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    Gray, Francine du Plessix

    “My mother enjoyed claiming direct descent from Genghis Khan,” Gray explains as she opens this complex and rewarding family memoir. That claim gave her mother “both the aristocratic pedigree and the freedom to be a barbarian.” Tatiana Yakovleva du Plessix Liberman was 19 and hungry in 1925 when she left the Soviet Union for France. Tatiana and Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky soon fell passionately in love, but the ever-practical woman married aristocratic Frenchman Bertrand du Plessix instead. They had one child, Francine, before du Plessix was killed in early WWII combat. Tatiana then became involved with Alexander Liberman, a British- and French-educated artistic Jewish-Russian émigré. Alex, Tatiana and Francine fled to New York in 1941 and started a new life—Tatiana designing hats for Bendel’s before a career with Saks, Alex scaling the fashion journalism ladder at Condé Nast.

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    Alpha

    Echo

    India

    Mike

    Quebec

    Uniform

    Yankee

    Bravo

    Foxtrot

    Juliet

    November

    Romeo

    Victor

    Zulu

    Charlie

    Golf

    Kilo

    Oscar

    Sierra

    Whiskey

    Delta

    Hotel

    Lima

    Papa

    Tango

    X-Ray