In light of the fact that Ms. Hepburn has now been revealed as a lesbian whose affair with the gay Spencer Tracy was a big beard for the public, I find all these reviews objecting to any love relationship with John Ford because Spencer was her great love fascinating.
Barbara Leaming is a brilliant biographer. She somehow missed what William Mann et al. picked up on once Ms. Hepburn died - that is, that she, like everyone else in Hollywood's golden age was gay. If Hepburn was a lesbian, then Tracy was definitely gay. Gee, I wonder how Barbara missed that. Tsk tsk all that research, all that work and somehow that just never came up. She must not have talked to the right anonymous and inside sources. She probably depended on things like interviews with people who knew Hepburn, her private papers, studio documents, etc. She didn't know that in order to get info on Spencer Tracy, for instance, you have to go to secret gay flop houses.
As for John Ford - in a recent documentary about John Ford, we hear a tape recording between Ford and Katharine Hepburn made while he was very ill in which he tells her he loves her. Dan Ford was taping an encounter with them, went to get something in his car, and left the recorder running. The documentary states that Ford worshipped her (of course, you have to realize that Ford has now been outed as well). Since I head the tape recording, why should I believe any of you that there was no relationship? Was it love on Hepburn's part? I don't know. There was something, though.
Why people find all this endlessly fascinating, I have no idea, especially when one book contradicts the other. I'm supposed to believe that she and Spencer were gay, that Spencer was the only love of her life, that she was a big fat phony. Frankly, it's hard to believe anything.
I do, however, believe that Barbara Leaming is a wonderful writer and biographer. Her bios of Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles were excellent. I have no respect for James Robert Parrish, who is third rate, or people like William Mann who push forward their own agenda - as long, of course, that the person is dead. Wouldn't want a lawsuit now, would we.