Monday, September 10, 2007
Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987)
I don't have a warm personal enemy left. They've all died off. I miss them terribly because they helped define me.
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Talented, wealthy, beautiful, and controversial, Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987) is best remembered as a congresswoman (1942-1946), ambassador, playwright, socialite, and spouse of magazine magnate Henry R. Luce of Time-Life-Fortune. Less familiar is Luce's wartime journalism, which included a book, Europe in the Spring (1940) and many on-location articles for Life.
Though she covered a wide range of World War II battlefronts, Luce considered her war reportage merely "time off" from her true vocation as playwright. Nonetheless, Luce endured the discomforts, frustrations, and dangers encountered by even the most seasoned war correspondent. Besides experiencing bombing raids in Europe and the Far East, she faced house arrest in Trinidad by British Customs when a draft Life article about poor military preparedness in Libya proved too accurate for Allied comfort. Luce's unsettling observations led longtime friend Winston Churchill to revamp Middle Eastern military policy.
Luce's initial encounter with the war in 1940 produced Europe in the Spring, her first non- fiction book. Anxious to convince fellow Americans of the dangers of isolationism, Luce wrote a vivid, anecdotal account of her four-month visit to "a world where men have decided to die together because they are unable to find a way to live together." [Adapted from Library of Congress]
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