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The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber: Weimar Berlin's Priestess of Decadence [Paperback]

Mel Gordon
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 16.58 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Feral House,U.S.; First Edition edition (8 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932595120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932595123
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 18.7 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 411,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is a splendidly-illustrated biography of Weimar Berlin's sordid and influential dancer, playwright and actress. In an era where everything was permitted, Anita Berber's celebrations of "Depravity, Horror and Ecstasy" were condemned and censored. She often haunted Weimar Berlin's hotel lobbies, nightclubs and casinos, radiantly naked, except for an elegant sable wrap, a pet monkey hanging from her neck and a silver brooch packed with cocaine. Multi-talented Anita saw no boundaries between her personal life and her taboo-shattering performances.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The rise and fall of a dancer and a era. 8 Oct 2011
By Max S.
Anita Berber was Berlin's most notorious dancer but also its most talented. Her career to fame and notoriety started at age 16 at the tail end of the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm and the beginning of the Weimar years, it ended in 1928 with her death. A year before the world economically fell apart and the subsequent end of the Weimar republic started.

She became famous because of her dancing that was revolutionary and taboo breaking for those days and even today it would raise eyebrows. But the actress/poet/playwright/dancer became notorious amongst others because of her habit to appear naked in hotel-lobbies, restaurants and nightclubs -a silver brooch filled with cocaine being the only thing on her naked body- and not saying no to anything or anyone. The last ten years of her life she was drunk and high continuously which slowly was destroying the talented redhead both career wise and physically. Her life was the reflection of Weimar Berlin. Learning about her life and its highs and lows is learning about Weimar Berlin.

On the downside the book doesn't feel complete, it's not clear why that is. You can finish this book in two to three days it's double spaced and written in a clear easy to read style. It is not the only biography about Anita Berber but it is the only one still available. Even if the book doesn't feel complete it is worth the money I enjoyed and recommend it.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Worth buying only for the photographs! 14 Mar 2010
By hdd
Appallingly badly-written (easily one of the worst books I've ever had the misfortune to read), redeeming itself and its purchase price only with the generous number of photographs, many of which I'd never seen before. I found myself skimming the text itself, which is not written in a scholarly way, elides way too much, and offers very little in the way of either facts, insights, or analyses.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having a keen interest in the history of Weimar Germany's politics and culture, the name of Anita Berber figured prominently in my study of the performing arts of the time and I became fascinated by this enigmatic and innovative artist who outraged decent society and at the same time was admired and celebrated by many. I agree wholeheartedly with the commentator who pointed out that although artists like Lady Gaga and Madonna were and are considered innovative and outrageous performers, Anita Berber was out-doing them some 90 years previously!
A product of the social conditions prevailing at the time and the lust for art and entertainment that continually pushed the boundaries of decency and morality, she became the very embodiment of all of the excesses that Berlin had become a centre for. She was a notorious personality in Berlin appearing often at clubs such as the Eldorado and other establishments catering to the Trans-gender/transvestite culture amongst others.She was feted amongst individuals who favoured alternative lifestyles and toured Europe with her shocking performances. Her star burned for a short period of time.
A chronic drug user and alcoholic, her physical condition deteriorated and ultimately she became more famous for her outrageous public behaviour and substance abuse than her artistic performances. She was the subject of a striking portrait completed in 1925 by the celebrated German artist Otto Dix who perfectly captured the essence of Weimar Berlin excesses in the prematurely aging, emaciated and defiant figure of Anita Berber. She died aged 29. This book is immensely readable with many period photographs of both Berber and other cabaret and burlesque performers of the time. This book is a must for anyone interested in this period of German history and the development of performing arts of this genre.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Badly written. 6 July 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although the subject matter is facinating the book itself is badly written. If you can put up with his thesis like style of writing then go for it but I would personally look for an alternative author.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fallen star 14 Oct 2011
By roland
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
great book about a strange girl in a strange period in history. the way this book is written is very american, why use one word when twenty will do? dont let that put you off though as it is a great read.
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