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  #221  
Old 06-30-2007, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ysbel View Post
Sarah Bradford wrote about Diana's impact with the media. It was one of the best written parts of the book. She gave the best description of Diana's media phenomenon that I have seen.

I think her book was sympathetic to Diana but not exactly laudatory.
another article and I suppose a little thinking about republicism in it
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I just hope that after so many books with sufficient information from reliable sources, Diana's image has been balanced.Personally I don't find Sarah Bradford's fury about Tina Brown's book necessary because Tina Brown's style is a journalism style but her style is a biography style. The two styles seem to conflict with each other from time to time. Even Jonathan Dimbleby's book has been criticised for its powerful value as a weapon in Waleses's wars despite the biography has a great value of historical values about understanding facts in Charles's life. I understand that because the writers have always difficulties in empathy about other writers's percepts unless they have great understandings about each others.
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  #222  
Old 07-01-2007, 06:10 AM
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Again, writting is a subjective kind of expression. Even if sometimes we don't feel like it is. A writer as the right like everyone to have is own opinion, although IMO he's even a better one when he analyses and has a divided mind on the subject. I really like Sarah Bradford for that. In my previous post, there's a link which explains that her opinion on Diana has changed by writting her book.
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  #223  
Old 07-02-2007, 04:10 PM
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i never thought of it that way you know...the historical point of view and the journalistic point of view. i've only heard that ms. brown is claiming to have inside knowledge when perhaps she doesn't. then again it may all be how it's interpreted by the reader.
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  #224  
Old 07-02-2007, 04:47 PM
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Journalistic or historical, it all falls apart when they claim to have facts that they couldn't possibly have.
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  #225  
Old 07-02-2007, 06:04 PM
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Well--I picked up the copy from the library this afternoon. Haven't started reading it yet--but 2 things stood out. There is no picture insert!! LOL. A book about the most photographed woman of her time and no color photos!! There is a collage of photos on the inside covers. The other thing is the list of who's who in society that are acknowledged at the beginning. It is a large list--hmmm..some I wonder what they could really have contributed. Oh well, I guess I may find out when I start reading. I have the salt handy just in case!!
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  #226  
Old 07-02-2007, 07:41 PM
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Well--I picked up the copy from the library this afternoon. Haven't started reading it yet--but 2 things stood out. There is no picture insert!! LOL. A book about the most photographed woman of her time and no color photos!! There is a collage of photos on the inside covers. The other thing is the list of who's who in society that are acknowledged at the beginning. It is a large list--hmmm..some I wonder what they could really have contributed. Oh well, I guess I may find out when I start reading. I have the salt handy just in case!!
Yes, these two points have been already mocked. I am very surprised to find no single picture in the book when I first saw it but some book review calling it as "style". I also find the 7-page length acknowlegement funny but I read from somewhere saying now more and more writers doing a very very long ackowdegment and Tina Brown is not the only one.
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  #227  
Old 07-05-2007, 07:30 PM
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I've just started reading the book and so far, find it interesting and well-written. It's not Nobel standard but it's good within its own genre and parameters.

I'm not so dismissive of Tina Brown. She's a highly regarded and highly accomplished journalist/editor on both sides of the Atlantic. She's an Oxford graduate and has been awarded a CBE for journalism. She does, however, have a number of enemies in the world of journalism, some, no doubt, prompted by envy, the others, possibly by angst.

To date, I think it at least a quasi-serious attempt at history. It's footnoted and has a comprehensive index. It's also highly recommended by a few people whose opinions I value, one being the well-known historian Simon Schama. That's some recommendation, in my opinion, as is the fact that many of her sources are directly named. Perhaps my opinion will change as I delve further into the book.
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  #228  
Old 07-06-2007, 05:52 AM
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I'm not so dismissive of Tina Brown. She's a highly regarded and highly accomplished journalist/editor on both sides of the Atlantic. She's an Oxford graduate and has been awarded a CBE for journalism.
Well, I'm sure Tina Brown is very intelligente and a great journalist. What I put in doubt is what she has written conserning things she could possibly know. Every award or diploma can't compensate a extremely detailed knowledge about what's happening in the Royal Family in particular in Diana's life which is finished.
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  #229  
Old 07-06-2007, 06:37 AM
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I am about 1/3 way through and so far nothing earth shattering has been written. I do think Tina "wanders" a bit off the main subject. It could just be trying to give the reader background info on not just the Spencer family but also the Royal family. At times it feels like it is too much information--alot that may not be necessary to the story of Diana. It does appear that the book is geared more to the American audience as there are things mentioned such using Donald Rumsfeld as a comparison to Prince Phillip or JC Penneys department store? At times Tina's choice of words seems a bit "coarse".

