Blue Blood: How Rebekah Harkness, One of the Richest Women in the World, Destroyed a Great American Family

Craig Unger, Author
Craig Unger, Author William Morrow & Company $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-05081-8
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Expanding a sensational story he produced for New York magazine, Unger, in flamboyant journalese not unsuited to his subject, shows us the troubled life and ""onerous family legacy'' of Rebekah Harkness, widow of Standard Oil heir William Hale Harkness. Rebekah's eccentricities were often reported in the New York tabloids in the '60s and '70sshe dyed a cat green and scrubbed her pool with Dom Perignonand her reckless, misdirected energy and enormous wealth were poured into pursuit of a dance career, misguided love affairs, drugs and alcohol. We are given intimate views of her lifestyle (she died at age 67 in l982) and the lives of her neglected three children, products of four marriages, chiefly through interviews with discarded friends and lovers and others who helped Rebekah dissipate a fortune (a purported $38 million on dance and theater projects alone). This saga of the disintegration of a self-destructive family is studded with violence (one child is imprisoned for murder), suicide attempts and mental degeneration. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
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