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Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of…

Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black…

by Deborah Davis

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1455127,306 (3.41)4
"Truman Capote is a literary legend, and two major motion pictures have recently focused on how he created his masterpiece, In Cold Blood. In Party of the Century, Deborah Davis transports readers to the Oz-like splendor of New York in 1966, where Capote, at the pinnacle of his fame, threw himself the party to end all parties." "Flush with the massive bestsellerdom of In Cold Blood, which earned him millions, Capote decided to throw an extraordinary masked ball - partly in honor of his friend the Washington Post president Katharine Graham and partly to celebrate his own success at the end of the grueling process of writing the book - at New York's legendary Plaza Hotel. The invitees were to wear just two colors: black and white. For several months, the most sought-after piece of paper in New York and jet-setting society was the tasteful white card bearing the words "Mr. Truman Capote requests the pleasure of your company at a Black and White Dance." Everyone who was anyone wanted he invitation. Capote boasted that he invited five hundred friends but made fifteen thousand enemies - those who weren't invited." "The glittering roster of guests included newlyweds Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, the young actress Candice Bergen, literary lions Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley, and various international crowned heads, Kennedys, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Whitneys. Truman made sure to invite his carefully cultivated society friends, the flock of wealthy, elegant, ultra-fashionable society matrons whom Capote called his "swans" and who included Babe Paley, C. Z. Guest, Slim Keith, Gloria Guinness, and Marella Agnelli. Wanting to keep the party mix interesting and unpredictable, Capote also invited people from the town where the murders from In Cold Blood occurred, publishing types, and even the doorman from the U.N. Plaza, his apartment building." "In this narrative, Deborah Davis chronicles all the social whirl of the preparation and the anticipation leading up to the party, including delicious facts such as where the guests bought their gowns and diamonds, how they chose their masks designed by the likes of Adolfo and Halston, and where they dined before the party. Then, in detail, Davis captures the drama and excitement of the ball itself. Unlike many such ballyhooed events, this evening truly lived up to its fanfare: Alice Roosevelt Longworth told the New York Times that the party was "the most exquisite of spectator sports."" "Illustrated with photographs and drawings of the guests and their gorgeous and extravagant costumes, masks, and jewels and including the guest list, the recipe for the Plaza chicken hash served at the ball, and other memorabilia, this portrait of revelry at the height of the swirling, swinging, turbulent sixties will be the book of the season for anyone interested in American popular culture and the lifestyles and legacies of the rich, famous, and talented."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
Very entertaining tale of Truman Capote's Black and White Ball which he threw to celebrate the success of his smash hit book "In Cold Blood." I remember reading about, and seeing pictures of, the socialite people who attended his "party of the century" in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar when I was in my teens, and it brought back some good memories of an era that is long-gone but fondly remembered. ( )
  flourgirl49 | Aug 19, 2017 |
Picked this one up thanks to Melanie Benjamin's awesome fictionalized version of these events! Very fun read. ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
Just as much trashy fun as her other book, though about an entirely different topic. This was in fact a book that deserved to use the word fabulous in the title. ( )
  omnia_mutantur | Dec 4, 2011 |
It was a good quick read, it touched on the party, Capote's early life, his writing, and his friends. It also chronicled a time that has passed and the start of the modern era that we are still living in (the media frenzy and the voyeuristic public appetite that feeds it).

After the party it talked about those who thought it was a bad thing (too flighty and foolish, bad timing - Vietnam), and it talked about how it and the success of In Cold Blood was built on the murders of the family of four, and the eventual deaths of the two killers. It then goes on to sketch Capote's decline and fall from being a productive writer, and a society darling, to a self-parody, riddled with drugs, and alcohol; Who could only turn out shorts that bit the hands that fed him.

The book touched on the horror of his rise (money, fame, social power) built on the deaths in Kansas, including the killers, with whom he became close.

One place in the book a person talks about how Capote, early in his career, seemed flighty and fluffy, but that he also had a strong practical streak, and organized plans that he developed and followed, regarding his writing. I suspect that side of him churned the Clutter family and their killers as grist for his career, and eventually the more humane and artistic side couldn't deal with it and he came to hate himself. Which is of course only my lay armchair opinion. ( )
  FicusFan | Sep 6, 2008 |
A dishy account of arguably last century best ball. Truman Capote is a fascinating character and a wonderful writer. This book captures a very window in time when he was at his zenith of power (socially, artistically). I was surprised that the Duke & Duchess of Windsor didn't attend. Beside Jackie Kennedy, nobody who was anybody was missing at this party. ( )
  mgaulding | Mar 23, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
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