The Silver Swan

In Search of Doris Duke by Sallie Bingham

  • Published: Aug 17, 2020

"Men who inherit great wealth are respected, but women who do the same are ridiculed. In The Silver Swan, Sallie Bingham rescues Doris Duke from this gendered prison and shows us just how brave, rebellious, and creative this unique woman really was,... read more

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Details of The Silver Swan

Exact title of the book
The Silver Swan
Book author
Sallie Bingham
ISBN
9781250787330
Publisher
Picador
Published
Mar 02, 2021
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
352
File size (in PDF)
3168 kB

Some brief overview of book

"Men who inherit great wealth are respected, but women who do the same are ridiculed. In The Silver Swan, Sallie Bingham rescues Doris Duke from this gendered prison and shows us just how brave, rebellious, and creative this unique woman really was, and how her generosity benefits us to this day." Gloria Steinem A bold portrait of Doris Duke, the defiant and notorious tobacco heiress who was perhaps the greatest modern woman philanthropist In The Silver Swan, Sallie Bingham chronicles one of the great underexplored lives of the twentieth century and the very archetype of the modern woman. "Dont touch that girl, shell burn your fingers," FBI director J.

Edgar Hoover once said about Doris Duke, the inheritor of James Buchanan Dukes billion-dollar tobacco fortune. During her lifetime, she would be blamed for scorching many, including her mother and various ex-lovers. She established her first foundation when she was twenty-one; cultivated friendships with the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Imelda Marcos, and Michael Jackson; flaunted interracial relationships; and adopted a thirty-two year-old woman she believed to be the reincarnation of her deceased daughter.

This is also the story of the great houses she inhabited, including the classically proportioned limestone mansion on Fifth Avenue, the sprawling Duke Farms in New Jersey, the Gilded Age mansion Rough Point in Newport, Shangri La in Honolulu, and Falcons Lair overlooking Beverly Hills. Even though Duke was the subject of constant scrutiny, little beyond the tabloid accounts of her behavior has been publicly known. In 2012, when eight hundred linear feet of her personal papers were made available, Sallie Bingham set out to probe her identity.

She found an alluring woman whose life was forged in the Jazz Age, who was not only an early war correspondent but also an environmentalist, a surfer, a collector of Islamic art, a savvy businesswoman who tripled her fathers fortune, and a major philanthropist with wide-ranging passions from dance to historic preservation to human rights. In The Silver Swan, Bingham is especially interested in dissecting the stereotypes that have defined Dukes story while also confronting the disturbing questions that cleave to her legacy.

About author

Bingham is the author of several memoirs, short-story collections, novels, plays, and poetry collections. Her work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in The Atlantic, New Letters, Southwest Review, and other publications. She has been a director of the National Book Critics Circle and is the founder of the Kentucky Foundation for Women, as well as the Sallie Bingham Center for Womens History and Culture at Duke University.

She has received fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Sallie's books include Passion & Prejudice A Family Memoir, The Blue Box Three Lives in Letters, Red Car Stories, and The Silver Swan In Search of Doris Duke.

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