[Book Nerd Links] Welty, Beckett, Heaney, Wharton, and Lefteri

Eudora Welty

A Year in Books/Day 5: Dictator Style

  • Title: Dictator Style Lifestyle’s of the World’s Most Colorful Despots
  • Author: Peter York (Foreword by Douglas Coupland)
  • Year Published: 2006 (Chronicle Books LLC)
  • Year Purchased: 2008/2009
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: It’s hardly a surprise to discover that some of history’s worst dictators, egomaniacs all, also had really execrable aesthetic preferences. By taking us behind the curtains into seldom seen private sectors, this book manages to add a new layer of psychological insight into the minds of these historical horrors. The old adage that money (and an obscene amount of power) does not buy taste or happiness has never been better proven.
  • Motivation: I am a sucker for the all-too-rare pairing of history and style. And the cheetah-print cover didn’t hurt.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 2: “An enthusiasm for railway travel may be Victorian, but (Porfirio)
    Porfirio Diaz

    Image via Wikipedia

    Diaz’s carriage is more suggestive of the kind of Texan whorehouse we see in Westerns. It is smothered in textiles: silk damask upholstery, squishy cushions, elaborate fringing, and there’s a raised ceiling with fanciful stencilling and small arched windows inset in the roof-the sort of thing you might find in a traditional nineteenth-century sunroom. There’s a large oval mirror in the panelling, a lot of shiny wood and a hanging brass lamp. It’s ideal for the secret assignations of an elderly Latin American soldier who liked to play away from home.”

  • Happiness Scale: 9