American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee (Paperback)

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— Penguin Random House

Gypsy Rose Lee shed a lot more than her clothes in her rise from playing second banana to her younger sister, June, on the vaudeville circuit to status as an international celebrity. American Rose is something more than just another rags to riches show biz story. It relates the personal triumph of a timid and painfully self-conscious young woman over one of the the most formidable obstacles imaginable -- her mother. In the Broadway musical, Gypsy, Ethel Merman finally gave Rose Hovick a celebrity of her own, realized long after her death and bearing as much similarity to the real Rose as the bubonic plague does to a head cold. Karen Abbott's biography chronicles the greater part of the last century as seen through the eyes of one of its most colorful and tenacious participants. — Alden Graves

January 2011 Indie Next List


“Reading American Rose, you can almost hear the clink of champagne glasses and the excited buzz of a full house at the Minsky brothers' famous burlesque club -- the place where the shy Rose Louise Hovick evolved into enigmatic burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. Abbott uncovers tales of her famously manipulative mother and a childhood lost to vaudeville before she becomes the 'most private public figure' in America. This is a compelling, vivid homage to the Roaring Twenties.”
— Beth Champion, The Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop, Fort Atkinson, WI

Description


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

America was flying high in the Roaring Twenties. Then, almost overnight, the Great Depression brought it crashing down. When the dust settled, people were primed for a star who could distract them from reality. Enter Gypsy Rose Lee, a strutting, bawdy, erudite stripper who possessed a gift for delivering exactly what America needed. With her superb narrative skills and eye for detail, Karen Abbott brings to life an era of ambition, glamour, struggle, and survival. Using exclusive interviews and never-before-published material, she vividly delves into Gypsy’s world, including her intense triangle relationship with her sister, actress June Havoc, and their formidable mother, Rose, a petite but ferocious woman who literally killed to get her daughters on the stage. Weaving in the compelling saga of the Minskys—four scrappy brothers from New York City who would pave the way for Gypsy Rose Lee’s brand of burlesque and transform the entertainment landscape—Karen Abbott creates a rich account of a legend whose sensational tale of tragedy and triumph embodies the American Dream.

About the Author


Karen Abbott is the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City. A native of Philadelphia, she now lives in New York City with her husband and two African Grey parrots who do a mean Ethel Merman.

Praise For…


“Richly atmospheric . . . an immersive, almost novelistic portrait.”—USA Today
 
American Rose is a fitting tribute to an amazing woman, telling her story beautifully while revealing as much about post-Depression America as it does about celebrity life. It’s cultural history at its best.”—Rebecca Skloot, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“Abbott creates a brainy striptease similar to the one her subject may have performed.”—Newsday
 
“With staggeringly in-depth research . . . Abbott composes a story wrought with personal drama and insight into a dark era in American history. . . . The story is as beguiling as it is timeless.”—Elle
 
“At its core, American Rose is a haunting portrait of a woman . . . offering her audiences a sassy, confident self while making sure they would never know the damaged soul who created her.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Sad, smart, brassy . . . the true story of the Queen of Burlesque is even weirder and wilder than the legend.”—Salon



Product Details
ISBN: 9780812978513
ISBN-10: 081297851X
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 13th, 2012
Pages: 448
Language: English
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