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on 20 December 2013
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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on 14 March 2010
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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on 14 October 2011
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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on 6 July 2008
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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on 20 July 2014
Disappointing. too much about her various dancers and no sense of teh real Anita
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on 27 April 2015
Highly recommended for those with this particular taste.
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on 5 April 2015
So boringly written. What should be a fascinating account, just goes on giving one fact after another, not creating any storyline. Such a waste of a potentially captivating story.
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