Evita, First Lady : a biography of Eva Peron /

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Main Author: Barnes, John, 1935-
Format: Book
Edition:1st ed.
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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Yes, we've heard it before--how the illegitimate waif and inept actress became the powerful, soignÉ idol of Argentina's multitudinous poor--and, 26 years after her early death, Barnes does little to either amplify, verify, or explain the record compiled during the years (1946-52) that she and Juan Perón ruled Argentina with an open hand and an iron fist. But as a newsman stationed in Argentina, he has seen her legend persist, and his own fascination with her meteoric rise and mercurial personality hells explain why. On Eva's struggle upward from bed to bed, he is useless (stilted prose plus apparent compunction--nothing is said, here or later, about her fabled sexuality); and endemic imprecision weakens the account of the events which propelled Perón, now with Eva at his side, into the presidency. But if, in the complete absence of documentation (no citations or other footnotes, no bibliography), historical accuracy can nowhere be presumed, the weight of evidence of the Peróns' combined effect, and of her effect upon him, is overwhelming. Suddenly, the rich were humbled, the British economic grip was broken, the descamisados (shirtless ones) received a living wage, homes, schools, hospitals; and both Peróns worked from dawn to dusk. If this was demagoguery, says Barnes (citing the flowery speeches, the frenzied rallies), it was also economic justice. He does not conceal Eva's petty, unrelenting vindictiveness but he has a certain respect; had she lived, he feels, Perón would not have made the mistakes (like alienating the Church) that drove him from power. A toneless book, and neither scholarly nor sensational, but stamped with the force of a personality as indestructible, it seems, as her embalmed remains. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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