Friends and Enemies: A Life in Vogue, Prison, and Park Avenue

Barbara Amiel. Pegasus, $29.95 (624p) ISBN 978-1-64313-560-1
Amiel dishes on affluent society in this scorching memoir, settling scores with those she thinks betrayed her and her husband, former media baron Conrad Black. Amiel survived a tumultuous 1940s childhood to become a columnist (last at Maclean’s), newspaper editor, and three-time divorcée (and endured an 11-day imprisonment in Mozambique along the way). She married Black and gallivanted around the globe, later admitting to Vogue, “I have an extravagance that knows no bounds,” a quip she since regrets. But Black was convicted of fraud in U.S. federal court in 2007, and the couple went through years of legal wrangling, financial troubles, and Black’s imprisonment before their friend President Trump pardoned him in 2019. Amiel writes that former friends including Barbara Walters and Nancy Kissinger dropped them, and describes how Lynn de Rothschild snubbed her at the Carlyle Hotel tearoom, as did Katie Couric at Trump’s 2004 wedding. Amiel decries culture wars and identity politics (“the loudest, most intolerant group gets to force its values and ideas on everyone else...”), skewers herself (another “clever Jewish girl in media”), and ferociously attacks enemies, including with accusations of anti-Semitism, notably her charge that French ambassador Daniel Bernard blamed Islamic terrorism after 9/11 on “that shitty little country Israel.” This arch, over-the-top lambasting will captivate political junkies and society watchers alike. Photos not seen by PW. Agent: Georgina Capel, Georgina Capel Associates. (Oct).
Reviewed on : 08/12/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 608 pages - 978-0-7710-0671-5
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