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Vanity Fair 100 Years by Graydon Carter

imagesWeighing in at 8.5 pounds and measuring 14.4 x 11.5 x 1.5 inches, Vanity Fair 100 Years, is a sumptuous celebration of the magazine and the culture from the jazz age to today. With a tip of the hat to the origin of the phrase, (Vanity Fair appears as a place for rascality in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progess, 1678), this large coffee table book celebrates the magazine from its inception in 1895 to 1913 and then its rebirth in the 1980s. It’s an odd celebration of  100 years with a wealth of information about publishing, style and popular culture. Sandwiched in the middle of many glossy pages is a 57-page section titled “Wisdom & Whimsy” that includes a selection of excerpts from articles organized by year. These would be a treasure trove for young social scientists working on school reports or practicing ‘period’ writing. Aspiring journalists will enjoy the behind the scenes stories of the magazine. Of course, the iconic images are all here; many of which do not seem nearly as unsettling as in their original appearances. Among those are Whoopi Goldberg in her milk bath, a wet Darryl Hannah and some exuberant pictures of Michael Jackson, so sad to view in retrospect. Another wonderful book from Abrams Publishing, that is sure to spark many memories, some which may be hard to explain to younger generations!

Amy P.

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