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The Queen of Whale Cay (edition 2008)
British eccentric Marion "Joe" Carstairs was a world-class speedboat racer, heiress to the Standard Oil fortune, ruler of her own Caribbean Island--and a cross-dressing lesbian. During the permissive 1920s, Carstairs was able to flaunt her taste for women in the bohemian circles of London and Paris. She had affairs with numerous women, including Natalie Barney and Dolly Wilde, Oscar's niece. When writing about Carstairs's boat races, the press of that roaring decade regarded her as a loveable tomboy, but as social norms shifted in the 1930s, Carstairs's lifestyle was frowned upon. So she acquired Whale Cay, an island off the coast of Florida, turned it into her own version of paradise, became a gentleman farmer, and had an affair with Marlene Dietrich.--amazon.com
(summary from ISBN 0670880183)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140276130, Paperback)British eccentric Marion "Joe" Carstairs (1900-1993) was a world-class speedboat racer, heiress to the Standard Oil fortune, ruler of her own Caribbean Island ... and a cross-dressing lesbian. This biography places Carstairs's adventurous life in the context of 20th-century attitudes toward sexual deviance. During the permissive 1920s, Carstairs was able to flaunt her taste for women in the bohemian circles of London and Paris. She had affairs with numerous gals, including Natalie Barney and Dolly Wilde, Oscar's niece. When writing about Carstairs's boat races, the press of that roaring decade regarded her as a loveable tomboy. But as social norms shifted in the '30s, Carstairs's lifestyle was frowned upon. So she acquired Whale Cay, an island off the coast of Florida, turned it into her own version of paradise, became a gentleman farmer, and had an affair with Marlene Dietrich. Carstairs's most important and long-term relationship, though, was with Lord Tod Wadley, a stuffed leather doll. --Rebecca Brown
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670880183, Paperback)When Marion "Joe" Carstairs died in 1993 at the age of ninety-three, she was largely forgotten. During the 1920s she held the world record as the fastest female speedboat racer. But as journalist Kate Summerscale discovered, when researching an obituary for the Daily Telegraph, Carstairs was also a notorious cross-dresser who favored women and smoked cheroots. Supremely self-confident, she inherited a Standard Oil fortune and knew how to spend her money--on fast boats and cars, female lovers, and a Caribbean island, Whale Cay, where she reigned over a colony of Bahamians. There, far from her bohemian past in London and Paris, she hosted a succession of girlfriends and celebrities, including Marlene Dietrich and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Through it all, she remained devoted to Lord Tod Wadley, a little doll who became her bosom companion. Already a bestseller in England, The Queen of Whale Cay is a marvelous portrait of one of the twentieth century's great eccentrics.
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007276664, Paperback)A fascinating biography of the woman champion motorboat racer of the 1920s who in the '30s bought and became 'ruler' of an island in the British West Indies. 'Joe' Carstairs was born in London in 1900, the daughter of a Scottish colonel and an American heiress. Educated in Connecticut, she returned to Europe in 1916 and drove ambulances for the Women's Legion in France. She deserted her husband at the church door (marriage was a prerequisite of her coming into her $4 million inheritance) and settled in England where she took up racing, established a boat yard at Cowes and won nearly every trophy going. In the 30s she started travelling widely, finally moving to the West Indies where she bought the island of Whale Cay. There she developed the island into a populated community, building everything from roads and schools to lighthouses and churches. Carstairs then suceeded in establishing hegemony over the 500 islanders, controlling not only their sexual morals but also their diet. In 1944 she built a deepwater harbour for the Royal Navy's use and, without a word to her population, left the island to build warcraft in Florida, where she settled for 40 years, having run a steamship freightline and set up a chain of airports. Kate Summerscale's brilliant biography brings out of obscurity a woman whose very boldness took her beyond fame and notoriety.
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0708990797, Hardcover)Joe Carstairs was reknowned in the 1920s as an "invert" who smoked cheroots and dressed as a man. She was born in a sumptuous Mayfair mansion in 1900, was heiress to the Standard Oil fortune and was the fastest female speedboat racer in the world. In 1934 she disappeared to embark on a course ambitious and bizarre - she bought an island in the West Indies - Whale Cay - and created her own kingdom, founding and ruling the colony of 500 black Bahamians. She entertained a series of glamourous girlfriends, Duchesses and priests, although she reserved her greatest love for her boats, her cars and her only lifelong male companion, her doll, Lord Tod Wadley. When Carstairs died in 1993, aged 93, she was all but forgotten. Kate Sumerscale was assigned to write her obituary for "The Daily Telegraph", and determined afterwards to find out more. This autobiography is the results of her quest.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:27 -0400)
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