Books: Poor Little Research

Recalling a book rattles the publishing industry

The sad life of Woolworth Heiress Barbara Hutton (seven marriages, lavish escapades, hints of insanity) was chronicled as it happened, in gossip columns. A new biography of Hutton is also being talked about in the columns, but this time the whispers involve the writer and publisher, not the subject.

Poor Little Rich Girl seemingly had everything going for it: a notorious beauty who died an impoverished recluse in 1979, a supporting cast of lovers that included Howard Hughes and James Dean, and a seasoned biographer, working from interviews with the heiress as well as her unpublished...

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