I have read Sarah Bradford's book as well. I would compare the 2 books so far as--Sarah's reminds me of something that I would see on Public Television and Tina's reminds me of something on a Made for TV movie. If that makes sense?
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  #230  
Old 07-06-2007, 05:59 PM
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Yes, I agree that at times there does seem to be a little too much information. However, I found Chapter 5: The Rise of the Beast, very interesting, in its discussion of the differences between the US and UK press, particularly as she's well placed to comment.

I'm checking her sources whenever she directly quotes someone and have been rather surprised to see that many which are attributed to Prince Charles are lifted from Dimbleby's authorised biography, so I can only assume that they're true. There are also quite a few opinions and quotes from others who are still living, and I doubt that Brown would be able to get away with doing this with impunity if she were not accurately reporting.

I still have a long way to go but so far, none of the main players come out of this very well at all. On the other hand, it's discussing real people, and many people have quite a few faults or unattractive personality traits which we never get to learn about. Thus, I'm approaching Brown's book with a large dose of tolerance towards all.
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  #231  
Old 07-13-2007, 03:18 PM
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Polly--I agree with you none of the main players come out of this book totally innocent.

I noticed in several places that sections seemed to come from other's material. I have read a number of books on this subject recently and recognize some of them in the text of this book. Patrick Jephson is listed in the acknowledgements and there are several passages that appear to have come straight from Shadows of a Princess. So she at least relied on some of the authors already published work for reference and interviewed others I would think.

I didn't care for Tina's writing style. At times her running sentences were hard to follow. She seemed to jump around at times--constantly referencing things that she hadn't covered yet. Going into detail about things that weren't necessary. I really didn't care for the coarse language used to describe certain people or situations. I am no prude but I found it off putting--especially if the book is meant to be taken seriously.

Overall--I would say that info wise--if anyone has read anything already written about Diana and the "Diana Period" then there is nothing really new in this book. What Tina did is take alot of previously known and different views on the subject and brought them together into one book. It ends up being both sympathetic and critical to all the major players. It infers that not only was Diana paranoid about Camilla but Camilla was at times just as paranoid of Diana.

The last chapter of the book--Remember Me really got to me for some reason. It just seemed to bring it together about just how many people were hurt and effected by the events to end a marriage that had gone bad. Just how sad the story is as a whole.

I think her publisher did kind of misled people into thinking that this book was written by someone who knew Diana well. They certainly did their pre publicity work with all the sensational headlines--most of them were not even covered for a whole page in the book itself. It made for good preorders though I am sure.
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  #232  
Old 07-14-2007, 10:13 AM
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I haven't been able to log in here for some days but I did have time to finish the book.

Overall, I thought it a good, serious read, as I've noted above. Her style at times was more undergraduate Oxonian and less journalist/editor, and I can accept her referencing practice. As many here will know, Tina Brown's habit of relying on previously published work and her 'off the record' assertions are par for the course in a lot of academic research (she's not writing a PhD after all). As I've also mentioned, I'm impressed by the fact that many who are quoted have not complained or argued about what she's written. There are three things which I think outstanding, viz

1. She discusses, with some intelligence and insight in my opinion, the changing sociological phenomena inherent in the sort of societies in which we live, specifically, the role of image and celebrity and how it's changed us. She has some keen observations to make between social structures in the UK and the US, marrying these to an explanation of some of the difficulties experienced by Charles and Diana within a hidebound, class-ridden social milieu.

2. With great care, she describes the fatal crash which killed Diana and the medical treatment which followed. I have always believed, as a rational being, that it was a complete accident, but even I have been given pause due to the relentless campaign by some to prove otherwise. Now, after reading Tina Brown's excellent reporting of the entire incident and its aftermath, I'll no longer question the common sense explanation. I think that a great many people are in her debt for this chapter alone.

