Books: Doing Turns on a High Wire

When the stage was his only world, Kenneth Tynan dominated it as no drama critic since George Bernard Shaw had. When, sometime in the 1960s, the wide world was turned into a stage for celebrity posturings, the critic recast himself as a potential star, offering himself as an international social critic and sexual reformer. And became just another face in a crowd grotesquely clamoring for attention. The life his second wife, Kathleen, recounts in her uncompromising and ultimately harrowing biography-memoir becomes the record of a befuddled search for the fulfillment of youth's inordinate promise, and for the graceful exit Tynan never...

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