Books: That B.B.B.B. Old B.

MARLBOROUGH'S DUCHESS (314 pp.)— Louis Kronenberger—Knopf ($5.75).

Authors who "understand women" may do so because they have learned first to understand men—and to know what a woman must contend with in her particular time and society. Author Louis Kronenberger, TIME'S theater critic and an authority on 18th century Britain, knows that Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, was one of the toughest, tetchiest, worldliest women of her time—but also that the time itself was one of treachery and double-dealing, an age in which England was "almost plagued with brilliance, and swollen with ambition." It was the...

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