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Book Reviews

Josephine Baker

Image and Icon

Reviewed by

Provocative Performer. In 1919, thirteen-year-old Freda Josephine McDonald ran away from home to become a Vaudeville player. When she left the country several years later, she would become one of the most famous entertainers of the early twentieth century.

Josephine Baker: Image and Icon, edited by Olivia Lahs-Gonzales (Reedy Press, 9 x 11, 90 color and b/w photographs and illustrations, 159 pages, hardcover, $35.00, 978-1-933370-02-6), was created to celebrate the 100th birthday of the legendary jazz performer. Biographical essays detail the actress’s life, including her childhood in St. Louis; her early career, when she began exploring issues of race, gender, and class; and her eventual move to Paris, where she became a star.

Photographs are accompanied by promotional posters and pieces of art, depicting the exotic Baker mid-performance—dancing, singing, and in her famous banana skirt.

A fascinating addition to any jazz or burlesque collection.

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author provided free copies of his/her book to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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