Schlesinger notes a review of his memoirs by Jonathan Yardley that indicts him as "a name dropper, social climber, celebrity hound, Kennedy toady etc etc". That might have been true enough to sting. Maureen Dowd's NY Times review more kindly argued that
It's hard not to like a book that expounds on Marilyn Monroe on one page and the Monroe Doctrine on the next. When Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. ruminates on the realm of hemispheric affairs, the transition from one Monroe to the other is seamless, as is the slide from Bosnia to Bianca Jagger and from Alexander Hamilton to Angie Dickinson. His diaries are a Tiffany’s window of name-dropping. This is not history so much as historical trail mix.I've noted Isaiah Berlin's 1952 comment to Schlesinger in Enlightening: Letters 1946-1960 (London: Chatto & Windus 2009) that
The old-school, bow-tied liberal and Kennedy courtier had a weakness for cafe society and Century Club martinis served by Arthur the Barbadian drinks waiter. He was just as happy talking about NATO enlargement or celebrity enlargement, fastidiously jotting down when Elizabeth Taylor, Norman Mailer and Robert Bork — and himself, "alas" — looked a bit fat. And heaven help poor John Kenneth Galbraith's wife, Kitty, the night she showed up amid the "notables affably circulating," as our diarist likes to say, "dowdily dressed."
I generally think that everything I do is superficial, worthless, glaringly shallow, and could not take in an idiot child.Exactamundo.
Having escaped from a seminar with Chinese bureaucrats about value-adding in the processing of agricultural commodities - much eye rolling when I highlighted concerns regarding contamination (the 'melamine milkshake' problem discussed by Marion Nestle in Petfood Politics) - and the Faculty's 'mission statement' meeting I'm now reading The Rule of Law Under Siege: Selected Essays of Franz Neumann & Otto Kirchheimer (Berkeley: Uni of California Press 1996), Khaled El-Rouayheb's Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800 (Chicago: Uni of Chicago Press 2005) and Vernon Bogdanor's The New British Constitution (Oxford: Hart 2009).
The El-Rouayheb is worth sighting just for the delightful picture of nubian goats on the front cover.