The Silver Swan: In Search of Doris Duke by Sallie Bingham

Doris Duke, her “blue Siamese cat eyes sparkling,” executes a “remarkably fine” hula at Shangri La, the authentic, Islamic-inspired riad she has painstakingly created on a promontory at Diamond Head, Honolulu. She leaps off the steep bluff into the ocean near Rough Point, the historic Newport, Rhode Island, family “cottage,” in her two-piece Schiaparelli-pink bathing suit, battling the rugged surf. She rolls up her sleeves atop blue jeans and gets to work alongside the gardeners to hybridize orchids at Duke Farms, the 2,700-acre New Jersey property her father, Buck Duke, the tobacco farmer turned industrialist, had developed as a ranch-cum-parkland.

Born in 1912, the only child and principal heiress to Buck’s fortune at his death when she was just 12, a lifelong subject of relentless press scrutiny and target of sycophants and scoundrels, Doris struggled to have a meaningful existence outside her day job as “the richest girl in the world.”