From the Inside Flap
Eartha Kitt was a skinny, mixed-race woman with an odd, angular face who was able to persuade fifties white America that she was the sexiest thing it had ever seen. Extraordinarily versatile in her talents, as a singer, actress, and dancer, she transcended all the stereotypes meted out to women of her background. She could count Marilyn Monroe, T.S. Eliot, Prince Philip and Albert Einstein amongst her friends and admirers, and almost forget she had once been a poor black girl from the Deep South. But the exotic persona she'd created for herself became a prison from which she found it impossible to escape. As her country was transformed by both the Civil Rights movement and a cultural revolution, Eartha was left adrift in a bewildering new world. Shunned by many of her former friends, stung by her country's insidious racism, subject to an eccentric CIA investigation and with a perilously fragile sense of her own identity, Eartha Kitt would pay the price that came from trying to be America's mistress. John L. Williams' moving and unsettling biography is at once a profound exploration of the destructive effects of fame and prejudice, and also an unforgettable portrait of an enchanting, unpredictable figure who was once, in the words of Orson Welles, 'the most exciting woman in the world'.