3. The last chapter was, indeed, very well presented, and captured the great sadness of many (2 billion, allegedly, watched her funeral) and the wretchedness of the whole sorry saga. I was in London at the time of Diana's funeral and I saw some of the grief and, it must be said, anger, which was felt by hordes of people. I don't know whether it's true or not, but a family member told me that sharp-shooters were lined up on the roof of Buckingham Palace in case Her Majesty was at risk, so anxious was the government about her safety, and that the PM insisted that Andrew and Edward preceded her, to gauge the crowd's reaction first. Whereas this sounds ridiculous today, I well remember the unsettling and seething hostility of some at the time.

In my opinion, this is the best work which I've read about the whole Diana/Charles episode, if that is the right word. Others, much more competent that I, will be able to evaluate Brown's efforts, but I'm inclined to the view that, in years to come, even down the ages, this work will be seen as an important explanatory document. In sum, it's more evenly balanced than any other I've read before and deserves serious attention.
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  #233  
Old 07-14-2007, 11:52 AM
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I am probably going to buy the book although I still hesitate. I don't know if it's worth the reading. Thanks to Polly and the others who made conclusions and posted what they thought about it. I would like to read it and make my own opinion but I don't want to come across some family secrets or things like that.
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  #234  
Old 07-14-2007, 03:06 PM
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I was surprised to see that at least part of the book is also available in The Reader's Digest magazine here in the U.S. There's a photo of Diana on the latest issue (that should boost circulation!).
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  #235  
Old 07-14-2007, 05:16 PM
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One thing that struck me from the reviews, and I haven't read the book yet so I don't know if it's as blatant, was the way she appeared to be reporting private conversations as though she'd been there. There was something about "Frances Shand-Kydd said 'xxxxx' and then Diana retorted 'xxxxx' and Frances said 'xxxx'," all in the context of a conversation that wouldn't have been overheard by anyone. This sort of thing always makes me wonder what else has been made up to suit the author's agenda.
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  #236  
Old 07-14-2007, 05:40 PM
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One thing that struck me from the reviews, and I haven't read the book yet so I don't know if it's as blatant, was the way she appeared to be reporting private conversations as though she'd been there. There was something about "Frances Shand-Kydd said 'xxxxx' and then Diana retorted 'xxxxx' and Frances said 'xxxx'," all in the context of a conversation that wouldn't have been overheard by anyone. This sort of thing always makes me wonder what else has been made up to suit the author's agenda.
Well that's exactly what I'm afraid of. It's been 10 years since Diana died and who can possibly remember the exact sentence of someone after all this time ?! Perhaps she has some memories but to be that precise ...
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  #237  
Old 07-14-2007, 06:21 PM
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One thing that struck me from the reviews, and I haven't read the book yet so I don't know if it's as blatant, was the way she appeared to be reporting private conversations as though she'd been there. There was something about "Frances Shand-Kydd said 'xxxxx' and then Diana retorted 'xxxxx' and Frances said 'xxxx'," all in the context of a conversation that wouldn't have been overheard by anyone. This sort of thing always makes me wonder what else has been made up to suit the author's agenda.
The article that love_cc posted referred to a striptease that Tina referred to that Diana supposedly try to do to seduce Charles that flopped badly. The author is this article was of the opinion that the origin of the story was Diana herself though he doesn't go into detail about that could occur because the only two people that would have been witnesses to the occasion would have been Diana and Charles and Charles would hardly have revealed a story like that.

Quote:
another article and I suppose a little thinking about republicism in it
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Quote:
I'm not so dismissive of Tina Brown. She's a highly regarded and highly accomplished journalist/editor on both sides of the Atlantic. She's an Oxford graduate and has been awarded a CBE for journalism. She does, however, have a number of enemies in the world of journalism, some, no doubt, prompted by envy, the others, possibly by angst.
Tina Brown's literary reputation took a nosedive in New York when she took over the New Yorker, a highly respected literary magazine. The first thing she did was to cut down the length of the articles and she told authors to use simpler words and shorter sentence structures because most people couldn't understand nor did they care about what the authors wrote. It was never a blockbuster magazine but it had a steady respectable readership. I used to subscribe to it before she took over but now I find the magazine unreadable.

