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Edie: An American Biography [Paperback]

Jean Stein , George Plimpton
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
Price: 10.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 April 2006

Born into a wealthy New England family, Edie Sedgwick became, in the 1960s, both an emblem of, and a memorial to, the doomed world spawned by Andy Warhol. Edie was outrageous, vulnerable and strikingly beautiful. Her childhood was dominated by a brutal but glamouros father. Fleeing to New York, she became an instant celebrity, kown to everyone in the literary, artistic and fashionable worlds of the day. She was Warhol's twin soul, his creature, the superstar of his films and, finally, the victim of a life which he created for her.

Edie is an American fable on an epic scale - the story of a short, crowded and vivid life which is also the story of the decade.


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Edie: An American Biography + Factory Girl [DVD]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845950631
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845950637
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Edie Sedgwick was the spirit of the Sixties, and these pages capture her power to dazzle us. I have read no social history to compare with it. While it is not a novel (although it reads like one) I still will say: This is the book of the Sixties that we have been waiting for" (Norman Mailer)

"Jean Stein and George Plimpton have made such a good job of it that the effect is of a novel illuminating a wide spectrum of Americana" (George Melly New Society)

"Like all American stories, Edie's is about being born in paradise and then being ejected from it... in spite of the wealth and fame and catastrophe which seem to make it singular, it is everyone's" (Peter Conrad Observer)

"Addictive" (London Review of Books)

"Extraordinary... a fascinating narrative that is both meticulously reported and expertly orchestrated" (The New York Times)

Book Description

A brilliant and unique biography of Andy Warhol's tragic muse, the 60s icon Edie Sedgwick.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Like the other reviewers here, I can also wholeheartedly recommend this biography. I became interested in Edie Sedgwick having seen the Factory Girl biopic and was so intrigued - more by the narrative than the film - that I picked up this 400+-page tome. Who was this girl-woman who became one of the central icons of 1960s counterculture, but whose actual output remained so small? What did she actually do? Was she a talented actress? Did she really have a relationship with Bob Dylan? What was the deal between her and Andy Warhol? Some of these questions are fascinatingly answered in this book, but not all veils of mystery are lifted here (as can only be expected of a figure with such cryptic appeal).

Jean Stein quotes - without interpretation or commentary - the recollections of not only her family, friends (e.g. Richie Berlin, Bobby Anderson) and her husband (whom she married less than 4 months before she died), but also quotes Edie herself from the Ciao! Manhattan tapes as well as key figures of that time (e.g. Nico, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg). They dispel the myth once and for all that Warhol's desire to make Sedgwick famous was self-effacing - he clearly profited from her presence and not only financially. "Edie brought Andy out," says René Ricard, "she turned him on to the real world...Edie legitimized him". Truman Capote claims that "Edie was something Andy would like to have been; he was transposing himself on her á la Pygmalion". Warhol is portrayed here - as in Factory Girl - as a disturbed and manipulative individual; upon being told of Edie's death the previous night, Andy simply asked Brigid Berlin whether that meant her husband "was going to get all her money now".
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychology of a tragic heroine 27 April 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It's funny how a person's childhood experiences can set a person up for success or failure as an adult. However, in the case of Edie Sedgwick, her failures as an adult were definitely unfunny. I loved that this book relied only on quotes from the people who had met/known her. Exceptional research into every stage of Edie's life to uncover people who experienced her in each incarnation and brilliant editing make this an extremely special biography. It is evident that the choices the adult Edie made which were ultimately destructive were foreshadowed by events in her childhood. I don't think it's necessary for you to be fascinated by the scenes Edie lived through to enjoy the book. If you approach this as a psychological study of an individual, it becomes mainstream reading, not just a pop-culture chronicle.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Edie: Life is in the details..? 25 Nov 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading "Edie: American Girl" and I loved it. I must admit, that the first couple of chapters I found very hard going as they were mostly(if not entirely) about Edie's ancestors such as her Great great great grand uncle, as if we are interested? I bought this book as I wanted to read about Edie Sedgwick, not her geneology in its entirity. But once the book gets to the birth of Edie and her siblings, the book takes off. Family problems galore, glamourous college days, underground art fame and tragedy, all are present in the life of Edie and the book has wonderfully indepth accounts of various aspects of Edie and her life from friends and family which really do help you grasp a little of what Edie was like.
Worth the read (once you skip the first chapter or so, unless you particularly like American aristocratic family histories from the 18th-20th century).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly fascinating character 17 Oct 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Even though Edie only appears after about 200 pages, the rest of the book more than makes up for it. Very rarely do archetypes actually exist, but Edie was, at her peak, pure decadence. Almost more like a character in a novel than a real person, reading this book should disabuse anyone of the notion that living like Edie did was something worthwhile- she is truly best worshipped from afar.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbound 24 July 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Fantastic book. Told from a quirky angle, but is able to get opinions pinned down. Shows a neat look into the life of Edie and has some great side plots and stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great 5 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A tragic icon, abused from birth then brought into the clutches of the evil Warhol who plagiarized every credible artist he ever came in contact with. Bless you Edie.
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