About the Book
While few may know her name today, hers was perhaps the world’s most recognizable face in the years of the Belle Epoque, made so by the magic of photography and the public's infatuation with the newly invented postcard. This is the life story of one of history's most illustrious beauties. The sacred and profane fantasies she inspired worked their magic on Klimt, Toulouse-Lautrec, and a dozen other important artists. Before the industrial publicity machines of Hollywood were conceived, and before there were any moving pictures at all, postcard images of great beauties breathed life into the newly invented "media star." Merode was the first in a line of women to become famous because the media (a newly invented manufacturing process for celebrity) made their tantalizing images recognizable to the masses.
Lawrence Jay Switzer draws his inspiration from an eventful lifetime of academic achievement, exemplified by his collection of dearly-earned diplomas from the following—the deployment of television for baby sitting and primary education; the birth of Rock ‘n Roll; the beginning, tiresome duration, and conclusion of the Cold War; the apprehension and execution of Adolf Eichmann; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK; the first steps of Man on lunar soil; the Summer of Love; Watergate; Ronald and Nancy Reagan; the AIDS epidemic; the WTC tragedy of 911, the advent of the personal computer, the cellular phone, and hand-held electronic devices of all varieties; the revolution of opera supertitles; the conquest of America by MacDonalds, Starbucks, Walmart, Gap, etc. He has created The Walt Whitman Series, and biographies of history's most famous courtesans. He also is the publisher and Creative Director of The New Knickerbocker Quarterly Magazine.