Parachuting into Hollywood

“Women now have a much larger role to play in society, business, education, and so on, so more of them need to be included.” — general editor John A. Garraty

This morning, having shaken for the time being my paralytic delight at the Royal cub, I found my appetite for tabloid gossip browsing once again on the fruits of the dear presses at Oxford. In my greedy hands was a volume — M, if you must know — of the American National Biography.

Your generation must think little of those homogeneous rows, that dank and unused shelf of the library marked ‘Reference’. It was once the cornerstone of any gentleman’s lunch hour (I mean hours, naturally). It was once the gateway of choice for the woman who wished to endear herself at work, the way by which she would know things of use to Mr Big at dark moments. Socially backwards, you call me? I shall have you flogged, son. Then answer me this next biographical riddle; I may take to you yet. By no means let it divert you, should your socks need washing.

This American sex symbol was discovered while working a wartime job as a parachute inspector. At the height of a very successful career in Hollywood, she risked everything to stand against the U.S. government in support of her husband, then suspected (along with so many others) to have brought “communist corruption” into the arts.

Who was it? We’ll reconvene tomorrow, buckaroo.

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Filed under American Culture, Books

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