Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 book 232

Anne Helen Petersen's Scandals of Classic Hollywood
I'm a huge fan of Petersen's essays on The Hairpin, also called Scandals of Classic Hollywood, and the way she contextualizes celebrity and media, so was super excited for this book--which did not disappoint. Although a few of the celebrities she focuses on were also featured in her column, the content here is almost entirely new (disappointingly, the pictures are all at the end of the book, and not interspersed as in her online essays--very annoying if you're reading on a Kindle). I kind of miss her slightly-less-formal writing tone, but the writing here falls nicely between academic and popular history. And all the stories are great! I thought the section comparing Judy Garland and Dorothy Dandridge and the look at masculinity as embodied by Montgomery Clift/Marlon Brando/James Dean were particularly strong.  I will say that it doesn't entirely flow when reading it in one sitting (some sections seem to follow more logically than others), but each chapter is just a gem. A/A-.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book is available now!

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