The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983-1992 by Tina Brown review – ‘the heart of the zeitgeist, people!’

These reflections by the celebrated editor aren’t really about a magazine but about her, and the name-dropping and hard-glamour sell are relentless

Almost 20 years ago I bought a book in a charity shop purely because of the author: it was Life As a Party, by Tina Brown, published in 1983. I was starting to consider journalism as a career and, of all the high-profile female journalists out there to see as a role model, Brown struck me as a pretty good option. Whereas the similarly impressive Anna Wintour, long-term editor-in-chief of American Vogue, made success look utterly joyless, Brown seemed to have such fun, whizzing back and forth across the Atlantic, dropping names like a chainsmoker discarding cigarette butts. Who wouldn’t want to hang out at Tina Brown’s party?

Except, it turned out, the operative word in “Life As a Party” was the second one: Brown’s world wasn’t an ...