Susan Nagel solves 200 year old mystery of Marie Antoinette's daughter
Susan Nagel first solved the 200 year old mystery of the missing Elgin Marbles in her biography of Mary Nisbet, Mistress of the Elgin Marbles (seen here talking about it at New York Is Book Country 2004), which was described as 'required reading for anyone interested in cultural history, as well as the art of biography' (Booklist). Four years later, Nagel's second biography, Marie-Therese: Child of Terror (Bloomsbury USA; March, 2008) solves another 200 year old mystery--the fate of Marie Antoinette's daughter. We caught up with Nagel at a publication party in her honor at the home of the illustrious Tina Brown and Sir Harold Evans, where Nagel described the challenges of researching Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI's only surviving child and the surprising discoveries she made in the process. Noting that both Mary Nisbet and Marie-Therese were both born in 1778, Nagel linked her biographies of the two famous women to a broader historical world perspective and hinted that her next biography would be of an unsung American heroine of approximately the same historical period. Nagel then reflected on her frisson in realizing a connection between Benazir Bhutto and Marie-Therese, who both kept their father's shirts in their possession, giving them each a sense of purpose in their lives. Nagel wrapped the interview with a brief book report that offered another hint about who might be the subject of her next biography.
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