Behind the Book Review
My Latest in the Washington Post
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Kennedy author in possession of unused material must be in want of a new book deal.
That’s the first sentence of my Washington Post review of Carl Sferrazza Anthony’s Camera Girl, in print last weekend.
As a biographer immersed in the first draft of a manuscript on young John F. Kennedy, I was excited to read Camera Girl—but aware that I had to, as an expert, keep myself in check. Was I being fair? If I was a devout reader of Jackie Kennedy books, would I like this one? Was my criticism too inside baseball?
The answer to the last question was often “yes,” so the review, while ending on a somewhat harsh note—he’s written a good book, but it could’ve been a great one—is largely positive. And I wouldn’t change that, but I wanted to add greater detail and nuance, New York Review of Books style. The essay was, however, 1200 words. I’d turned in 2200. It was supposed to be 800. If I’d had more room, I would’ve said…
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