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The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983–1992

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781474608428

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 14th November 2017

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Diaries, Letters & Journals

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‘Indiscreet, brilliantly observed, frequently hilarious’ Evening Standard
‘Hang on – it’s a wild ride’ Meryl Streep

It’s 1983. A young Englishwoman arrives in Manhattan on a mission. Summoned in the hope that she can save Condé Nast’s troubled new flagship Vanity Fair, Tina Brown is plunged into the maelstrom of competitive New York media. She survives the politics and the intrigue by a simple stratagem: succeeding.

Here are the inside stories of the scoops and covers that sold millions: the Reagan kiss, the meltdown of Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, the sensational Annie Leibovitz cover of a gloriously pregnant, naked Demi Moore. Written with dash and verve, the diary is also a sharply observed account of New York and London society. In its cinematic pages the drama, comedy and struggle of raising a family and running an ‘it’ magazine come to life.

What's Inside

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Who could resist Tina Brown, that then 30-year-old blonde Brit who stormed New York in the Eighties, reading her memoir of how she did it? Not me ... Her voice is taut, her eye is everywhere. She doesn't bring us into her circle but tells us, firmly, proudly, sometimes wickedly, what it was like ... Listening to her is as delightful as eating a whole box of chocolates, without a trace of weight gain ... She's irresistible
Gillian Reynolds, DAILY TELEGRAPH
A journalism masterclass
Janice Turner, NEW STATESMAN
Within a couple of years she had turned it into the house magazine of a resurgent celebrity beau monde and gained an untouchable star quality of her own. Her diaries recount this will to power with caustic drollery and dash
Gripping, funny ... Her enthusiasm for New York, and magazines, is infectious. "There's no fun in the world greater than the frenzy of closing a magazine on deadline," she says in her introduction. And you believe her when she squeals on 10 January 1984, "I have loved my first week!"
Markie Robson-Scott, THE ARTS DESK
India Knight, SUNDAY TIMES
These diaries are a great deal of fun ... Ultimately, though, this is a perfect primer to the gaudy excesses of 1980s culture. "This is what I appreciate most about the city at night, the life force of New York aspiration, wanting, wanting to be seen," Brown writes in September 1985. The same could be said about the author: it is her joy in her job, her delight at being ringside in this moment, and, most of all, her sheet chutzpah, which keeps you turning the pages
Sarah Hughes, i NEWSPAPER
No matter how much you might hate yourself for wanting to read the British journalist's account of her wonder years at the helm of the US's pre-eminent glossy, the troubling fact is that it is addictive
Kathryn Hughes, GUARDIAN
Her addictive account features encounters with every influential name under the sun (political, literary and Hollywood stars) as well as an insight into Brown's publishing power, which changed magazine journalism for ever
A great portrait of the greed, the glitter, the fatal superficiality of that decade ... her witty skewerings are first-class
Roger Lewis, THE TIMES
A brilliant portrait of New York in an age of shoulder-padded excess by a British editor who can pass as American, but never lost her merciless gift for a great story
One of Brown's most appealing qualities is her frankness. She speaks as openly about big issues as she has expected the celebrities who've appeared in her magazines to do. And it's why her book is such a juicy read. She's honest about every interaction, no matter how big the star: every success and every mistake
Natasha Perlman, GRAZIA
The Vanity Fair Diaries has a Gone with the Wind-like feel: it's a chronicle of a lost age, before the internet, when 'to be the editor of Time or Newsweek was to be a demigod'. Yeah, and to be Tina Brown was very heaven
Cosmo Landesman, LITERARY REVIEW
In this fascinating memoir from a publishing legend, Tina Brown offers insights into the life of a glossy magazine editor
The perfect stocking filler for any social x-ray who yearns to wallow in nostalgia. But even students of our own time with find the prescience of Brown's observations a source of amusement. The decade's greatest symbol, she observes, turned out not to be a person but a building: Trump Tower, "the very definition of ersatz with its fool's gold facade, its flashy internal waterfall, its dodgy financing". Lucky she was there because you couldn't make it up
