Synopses & Reviews
A true icon of America at a turning point in its history, Gypsy Rose Lee was the firstand#8212;and the onlyand#8212;stripper to become a household name, write novels, and win the adulation of intellectuals, bankers, socialites, and ordinary Americans. Her outrageous blend of funny-smart sex symbol with the aura of high cultureand#8212;she boasted that she liked to read Great Books and listen to classical music while taking off her clothes on-stageand#8212;inspired a musical, memoirs, a portrait by Max Ernst, and a species of rose. Gypsy
is the first book about Gypsy Rose Leeand#8217;s life, fame, and place in America not written by a family member, and it reveals her deep impact on the social and cultural transformations taking shape during her life.
Rachel Shteir, author of the prize-winning Striptease, gives us Gypsyand#8217;s story from her arrival in New York in 1931 to her sojourns in Hollywood, her friendships and rivalries with writers and artists, the Sondheim musical, family memoirs that retold her history in divergent ways, and a television biopic currently in the making. With verve, audacity, and native guile, Gypsy Rose Lee moved striptease from the margins of American life to Broadway, Hollywood, and Main Street. Gypsy tells how she did it, and why.
"That [Gypsy's] star rose during the economically catastrophic '30s was no accident: Her demure flirtationand#8212;as sly a construct as her breakaway gownsand#8212;was not only sexy but wickedly funny, a tonic for the worst of times."--Cathleen
Medwick, O, The Oprah Magazine
and#8220;It is simply impossibleand#8230;not fall in love with Gypsy's tenacity, wit and confounding, beguiling, oh-so-American mix of self-mythology and self-awareness.and#8221;and#8212;Lily Burana, Washington Pos
and#8220;The best introductory book on the magnificent Gypsy Rose Lee, a woman whose name has come to connote the importance of the sexual gimmick and the eroticism of the undelivered promise.and#8221;and#8212;Toni Bentley, author of Sisters and Salome
and The Surrender: An Erotic Memoir
"Shteir situates Gypsy Rose Lee's various career metamorphoses in terms of parallel American social and cultural transformations, from the Great Depression through the first decade of the Sexual Revolution--Katherine Liepe-Levinson, author of "Strip Show."
About the Author
Rachel Shteir is associate professor, The Theatre School, DePaul University, and author of Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show. She lives in Chicago.