Barbara Amiel's memoirs
From her early childhood in London during the Blitz, to emigrating to Toronto and her rise to the top rungs of journalism; to her four husbands and other assorted beaus both famous and not; right up to her marriage to Conrad Black and the jetsetting lifestyle that would end with him convicted of fraud and serving 2 and a half years in a Florida jail, Barbara Amiel's life has been dramatic, to say the least. She has been called every conceivable name in the book by the media and authors of biographies about her, pilloried for her extravagant lifestyle and sometimes regrettable quotes to the press ("My extravagance knows no bounds," for instance), not to mention her outspoken conservative politics. It's no surprise she remains to this day a subject of utter fascination after over four decades in the public eye.
But until now, very few people actually knew her real story--the break-up of her family, her bouts of debilitating depression, and other chronic health issues, the several marriages (some of them violent and abusive), her thoughts on feminism and #MeToo, her travels with the international jetset and A-list celebrities and, of course, her thoughts on the trial and conviction of Conrad and the iron-clad bond they have shared since they were married in 1992. Whether you are an admirer or critic of Amiel, you will have to admit that her telling of her operatic life makes for the best reading. Her life seems at once like something from the pages of a historical novel, yet she also distinguishes herself as a woman well ahead of her time. She has certainly had many friends and enemies over the years--Henry and Nancy Kissinger, Elton John, Tom Stoppard, David Frost, Anna Wintour, Oscar de la Renta, Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana, Marie Jose Kravis, to name but a few--and she makes good use of them in this larger-than-life memoir.