Mona Charen

Priscilla was a brilliant editor but also a terrific prose stylist herself. Her memoir of her time as a UPI correspondent in Paris, from 1953 to 1956, "String of Pearls," is a delight, combining history, amusing stories of journalistic improvisation, and memorable sketches of the French.

Her travel writing appeared often in the pages of NR and some can be sampled in the pages of "Living It Up." Here, for example, is a description of a Greek island:

"Samos, 4,700 feet high, comes into view in the early afternoon, a grey haze, a rosy outline, a looming presence. We are close enough to pick out the spunky stone walls that march up over the hill and out of sight and crisscross the flanks of every island we pass, separating, to our untutored eyes, nothing from nothing, so rocky and barren is the terrain."

Already an experienced journalist when Bill hired her to steer NR, Priscilla was also (like Bill) a former spy for the CIA, as well as an expert golfer, hunter, and master of several languages.

We tried to meet once a year for lunch. Though age gnarled her fingers and lined her face, she remained mentally sharp until the end. I owe her so much: for her lessons in good writing when I joined NR as a 22-year-old college graduate, for her encouragement of my career, for her advice, and for her friendship. But above all, I feel grateful to have known someone so worthy of emulation. I won't hear her delighted laughter again. But, as Bill might have said, the angels are laughing now to have her in their company.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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