Format Hardcover
Publication Date 10/13/20
ISBN 9781643135601
Trim Size / Pages 9 x 6 in / 608

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Friends and Enemies

A Life in Vogue, Prison, & Park Avenue

Barbara Amiel

Shockingly honest, richly detailed, and pulling no punches, Friends and Enemies traverses the highs and lows of Barbara Amiel's storied life in journalism and high society.

From her early childhood in London during the Blitz to emigrating to North America and her rise to the top rungs of journalism; to her four husbands and other assorted beaus both famous and not; and right up to her marriage to Conrad Black and their prolific legal battles against the powerful and vengeful American justice system, Barbara Amiel's life has been as dramatic as it is glamorous. She has been called every conceivable name in the book by the media (and authors of unauthorized biographies about her), pilloried for her extravagant lifestyle and sometimes regrettable quotes to the press ("My extravagance knows no bounds," for instance, to Vogue), not to mention her outspoken conservative political views as stated in her weekly newspaper columns around the world. It's no surprise she remains to this day a subject of utter fascination after over four decades in the public eye.

But until now, very few people actually know her real story—the break-up of her family when she was a child, her bouts of debilitating depression and other chronic health issues, her thoughts on feminism and #MeToo, her travels with the international jet set and A-list celebrities, and, of course, her unvarnished views on the trial and conviction (since overturned) of Conrad Black and the iron-clad bond they have shared since they were married in 1992.

Whether you are an admirer or critic of Amiel’s, you will be completely engrossed in her operatic life, one that seems ripped from the pages of a scandalous novel. She also distinguishes herself as a woman well ahead of her time—the first female editor of a national newspaper in Canada, she challenged the sexual mores of society while also angering the feminist establishment. She has certainly had many friends and enemies over the years—Henry and Nancy Kissinger, Elton John, Tom Stoppard, David Frost, Anna Wintour, Oscar de la Renta, Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana, Marie Jose Kravis, to name but a few—and she brings these personalties into the spotlight in this larger-than-life memoir that is sure to cause a sensation with readers everywhere.

Barbara Amiel has been a columnist for The Times of London, The Daily Telegraph, and Maclean’s; a senior political columnist for The Sunday Times of London; Editor of the Toronto Sun (first woman to edit a major Canadian daily paper); VP-Editorial for Hollinger newspapers; and co-author of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar-winner By Persons Unknown. She has many Chanel jackets, cannot cook, owns large Hungarian Kuvasz dogs, and is married to Conrad Black. They live together near Toronto.

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Endorsements & Reviews

Barbara Amiel has robustly led more colourful lives than the most exotic Cheshire Cat Elton John
This is undoubtedly the autobiography of the decade. Barbara Amiel’s searing—and sometimes brutal—honesty, both about herself and others, leaves the reader staggered. How one person could have lived so many starkly different lives—bikini model, gangster’s moll, first female editor, TV provocateur, multi-married sexual adventuress, proud Zionist, poet’s muse, Cold War warrior, titled society hostess, assiduous prison visitor, and more—is truly extraordinary. No one expected a discreet memoir from Barbara Amiel, but few could possibly have imagined that it would be quite this powerfully, dangerously, profoundly self-revelatory. Andrew Roberts New York Times bestselling author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny
More enemies than friends take center stage in Amiel's fiery recollections of her eventful life. An observant and unforgiving account of a life that 'has always been a precarious mix of gutter and ballroom, of intense work and absolutely unhealthy play.' Packed with enough memorable characters, household moves, dinner parties, and jewelry shopping excursions to fill at least three typical memoirs. A celebrity memoir with an uncompromising kick. Kirkus Review
Amiel dishes on affluent society in this scorching memoir, settling scores with those she thinks betrayed her and her husband, former media baron Conrad Black...This arch, over-the-top lambasting will captivate political junkies and society watchers alike. Publishers Weekly