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The Last Playboy

Posted on

The Last Playboy

Current Status:
In Season
Shawn Levy
Fourth Estate
Nonfiction, Biography

We gave it an A-

Dashing, swarthy, and hip as a swizzle stick, Dominican gadabout Porfirio Rubirosa gave society columnists endless fodder during his ’40s and ’50s heyday. Thanks to Shawn Levy’s meticulous research and well-honed imagination, the swaggering heartbreaker — who romanced Zsa Zsa Gabor, married Barbara Hutton, and charmed Doris Duke out of a French manse — comes back to full-bodied life. ”He was an ideal of the part, the very image of the Latin lover,” writes Levy, ”and the world ate it up.” He was also a longtime foot soldier for murderous Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo and lived under a cloud of suspicion for decades. Levy makes Playboy both a fitting elegy for a forgotten boldfaced name and a thoughtful study of mid-20th-century Pan-American politics.