Kate Remembered by A Scott Berg; Mr S: The Last Word on Frank Sinatra by George Jacobs, William Stadiem - review by Christopher Ondaatje

Christopher Ondaatje

She Had the Measure of His Manhood

Kate Remembered


Simon & Schuster 318pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Mr S: The Last Word on Frank Sinatra


Sidgwick & Jackson 262pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

SCOTT BERG IS a superb biographer. I first read his biography of Max Perluns (the brilliant ehtor at Scribner who worked with Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald), then Goldwyn, and then Lindbergh, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize. At the start of their twenty-year friendship, Katharine Hepburn promised to tell him everything but made one stipulation: he could not publish until she had died - which she eventually did, aged ninety-six, on 29 June this year. Kate Remembered is his loving tribute to Hepburn. 'She wanted it published as close to her death as possible', the author stated in an interview, 'because she knew there'd be so much written about her, and she wanted one good record out there of the truth, as she saw it.' Berg started putting it together while Hepburn was still alive, but didn't tell her in case she thought he had betrayed her. 'I just wrote it up, in 2000, and locked it up.' After the actress died Berg completed the last three pages.

Katharine Hepburn was an icon in the popular culture of the twentieth century and Berg covers the seven decades in which she developed from an admired actress into a loved movie star and ultimately the embodiment of the modern American woman. 'Bright, barefaced, scandalously bold', was how Kenneth Tynan described

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