Richard René Silvin is a Palm Beach Historian, an expert of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and on the SS Normandie.
I view my role of author and lecturer to be that of a raconteur of intriguing and authentic stories based on major historic events. My goal and passion is to inform and entertain a sophisticated audience interested in famous people, style and elegance on unusual subjects.
My earlier works were memoirs which covered a broad array of topics. These range from a exposure of Swiss boarding schools during the 1950’s and 1960’s to a history of the American domination of the international hospital industry during the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980’s. Finally I expose an intimate, personal description of the then-widowed Duchess of Windsor’s final, lonely years in the 1970’s when she was secluded in her Paris home.
My later works are about stylish and chic people and objects. These include the magnificent mansions designed by the flamboyant, society architect Addison Mizner during the 1920’s with details about the glorious homes’ eminent owners.
In my new book, I explore the history of the 1930s French Line flagship, the SS Normandie. This coffee table book with 265 pictures allows readers to feel as if they were aboard the short-lived, stunning, Deco-styled, “floating palace”, surrounded by many of her famous passengers.
The book ends with the true story of Normandie’s tragic “death” in WW2. Dramatic even today is the horrific image of America’s only large troop carrier lying on her side in New York City only two months after Pearl Harbor, and the futile efforts to salvage her.