A prominent cover story might help her win the posting to Paris, provided it did not appear to have been encouraged by her. Harriman's obituaries, I dug out my transcript of our interview.
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REFLECTED GLORY The Life of Pamela Churchill Harriman. Over five years and 400 interviews, the author has left no stone unturned and no layers of slung mud unexcavated to reveal Mrs.
Smith comes armed with tweezers, toothbrush and a microscope.
The author shoots back immediately: '' Without the slightest embarrassment, several months grew to two years, with the implication that she had received a prestigious degree.'' A thick-skinned chameleon, Mrs. Smith records an ''absence of joy'' in this odyssey, yet one gets quite the contrary impression. Harriman was clearly having a ball, albeit with a packed and complicated dance card. Harriman once recalled, '' I woke up one day and said ' My God, you've never had any fun.' '' Bear in mind that she had spent most of the war years going to parties, having affairs and reveling in the company and patronage of Sir Winston Churchill, the most amusing and powerful man in Britain, and you have a woman with a most demanding definition of ''fun.'' Mrs.
Harriman appears infinitely adaptable: while with Gianni Agnelli she developed a bogus Italian accent; for her job in Paris she swotted up on trade agreements. Such chutzpah enraged her contemporaries (particularly those with husbands), but she just went plowing on, stroking egos, making contacts, heading upward. Harriman's early frivolity, as distinct from her later incarnations as Democratic den mother and foreign affairs expert, was surely a key ingredient in her allure.
'' It was always ' I'm moving on to the next,' never 'he's tired of me,' '' her friend Lydia Redmond recalled of Mrs. She could be witty if she cared to -- she turned to a neighbor at one of Elie de Rothschild's dinner parties and suggested he try some of the Chateau Mouton Rothschild ''because it's homemade, you know'' -- but she is permitted a rare joke in 560 pages.