Though I am not a regular Vogue reader, I picked up this biography out of curiosity to see what Anna Wintour’s splashes in the tabloids were all about.

Although the subject matter’s interest potential is high, Jerry Oppenheimer’s work reads like a 300+ page deposition against Anna Wintour from everybody who had/has a major or minor gripe with her. It’s a heavy and boring read.

Gossip, if one can get over oneself and admit that it can be entertaining, should remain light and diverting. In this book, it is difficult to garner much sympathy for the subject or its author, much less derive the slightest enjoyment from it. I didn’t wait for the ending before I put it down.

Perhaps this lackluster effort will compel someone else to attempt a better job. But then again, when that time comes, Anna Wintour may be have disappeared completely from public interest.

From blurb:

She’s ambitious. She’s a perfectionist. She’s insecure and needy. But most of all she’s extremely successful. She’s Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, the most powerful arbiter of fashion and style in the world. This is the inside story of the public and private worlds of the enigmatic icon often hidden behind dark sunglasses and under the fringe of a Louise Brooks bob, a style she’s been wearing since she was a teenager obsessed with fashion in “Swinging Sixties” London. A dropout at 16 from a tiny private school, Anna Wintour grew up in a home dominated by a powerful and icy British newspaper editor father and a cold and critical American heiress mother who had a scandalous marriage. Anna Wintour has been called many things over the years: “Nuclear Wintour” by her fearful subordinates at British Vogue, “cold, suspicious and autocratic, a vision of skinniness” by Grace Mirabella, the editor-in-chief whose job she grabbed at American Vogue, and “The Devil” in a recent bestselling roman a clef, written by Wintour’s assistant. In her mid-fifties, nearing her second remarkable decade at the helm of Vogue, her story is part Cinderella, part Horatio Alger: an ambitious fashionista arrives here – from London in the mid 70s and fights her way to the top of the bitchy and very competitive fashion magazine world, artfully rafting and reinventing herself along the way. Front Row is also the scrupulously researched story of this ingular woman’s personal passions and needs, of her loves lost and won, of her battles and feuds, and of her incredible achievements.