All We Know is one of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Best Books of 2012
A revelatory biography of three glamorous, complex modern women
Esther Murphy was a brilliant New York intellectual who dazzled friends and strangers with an unstoppable flow of conversation. But she never finished the books she was contracted to writea painful failure, and yet a kind of achievement. The quintessential fan, Mercedes de Acosta had intimate friendships with the legendary actresses and dancers of the twentieth century. Her ephemeral legacy is the thousands of objects she collected to preserve the memory of those performers and to document her own feelings. An icon of haute couture and an editor of British Vogue, Madge Garland held influential views on fashion that drew on her feminism, her ideas about modernity, and her love of women. Existing both vividly and invisibly at the center of culture, shelike Murphy and de Acostais now almost completely forgotten. In All We Know, Lisa Cohen describes these women's glamorous choices, complicated failures, and controversial personal lives with lyricism and empathy. At once a series of intimate portraits and a startling investigation into style, celebrity, sexuality, and the genre of biography itself, All We Know explores a hidden history of modernism and pays tribute to three compelling lives.