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Party of the Century


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1966. 1 A Lonely Boy. 2 Small Man, Big Dreams. Truman's Swans. 3 Romance and Sadness. 4 Babe Paley and High Society. Gloria. 5 In Cold Blood. Marella. 6 Truman and Kay. Slim. 7 Riding a Wave. C. Z. 8 Dreaming of Masquerades. 9 Guest of Honor. 10 The In Crowd. 11 Making the List. 12 The Place to Be. 13 "Have You Heard?" 14 How to Be Lovely. 15 Plumage. 16 The Clock Ticks. 17 Night of Nights. 18 Publicity. 19 Hangover. Afterword. Appendix: The Guest List. Notes. Bibliography. Credits. Index.

About the Author

Deborah Davis is a writer and film executive who has worked as a story editor and story analyst for several major film companies. She is also the author of Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X.


Truman Capote's legendary masked ball, at New York City's Plaza Hotel on November 28, 1966, was a hyped-up media event meticulously masterminded by the self-promoting, social-climbing author of In Cold Blood. Davis (Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X) dishes up the menu, the decor, the outfits and the guest list of 540, clueing the reader in to how Capote dangled the prized invitations for months, snubbing early supporters like Carson McCullers as he determined who was "in" and who was "out." In choosing his guest of honor, Capote eschewed glamorous "swans" like Babe Paley and Marella Agnelli in favor of "dowdy" Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. Actress Candice Bergen was bored at the ball; Capote's elevator man danced the night away with a woman who didn't know his pedigree; and Norman Mailer sounded off about Vietnam. This frothy effort retreads ground already covered by Gerald Clarke, George Plimpton and Sally Bedell Smith, among others. Black-and-white photos have frozen the beautiful people of the '60s in all their preening glory, and readers also get to see the invitation and the fashion sketches of the elaborate masks and headdresses created by Halston and Adolfo. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

In 1966, Truman Capote threw an elaborate formal ball at the Plaza Hotel in New York, ostensibly in honor of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. The focus was really on Capote himself, a rising star following the publication of his "nonfiction novel," In Cold Blood. Davis (Strapless), who gained access to Capote's personal documents, here provides some biographical information on Capote but focuses much of the book on the actual guests, who included Hollywood stars (Gregory Peck, Vivian Leigh), Rat Pack crooners (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr.), literary giants (Norman Mailer, Tennessee Williams), society regulars (the Rockefellers, the Whitneys), royalty, and even Kansas friends Capote had made while researching his book. It's a look inside the world of the rich, famous, and beautiful through the context of a much-publicized event that brought Hollywood, New York, and Washington, DC, together in a way that had never happened before. A fast-paced, eclectic, and engaging work, it covers everything from the origin of the Best Dressed List and the fitting of designer gowns to the politics of high society. Recent films about Capote may generate interest for this topic. Recommended for public libraries and for academic libraries with strong popular culture or fashion design collections.-Alison M. Lewis, Drexel Univ. Lib., Philadelphia Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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