon celebrity.



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