What We Had: A Memoir

James Chace, Author Summit Books $17.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-69478-4
Chase, former editor of Foreign Affairs , has written a poised, bittersweet memoir about coming-of-age in the 1940s and '50s. He grew up in Fall River, Mass., a once-thriving textile town whose decline seemed to parallel the limbo of his parents' marriage, a couple who drifted through parties and picnics, his mother in an alcoholic haze. As he reminisces about Pearl Harbor, Billie Holiday, hearing T. S. Eliot at Harvard, Paris in the early 1950s, Chace evokes the experience of a generation. On some incidents he is too reticent--for instance, his stint as a CIA informant in Paris, spying on French students. His fiercely loving portrait gallery of his extended family is peopled with quirky characters, including one uncle, an inveterate gambler who grew up in the house where ax-murderer Lizzie Borden once lived. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
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