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This book simply consists of interviews with a lot of people who were close to Billie Holiday. The interviews are edited with sympathy and enough to make them coherent, which is all that is needed. The author adds little or no comment, and none is needed, draw your own conclusions. But as well as giving a vivid picture of a great singer it also gives a picture of the world she lived in, and interesting vignettes of other characters like Lester Young, Ben Webster and many others.
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on 11 August 2009
I rejected this book after the first chapter. It starts with the author(and naked prostitutes)at a party - when she was 13. I didn't believe it and thought the rest of the book would also be lies and sensational. Then I read "The three of us" which is about Julie Blackburn's family. This is a seriously messed up family!!! and a good read.

When I picked up "With Billie" again I trusted and believed the author because I understood her background. In "With Billie" the characters speak for themselves. Everything is referenced and the author only indicates where there are inconsistencies in the stories but she doesn't tell you what to believe.

There is a transcript from a court appearance in which you are able to "hear" Billie Holiday speak her own words. It's brilliant and I cant recommend it more highly.
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on 5 October 2014
Julia Blackburn has choosen the right path to describe and make sense of the life of Billie Holiday.
In the end I had the idea that I know Billie so much better then if I had read a traditional biography. By giving a voice to so many people who played a role in her life, I became one of her compagnons.
At the same time the book is a wonderful evocation of the black experience in the first half of the twentieth century in the USA.
The last chapter moved me deeply, excactly because of the calm style in which the book is written.
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on 20 March 2015
If you're a Billie Holliday fan, the book is essential. It doesn't always make for easy reading, but it is well worth sticking with.
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on 7 September 2016
A beautifully written book, I enjoyed every moment. Have passed this on to a very dear friend whom I am sure will enjoy it.
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on 26 February 2013
Good book but lots of conflicting stories that are par for the course with BIllie Holliday books. Worth a read.
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on 15 September 2015
Intersting tales of Billie by other people but somewhat disjointed.
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on 9 November 2015
Wonderful book, very well written.
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