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America's Mistress: Eartha Kitt, Her Life and Times Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Length: 320 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'Well researched, elegantly written' Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday. 'This intriguing book reveals the trail she blazed in American life - and the price she paid' Sunday Times. First-rate' Roger Lewis, Daily Mail.

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'.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10771 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (29 Aug. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009P1WE4A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #69,783 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The quote in the headline is fom Kenneth Tynan writing in The Observer (see page 185). This is a delightful biography of Eartha who had an amazing life. There are also some great insights into the USA which changed so much in her lifetime. I throughly enjoyed reading the book and have chosen it as a Christmas present for a dear friend from N. Carolina.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book it's a brilliant insight into the world of Eartha Kitt. It tells of her early struggles with poverty and prejudice and how she ultimately became a successful entertainer in her own right. I would highly recommend this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John L. Williams is the first author to tackle Eartha Kitt head on in a biography - an astonishing fact when to get some measure of what she meant to the postwar era, we would have to imagine Beyoncé, Rhianna, Adele, Gaga rolled into one and then some. Kitt's achievement is all the more remarkable in that she was born dirt poor and illegitimate on a cottonfield in South Carolina. Only two generations away from slavery, in a nation in which many states denied her access to hotels and restaurants, she yet succeeded in capturing America's heart.

America fell in love with this fabulously talented woman (singer, dancer, accomplished actress and purring sex-kitten performer) and then ditched her as the 1960s rolled on. This pattern of romance and rejection was reflected in her personal life as one wealthy white man after another wooed her only to bail out at the prospect of interracial marriage. Kitt alienated conservative white America with a passionate denunciation of US involvement in Vietnam (famously reducing the First Lady to tears), yet was rejected by much of black America on the grounds that she seemed aloof from her own people. In fact, as Williams shows, she gave generously and bravely of herself in support of the civil rights movement.

Culture is the engine of change - something that Eartha Kitt understood long before white and black America woke up to what (in Williams's fine phrase) this "most feline of revolutionaries" represented. Tellingly, it took one world-beating woman to recognise another: while a poorly paid Kitt was reduced to performing to small cabaret audiences, Madonna covered "Santa Baby" (Eartha's most famous hit). America's Mistress is another great stride towards this rehabilitation. Read this landmark biography as soon as possible to find out why Orson Welles called Eartha Kitt "the most exciting woman in the world".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love it. The text is as good as the wonderful photograph on the cover. Attractive cover, attractive book. If you are a fan of Eartha Kitt, you should have it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gives a good insight to the life of Eartha Kitt and the show business world she lived in. Well referenced and showed good in depth knowledge. I did notice that Eartha's daughter was not in the list of people thanked for their help. Was just wondering why. The book is well written and tells a story of a extremely hard working woman making the best of what she had, in a world that was at times very much against her.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My Mother has been a fan for many years and absolutely loves this book. She couldn't wait to start readingit.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
always wanted to know a bit more about eartha but frankly, found it dull to read this, even though i ploughed through regardless. Wasn't expecting sensationalism, just a plumped out personality...but for me she is still flat and superficial
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing life she lead but I do not think she was ever really happy.However with a background like hers she did not stand much of a chance.I always found her a bit scary
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