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Elizabeth Taylor's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Elizabeth Taylor recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Elizabeth Taylor's favorite book recommendations of all time.

In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her."

The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill's "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and--despite her prosthetic leg--helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.

Virginia established vast spy networks...
Recommended by Elizabeth Taylor, and 1 others.

Elizabeth TaylorDuring these challenging times, tales of resistance in World War II have found a receptive audience. In the case of Sonia Purnell’s biography, Americans are keen to read about our own countryman’s heroism.At the center of Purnell’s biography is socialite Virginia Hall of Baltimore, Maryland who had been shut out of the American diplomatic corps in the 1930s and stuck as a clerk in the State... (Source)

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A lost nineteenth-century literary life, brilliantly rediscovered--Letitia Elizabeth Landon, hailed as the female Byron; she changed English poetry; her novels, short stories, and criticism, like Byron though in a woman's voice, explored the dark side of sexuality.

"None among us dares to say / What none will choose to hear"--L.E.L., "Lines of Life"
Letitita Elizabeth Landon--pen name L.E.L.--dared to say it and made sure she was heard.
Hers was a life lived in a blaze of scandal and worship, one of the most famous women of her time, the Romantic Age in London's...
Recommended by Elizabeth Taylor, and 1 others.

Elizabeth TaylorMiller sets out to reclaim Landon’s literary accomplishments and establish her as a bridge between Romanticism and Victorianism. Miller contends that Landon’s work has been overlooked and perhaps made invisible because she was regarded as popular writer whose feminine poetry was dismissed, and that she should be considered from a contemporary perspective as ‘proto-postmodern,’ sort of... (Source)

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On the South Side of Chicago in 1974, Linda Taylor reported a phony burglary, concocting a lie about stolen furs and jewelry. The detective who checked it out soon discovered she was a welfare cheat who drove a Cadillac to collect ill-gotten government checks. And that was just the beginning: Taylor, it turned out, was also a kidnapper, and possibly a murderer. A desperately ill teacher, a combat-traumatized Marine, an elderly woman hungry for companionship; after Taylor came into their lives, all three ended up dead under suspicious circumstances. But nobody--not the journalists who touted... more
Recommended by Elizabeth Taylor, and 1 others.

Elizabeth TaylorLinda Taylor—a Cadillac-driving, fur-clad woman who scammed the system—was the poster person for welfare abuse. Levin’s stamina and creative search for evidence in this book is extraordinary, especially considering how elusive she was and how many identities she assumed. (Source)

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From Jane Leavy, the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax, comes the definitive biography of Babe Ruth—the man Roger Angell dubbed "the model for modern celebrity."

He lived in the present tense—in the camera’s lens. There was no frame he couldn’t or wouldn’t fill. He swung the heaviest bat, earned the most money, and incurred the biggest fines. He expanded notions of the possible. Like all the new-fangled gadgets then flooding the marketplace—radios, automatic clothes washers, Brownie cameras, microphones and...
Recommended by Elizabeth Taylor, and 1 others.

Elizabeth TaylorBabe Ruth was an extraordinary baseball player and Leavy makes that case in the context of the emergence of athletic stardom and celebrity. This is not a mere recounting of statistics. Leavy gives Babe Ruth a place in cultural history. (Source)

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A "smoothly written and fair-minded" (Wall Street Journal) biography of architect Philip Johnson -- a finalist for the National Book Critic's Circle Award.

When Philip Johnson died in 2005 at the age of 98, he was still one of the most recognizable and influential figures on the American cultural landscape. The first recipient of the Pritzker Prize and MoMA's founding architectural curator, Johnson made his mark as one of America's leading architects with his famous Glass House in New Caanan, CT, and his controversial AT&T Building in NYC, among many others in...
Recommended by Elizabeth Taylor, and 1 others.

Elizabeth TaylorLamster draws upon his own deep knowledge of architectural history and trends, digs into Johnson’s past and traces his origins in Cleveland, Ohio to Harvard, from curator to modern and post-modern architect and winner of the inaugural Pritzker Architecture Prize. Lamster captures the forces animating Johnson and his quest for celebrity and recognition. (Source)

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Nearly a decade after his triumphant Charlie Chan biography,
Yunte Huang returns with this long-awaited
portrait of Chang and Eng Bunker (1811–1874), twins
conjoined at the sternum by a band of cartilage and a fused
liver, who were “discovered” in Siam by a British merchant in
1824. Bringing an Asian American perspective to this almost
implausible story, Huang depicts the twins, arriving in Boston
in 1829, first as museum exhibits but later as financially savvy
showmen who gained their freedom and traveled the backroads
of rural America to bring...
Recommended by Elizabeth Taylor, and 1 others.

