Stock Image

Peninsula Of Lies: A True Story Of Mysterious Birth And Taboo Love

Ball, Edward

127 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0743235606 / ISBN 13: 9780743235600
Published by Simon & Schuster, 2004
Used Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Books Do Furnish A Room (Durham, NC, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since September 29, 1998

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 4.00 Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.50 Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

Pages unmarked. Dust jacket lightly worn. Slight spine slant. Binding firm. Bookseller Inventory # 92412

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: Peninsula Of Lies: A True Story Of ...

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine Dust Jacket

Edition: First Edition

Book Type: NOT Ex-Library

About this title

Synopsis:

Peninsula of Lies is a nonfiction mystery, set in haunting locales and peopled with fascinating characters, that unwraps the enigma of a woman named Dawn Langley Simmons, a British writer who lived in Charleston, South Carolina, during the 1960s and became the focus of one of the most unusual sexual scandals of the last century.

Born in England sometime before World War II, Dawn Langley Simmons began life as a boy named Gordon Langley Hall. Gordon was the son of servants at Sissinghurst Castle, the estate of Vita Sackville-West, where as a child he met Vita's lover Virginia Woolf. In his twenties, Gordon made his way to New York, where he became an author of society biographies and befriended such grandes dames as the actress Margaret Rutherford and the artist and heiress Isabel Whitney, who left him a small fortune.

The money allowed Gordon to buy a mansion in Charleston and fill it with period furniture, providing a stage for him to entertain more great ladies and to climb the social ladder of the Southern gentry to its heights.

However, Gordon's world changed instantly in 1968, when at The Johns Hopkins Hospital he underwent one of the first sex-reassignment surgeries, returning to Southern society and scandalizing Charleston as the new Dawn Langley Hall. Dawn Hall furthermore announced that her surgery had been corrective, because she'd actually been misidentified as a boy at birth.

Three months later, Dawn raised the stakes in still-segregated Charleston when she arranged her very public marriage to a young black mechanic, John-Paul Simmons. In due course, Dawn appeared around town pregnant; finally, she could be seen pushing a baby carriage with a child -- her daughter, Natasha.

National Book Award-winning author Edward Ball (Slaves in the Family) has written a detective story that deciphers the riddle of Dawn Simmons, a once rich and infamous changeling who died in 2000, her sexual identity never determined.

Peninsula of Lies is an engrossing narrative of a person who tested every taboo, as well as the confidence of observers in their own eyes.

Peninsula of Lies is a nonfiction mystery, set in haunting locales and peopled with fascinating characters, that unwraps the enigma of a woman named Dawn Langley Simmons, a British writer who lived in Charleston, South Carolina, during the 1960s and became the focus of one of the most unusual sexual scandals of the last century.

Born in England sometime before World War II, Dawn Langley Simmons began life as a boy named Gordon Langley Hall. Gordon was the son of servants at Sissinghurst Castle, the estate of Vita Sackville-West, where as a child he met Vita's lover Virginia Woolf. In his twenties, Gordon made his way to New York, where he became an author of society biographies and befriended such grandes dames as the actress Margaret Rutherford and the artist and heiress Isabel Whitney, who left him a small fortune.

The money allowed Gordon to buy a mansion in Charleston and fill it with period furniture, providing a stage for him to entertain more great ladies and to climb the social ladder of the Southern gentry to its heights.

However, Gordon's world changed instantly in 1968, when at The Johns Hopkins Hospital he underwent one of the first sex-reassignment surgeries, returning to Southern society and scandalizing Charleston as the new Dawn Langley Hall. Dawn Hall furthermore announced that her surgery had been corrective, because she'd actually been misidentified as a boy at birth.

Three months later, Dawn raised the stakes in still-segregated Charleston when she arranged her very public marriage to a young black mechanic, John-Paul Simmons. In due course, Dawn appeared around town pregnant; finally, she could be seen pushing a baby carriage with a child -- her daughter, Natasha.

National Book Award-winning author Edward Ball (Slaves in the Family) has written a detective story that deciphers the riddle of Dawn Simmons, a once rich and infamous changeling who died in 2000, her sexual identity never determined.

Peninsula of Lies is an engrossing narrative of a person who tested every taboo, as well as the confidence of observers in their own eyes.

Review:

It would take quite a story to live up to the melodramatic title of Edward Ball's Peninsula of Lies: A True Story of Mysterious Birth and Taboo Love. Fortunately for the reader, the bizarre and highly compelling tale of Gordon Langley Hall and his transformation into Dawn Langley Hall is quite a story indeed. Novelists couldn't have dreamed up a more fascinating central character than Hall. Born the son of British servants, Hall, as a boy, befriended Virginia Woolf and her lover Vita Sackville-West. As a young man, he made his way to New York, becoming a biographer of some society figures and endearing himself to others including heiress Isabel Whitney who left him an inheritance that allowed him to move to Charleston, South Carolina, and gain entry to the colorful world of Southern society. In 1968, Hall underwent a sex change operation, claiming that the procedure was corrective and that she had actually possessed female sexual organs all along. Further complicating matters for the people of Charleston was Dawn's marriage to a young black mechanic and the appearance of an infant daughter. Author Edward Ball (Slaves in the Family) first came into contact with Hall through a uncover more about her. Although it is a biography of Hall, Peninsula of Lies is also equal parts mystery as Ball tracks down key figures from Hall's life, attempts to separate truth from legend and find the points at which the two intersect. As the facts of her life are brought into the light, Hall's psychology and motivation become more inscrutable and we are left with more questions than answers. Edward Ball's investigative persistence is tempered by a kindness toward his interview subjects, which, combined with his rich descriptions of 1960s Southern living, make Peninsula of Lies a lively read. But it is the impression left by the enigmatic Dawn Langley Hall that is sure to linger after the book is over. --John Moe

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

Used Books, records, compact discs, cassette tapes, comics and misc. pop culture odds & ends. Near Duke's East Campus. Open every day except Christmas. Visit our web page at www.booksdofurnisharoom.com

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

Payment with order: Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Discover, Money Order,
Cashiers Check,
PayPal (to info@booksdofurnisharoom.com), Personal Check. Books can be returned
within 10 days for any reason.

US Shipping & Handling:
Media Mail aka "Book Rate": $3.99 for the first book. 50 cents each
additional book.

Priority Mail: most books $7.00 for
the first book. $4.00 for each additional book.

Priority Mail costs for heavy and oversized books will
be quoted before shipping.

Overseas Shipping &...

More Information
Shipping Terms:

Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2.2 LB, or 1 KG. If your book order is heavy or oversized, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express

Check Money Order Cash PayPal