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The Page Boy

By Lavender June 5, 2008

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The Bishop’s Daughter
Honor Moore
Norton
$25.95

Daughters have issues with fathers: closeness, rejection. His sex life? Unthinkable; unimaginable. How magnified are these factors when father is a Father, revered by thousands for his exemplary life of good works? When one discovers his intimate women friends? Male lovers?

Honor Moore has been faulted and praised for revealing the shadow life of her own father, Paul Moore (1919-2003), Episcopal Bishop of New York. Her palpable anger and confusion are suffused with love. The reader travels with her, and ponders her unanswered questions: What might life have been for them all in a different, more open time? Would the complexities of the human heart have obtruded anyway?

In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God
Gene Robinson
Seabury Books
$25

The “eye” of a storm is its calm center—a calm that Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire has found with his partner of 20 years, if not with the worldwide Anglican Church. Robinson’s short memoir is more a collection of essays on the noninerrancy of scripture; his interpretation of Leviticus’s “abominations”; and his belief that the challenge of patriarchical power by both open homosexuality and the equality of women underlie the current turmoil in the Episcopal Church. Robinson now leads an openly gay life—but the book raises unanswered questions concerning the personal and family life changes navigated to reach the presently calm eye in the surrounding hurricane.

The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America
David Hajdu
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
$26

By 1954, some 20 publishers pumped nearly 650 titles and 80 to 100 million comic books weekly into kids’ dime-clutching hands. Most dealt in horror and crime, with a smattering of romance, western, and funny animal comics. Senator Estes Kefauver named comics in his organized crime hearings in 1950-51, but Senator Robert Hendrickson (Republican-New Jersey) was out to take the comics down. Author Hajdu seems to have interviewed every extant comic book publisher artist and (then) teen book burner for this fascinating crawl through comicdom and its effects—good, bad, none—on kids. The Senate circus killed the industry then, but have you checked out the medium lately?

Zaida Ben-Yusuf: New York Portrait Photographer
Frank H. Goodyear III, Contributions by Elisabeh O. Wiley and Jobyl A. Boone
Merrell
$59.95

Zaida Ben-Yusuf (1869- 1933) was only 24 when her striking portraiture caught the eye of photographer Alfred Steiglitz, and first was published in his prestigious Camera Notes. Living and working in New York, she worked only with portraiture, and photographed many of the notable personalities of the day, including President Theodore Roosevelt, photographer Jacob A. Riis, artist Robert Henri, actress Minnie Maddern Fiske, and author Edith Wharton. As Goodyear’s fine biographical essay points out, Ben-Yusuf was particularly interested in “a relatively newer generation of upwardly mobile men and women.” She also used self-portraits to explore gender identity in her work, considered provoking for that time—or ours.

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