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The Bishop's Daughter: A Memoirby Honor Moore
Synopses & Reviews
Paul Moore's vocation as an Episcopal priest took him--with his wife Jenny and a family that grew to nine children--from robber-baron wealth to work among the urban poor of postwar America, prominence as an activist bishop in Washington during the Johnson years, leadership in the civil rights and peace movements, and two decades as the bishop of New York. The Bishop's Daughter is a daughter's story of that complex, visionary man: a chronicle of her turbulent relationship with a father who struggled privately with his sexuality while she openly explored hers, and a searching account of the consequences of sexual secrets. With a depth of questioning that recalls James Carroll's An American Requiem, this memoir engages the reader in the great issues of American life: war, race, family, sexuality, and faith.
"Having told the sad, extraordinary story of her maternal grandmother, the painter Margarett Sargent, in The White Blackbird (1996), Moore offers a painfully honest memoir of her father, Paul Moore (1919 — 2003), the Episcopal bishop of the diocese of New York from 1972 to 1989. Educated at St. Paul's and Yale, Paul distinguished himself in battle as a marine on Guadalcanal during WWII; fathered nine children by his first wife, the vivacious Jenny McKean; and became an activist in the liberal social movements of the 1950s and '60s. He also had numerous clandestine affairs with men. While Paul's bisexuality did little harm to his professional career, it took a heavy emotional toll on his family, notably Jenny, who up to her death from cancer at age 51 confided to only a few intimates the underlying cause of the unhappiness in her marriage. The author, a poet and playwright, draws on letters between her parents, the reminiscences of friends (including a male lover of her father's) and her own experiences as her parents' oldest child coming of age in the '60s to create an indelible portrait of a charismatic religious leader who could be insensitive or even cruel to those who loved him most. At the dramatic heart of this engrossing family chronicle is the ultimately triumphant struggle of the daughter, who suffered her own sexual confusion and years of therapy, to reconstruct her father's personal history in an effort to understand his behavior and thereby forgive." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An unsparing portrait of a glamorous but elusive father and his daughter's search for the truth about his secret life."--Sylvia Nasar
'An eloquent argument for speaking even the most difficult truths.' '"New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Honor Moore is a poet and the author of The Bishop's Daughter. She lives in New York City and teaches at the New School and Columbia University.
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