Fiametta Rocco, 1843 ECONOMIST
That's what makes Tina Brown such a fabulous diarist. It's not just that she's a wonderful writer (although she is fluent, funny, fierce). It's more that, even after taking her seat at America's top table, she never stops noticing. Amid the narcotic stupefaction of great wealth, Brown is invariably alert and on the money
She makes you glad that someone was taking notes
[A] terrifying, breakneck, hothouse, backstage tour of how magazines, news and views, and reputations are made and destroyed. [It] made me crave an anti-anxiety pill! In [my] next life I will definitely be a snail
@MargaretAtwood (Twitter)
Anyone who was anyone in Eighties New York can be found in Brown's polished account of her time editing US magazine Vanity Fair. The result is a page-turning hymn to a vanished media age
Her pen portraits of the denizens of the Manhattan zoo are invariably sharp, and sometimes caustic - yet Brown is at home in this world, and in love with it, and the relish with which she records it makes for compulsive reading
A mile-a-minute memoir I read like a parrot with my nails embedded in Pirate Tina's shoulder, yelling 'What??!!' 'What!?!!' 'WOWZA!' as she swashbuckles through the eighties, her sword slicing up the staid shibboleths of New York. I remembered why I was afraid of her in those days. And why that energy and imagination, turned to making the world better, has galvanized so many of us now. A cultural catalyst, she makes things happen. Thank god she wrote it all down. Hang on - it's a wild ride
Meryl Streep
Full of creative glee, passion and wild-ride excitement, The Vanity Fair Diaries features a cast of characters like Mad Men (and women) on speed; an epic of a legendary magazine's dazzling re-creation; moments of laugh-out-loud comic asides, juicy gossip and sketches of Austen-like sharpness, all put together by an editor of high-octane genius who pauses only to reflect that however good she might be, it's never quite good enough. Oh yes it is. Read the diaries and feel better about everything. The word lives!
Simon Schama
High, low, smart, sexy, Tina Brown's The Vanity Fair Diaries is like the magazine she reinvented, a must-read for anyone interested in Hollywood, high society, and the movers and shakers of pop culture
Anderson Cooper
It's brilliant, concretely realised social history as much as a fabulous odyssey, and I read it in a mad frenzy
Stephen Fry
Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair during the 1980s, covers her time in Manhattan with wit and wisdom, as she unwraps the stories behind the famous covers and tells of how she fought her corner, raised a family and strove to make the magazine a success
Because you can never have too many books - and this one will be the juiciest of the year
There has been fevered speculation about Tina Brown's diaries for decades ... Well, here they finally are - and I read them in one six-hour sprint of pure pleasure and joy. These are the most compelling media diaries since Piers Morgan's The Insider but with a tonier cast of characters, indiscreet, brilliantly observed, frequently hilarious ... Her turnaround of the relaunched Vanity Fair in the mid-Eighties is the stuff of journalistic legend - an electrifying, glitzy, gritty triumph - and these are the years covered by these diaries. And it's all here: the Demi Moore naked and pregnant front cover, Claus von Bulow photographed in black leather, Donald and Ivana Trump, the whole sweep of Eighties Manhattan reported at first hand in Tina's fresh, beady, borderline-paranoid style ... As a primer for how to edit a hot magazine, there is much to learn here ... Tina encounters it all, and deals with it
Nicholas Coleridge, EVENING STANDARD
The party-by-party, cover-by-cover story of how a Brit conquered New York publishing. As a novice editor, I can tell you it is packed with priceless advice from one of the greatest of them all
George Osborne, NEW STATESMAN </i>Books of the Year<i></i>
One is left with huge admiration for Brown's wit, talent and determination
Brown is brilliant at these gleeful little character descriptions ... She has the knack of making people instantly interesting ... [The Vanity Fair Diaries] make for a fast-paced and head-spinningly hectic read
Tina Brown's account of her years as editor of Vanity Fair is enthralling - and terrifying
Peter Conrad, OBSERVER
Right there. That's what makes Brown such a fabulous diarist. It's not just that she's a wonderful writer (although she is: fluent, funny, fierce). It's more that, even after taking her seat at America's top table, she never stops noticing. Amid the narcotic stupefaction of great wealth, Brown is invariably alert and on the money
Fun and often funny
Hadley Freeman, GUARDIAN