Elizabeth TaylorWhat a dramatic story, and way to look at America. They arrived as freaks, winning freedom from the oppressive men who brought them from Thailand for a traveling show, until they married two sisters who bore them 21 children, two of whom served in the Confederate army. (Source)

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A witty and profound portrait of the most talked-about English royal

She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando tongue-tied. She iced out Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was madly in love with her. For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy.

Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding. In her 1950s...
Recommended by Elizabeth Taylor, and 1 others.

Elizabeth TaylorBrown makes Margaret an interesting, complex figure, and he pushes the traditional form of biography by contending with both a life, and the spectacle of a life.It raises fascinating questions about formation of public impressions and somehow in creating this multi-faceted form, is also profoundly empathic. (Source)

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The first definitive biography of Weegee the Famous—photographer, psychic, fiend—from Christoper Bonanos, author of Instant: The Story of Polaroid.

Arthur Fellig’s ability to arrive at a crime scene just as the cops did was so uncanny that he renamed himself “Weegee,” claiming that he functioned as a human Ouija board. Weegee documented better than any other photographer the crime, grit, and complex humanity of midcentury New York City. In Flash, we get a portrait not only of the man (both flawed and deeply talented, with...
Recommended by Elizabeth Taylor, and 1 others.

Elizabeth TaylorBonanos entwined Weegee’s evolution as a person and as a photographer and placed this story in the context of the emergence of street photography and crime photography. He vivified that that moment when technology—the camera in Weegee’s hands and imagination, against the backdrop of a rapidly changing New York—captured a rich, stark world in a revolutionary way. (Source)

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A dazzling group portrait of Franz Boas, the founder of cultural anthropology, and his circle of women scientists, who upended American notions of race, gender, and sexuality in the 1920s and 1930s--a sweeping chronicle of how our society began to question the basic ways we understand other cultures and ourselves.

At the end of the 19th century, everyone knew that people were defined by their race and sex and were fated by birth and biology to be more or less intelligent, able, nurturing, or warlike. But one rogue researcher looked at the data and decided everyone was wrong....

Ibram X. Kendi@charleskingdc @JimGoldgeier Oh, thank you. But Charles your new bestseller, Gods of the Upper Air, is so necessary too for our times with eugenics and newer versions of pseudoscientific bigotry ascendant. I’m so glad for the great reception to your wonderful book. (Source)

Damakant JayshiAbout to finish this wonderful book, Gods of the Upper Air by @charleskingdc. It's been a fascinating read so far! (Source)

Elizabeth TaylorAt the centre of King’s fascinating book is Columbia University’s Franz Boas (1858–1942), the father of cultural anthropology who challenged his era’s prevailing wisdom that race, gender and sexuality were destiny. While Boas championed cultural diversity and scientific discovery, he also created an environment that inspired a circle of visionary women researchers whose who were pathbreaking. (Source)

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Richard Holbrooke was brilliant, utterly self-absorbed, and possessed of almost inhuman energy and appetites. Admired and detested, he was the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, America's greatest diplomatic achievement in the post-Cold War era. His power lay in an utter belief in himself and his idea of a muscular, generous foreign policy. From his days as a young adviser in Vietnam to his last efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Holbrooke embodied the postwar American impulse to take the lead on the global stage. But his sharp elbows and tireless self-promotion... more

Carl BildtExcellent writing, powerful personalities, profound policy lessons. A book well worth reading. (Source)

Clara Jeffery@cityartssf 4/ But then I started it and this is one amazing book. Yes, you learn or relearn about every conflict from Vietnam to Afghanistan. But THE DISH. THE JUICY JUICY DISH, on so many DC/Hollywood/NYC figures. It's a salacious page-turner! It's a beach read. (Source)

Stephen WaltI had a fascinating discussion with fellow Gunn High School alumnus George Packer on his new book about Richard Holbrooke. Take a listen here: (I'll be doing more podcasts in the months ahead, so stay tuned!). (Source)

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