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Strait laced, pre civil rights America wasn t ready for Eartha Kitt Waiting for others to be ready was never her style in America s Mistress John L Williams captures the person behind the myth in this engaging biography but also race relations in Twentieth century America.From humble roots on a South Carolina cotton plantation, the multilingual, possibly multi racial chanteuse emerged seemingly from nowhere to seduce the nation and redefine cosmopolitan glamour Blending intellect, self awareness and unprecedented sex appeal, she was a Technicolor presence in a black and white world But the key to her allure was always her mystery, and her three not entirely consistent autobiographies raise questions than they answer about who she really was whether singing, dancing, acting or drawing headlines for her romantic dalliances and political activism Drawing on extensive original research and interviews with the people who knew her best, Williams whose previous biographical subjects include Shirley Bassey and English civil rights activist Michael X delivers a comprehensive, compassionate and thought provoking record of a life that defied stereotypes, shattered boundaries, yet seemed to fall short of its potential in the end.Beginning with Eartha s tumultuous childhood, Williams makes a bold claim about the identity of her true father a question that has never been answered From there Williams traces her escape to Harlem, where she came into contact with leading black entertainers and found quick success as a company dancer which, in turn, enabled her to travel the world and segue into film, television and music stardom.Williams details her time at the top of the entertainment business when Orson Welles famously called her the most exciting woman in the world with candor and striking revelations America s Mistress focuses on how, as Eartha s social consciousness developed, she found herself awkwardly torn between the realities of Jim Crow oppression and her lucrative role as white America s ultimate sex kitten.Whether or not her decline began with her 1968 infamous public confrontation with Lady Bird Johnson that left the First Lady in tears , the later decades of Eartha s life were marked by America s growing indifference to the woman who once captured its attention like no one before or since.But America s Mistress is ultimately a celebration of a remarkable American life that paved the way for black entertainers from Belafonte to Beyonc With objectivity and thoroughness, John L Williams provides sought after answers to tantalizing and elusive questions....

Title : America's Mistress: The Life and Times of Miss Eartha Kitt
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1623658233
Format Type : Hardcover
Language : English
Publisher : Quercus October 7, 2014
Number of Pages : 336 pages
File Size : 665 KB
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

America's Mistress: The Life and Times of Miss Eartha Kitt Reviews

  • Jake
    2019-03-01 14:56

    I always was fascinated by Eartha Kitt. I learned a lot in this honest biography.

  • Yvonne Rawlins
    2019-02-27 16:00

    I was able to undrestand and to get a glimpse into Miss Kitt's earlier life and also into the Civil Right's causes and issues which were dear to her heart.

  • James Hewson
    2019-03-13 16:18

    Interesting read! Very good!

  • Denise Pate
    2019-03-04 14:03

    The writer seems to have done his research, and answered many questions that I had about the early life of Eartha Kitt.

    2019-03-18 17:19

    Love it.

  • Julia
    2019-02-26 19:04


  • Nicola Mansfield
    2019-02-27 15:19

    This is a very interesting book about an very intriguing woman. Eartha is before my time but I grew up in a household full of music and was familiar with her singing at an early age and at a certain time watched Batman reruns in the '70s. The book is written in a very respectful tone, not hiding any controversy but also not talking any trash. I came away with the impression that Eartha Kitt was a forceful, independent woman who came from poverty and took life by the horns. She lived in a political era but was not a political person and had a heart full of love that she had a hard time finding anyone to share it with until the arrival of her beloved only daughter. It's interesting that this book is written by a Englishman. Eartha was an African-American from South Carolina but she had much more success in Europe, Britain especially, than she did at home. So it seems only appropriate for someone from the country that adored her most to present the first detailed biography of this enigmatic woman. Of course it is also intriguing for a non-American (me, Canadian) to read the American history she lived through from a detached author as well. Eartha lived through the poverty of the deep south in the '30s, segregation, American black/white racism, the Civil Rights movement, the black experience of a performer in the US who was a star on stage and a "Negro" offstage who had to leave by the backdoor. Eartha was an exciting woman who lived an exciting life, traveling the world, hobnobbing with the stars of the 40s/50s/60s both black and white at a time when African-Americans had to sit at the back of the bus. But Eartha was a woman who expected to be treated with the respect a person of her status was due and as such was both an African-American and a woman ahead of her times. She had detractors from both her own race and whites. Some whites could not let her forget she was "coloured", while some African-Americans, such as Sammy Davis Jr., thought she sold out her own race and acted white. A fascinating story, well-told, of a determined, talented woman living through an historic time of American history and yet all too sadly not remembered as the legend she should have been for various reasons as discussed in the book.

  • julie whiteley
    2019-03-11 16:15

    America's Mistress- The Life and Times of Eartha Kitt by John L. Williams is a 2012 Quercus publishing release. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.