Her editing style worked for the Tatler and Vanity Fair that are supposed to be sensationalist and a bit racy in nature but it didn't work for the New Yorker.

That having been said, I think Tina Brown may be more trustworthy when she talks about the effect of Diana on the media. Celebrity and media are her areas of expertise and major areas of interest. So if she's doing an editorial piece of the effects of the media on something or the effect of a person like Diana on the media, I would say Tina Brown is very reliable.

About individual details of Diana's life? Not sure about that unless as Polly noted that Tina took it from sources that can be trusted for the information that they provide like Dimbledy.
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  #238  
Old 07-14-2007, 11:34 PM
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One thing that struck me from the reviews, and I haven't read the book yet so I don't know if it's as blatant, was the way she appeared to be reporting private conversations as though she'd been there. There was something about "Frances Shand-Kydd said 'xxxxx' and then Diana retorted 'xxxxx' and Frances said 'xxxx'," all in the context of a conversation that wouldn't have been overheard by anyone. This sort of thing always makes me wonder what else has been made up to suit the author's agenda.
Quite true. However, I can't recall any such conversation or quote which isn't footnoted in some way. Of course, one can always question the sources, but this type of criticism applies to nearly everything which we 'know' from the past. Truth, myth and hearsay comprise a formidable cocktail of accepted history; always have.

The one who emerges from this book as the least sympathetic is the Duchess of Cornwall, though no one is whitewashed. I can easily accept that it's in the interests of many to downplay Tina Brown's account of Diana's life, which, to me, remains a triumph of investigative journalism. In this context, I have no problem with her methodology.

About the New Yorker - its' a moot point whether or not she succeeded. Many of her critics are those whom she replaced or simply didn't like her, but she did raise the circulation by 30%.
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  #239  
Old 07-15-2007, 06:24 AM
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About the New Yorker - its' a moot point whether or not she succeeded. Many of her critics are those whom she replaced or simply didn't like her, but she did raise the circulation by 30%.
Tina Brown's critics from her stint at the New Yorker are not so easy to dismiss, Polly.

Many of her critics were long term subscribers like myself who thought she did a great job at Tatler and Vanity Fair but who had no interest is reading the New Yorker magazine after it had been dumbed down past all recognition. I didn't care who Tina Brown was as a person; I didn't like what she did to the articles in the New Yorker after she took it over and most subscribers thought the same. The 30% increase of readership was disputed but at any rate the number of long term subscribers has gone down and that is a direct correlation to the perceived quality of the writing.

The New Yorker was never a big money maker but that was never the point. The New Yorker satisfied a niche market with offerings that were unavailable from any other magazine. Now what is available in the New Yorker can be had in several magazines.

Both her fans and her critics at the magazine agree that she took what was basically a unique specialty product and turned it into a commodity. Its whether one thinks that sort of thing is good or bad will determine whether one thinks her tenure at New Yorker was successful. But regardless whether one thinks it is good or bad, a tenure at a magazine like that is going to have an adverse impact of one's academic reputation regardless of prior plaudits.
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  #240  
Old 07-15-2007, 10:11 PM
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Well, I can't argue with that,Ysbel. On the other hand, my Mum and Dad subscribed for all of my conscious life but stopped, just before the advent of Tina Brown, on the basis that it was the 'same old, same old'. (their judgement, not mine). I clearly remember being left with Nature and Scientific American, which, to a young girl, wasn't quite the same.

Please don't misunderstand me: I'm far from being any sort of an apologist for Tina Brown about whom I personally care very little. This doesn't preclude my appreciation for her book, 'Diana'. First, I genuinely liked Diana, as silly as I sometimes thought her and as badly advised as I thought that she was, from time to time. Second, I'm a staunch supporter of The Queen, and despite what I've sometimes thought is his appalling behaviour, always cared about The Prince of Wales. Brown's book, for all of my purposes, addresses my queries and concerns, including the political and social ramifications of the upheaval which Diana occasioned. There are aspects to this book, I believe, which go beyond the 'show and tell' aspects of so many others which report on the Diana phenomenon. For instance, Brown draws a correlation between the impact of Thatcherism and its attendant social dislocation and change and the rise of a perceived national attachment to and affection for Diana. Sociologist and historians may well, I think, give serious consideration to this book, sooner or later.
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