Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Michael Greenburg's PEACHES & DADDY in The New York Times

Sam Roberts of The New York Times takes a look at one of the great stories of Jazz Age New York: the sensational love affair between real estate tycoon Edward West Browning and a young teenager Frances "Peaches" Heenan.

On the evening of March 5, 1926, well-known, fifty-one-year-old Manhattan millionaire, Edward "Daddy" Browning, waltzed through the doors of the legendary Hotel McAlpin, and into the life of a fifteen-year-old high school girl named Frances Belle "Peaches" Heenan. Thirty-seven days later, amid blaring newspaper headlines announcing the event and with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in close pursuit, they were married. Within ten months they would begin a courtroom drama that would blow their impassioned saga into a national scandal. Their 1920s romance sent riptides across the moral landscape of America for years to come. Peaches and Daddy, by author Michael Greenburg, vividly recounts the amazing and improbable romance, marriage, and ultimate legal battle for separation of this publicity-craving Manhattan couple in America's "Era of Wonderful Nonsense." Their story is one of dysfunction and remarkable excess, yet at the time, the lurid details of their brief courtship and marriage captured the imagination of the American public like no other story of its day. Their affair propelled them into the headlines and the bylines of the nation's tabloid press for a magical moment in time; their legacy is one of an enduring contribution to the sometimes almost mad history of the country.

"If you can’t get enough of the story of Peaches, Michael M. Greenburg’s Peaches and Daddy: A Story of the Roaring 20s, the Birth of Tabloid Media and the Courtship That Captured the Heart and Imagination of the American Public (The Overlook Press, $26 ) is peppered with titillating court transcripts and even more profound conclusions."

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