Book Review: A Dangerous Women by: Michael and Barbara Foster

A Dangerous Woman: The Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken, 1835-1868, America's Original SuperstarPublisher: Lyons Press
Publish Date: 1 February 2011
Origins: Publicist for Review
Format: Hardcover

Marilyn Monroe might never have become the legend she did without America’s original tragic starlet: actress and poet Adah Isaacs Menken (1835–68). In a century remembered for Victorian restraint, Menken’s modern flair for action, scandal, and unpopular causes—especially that of the Jewish people—revolutionized show business. On stage, she was the first actress to bare all. Off stage, she originated the front-page scandal and became the world’s most highly paid actress—celebrated on Broadway, as well as in San Francisco, London, and Paris. At thirty-three, she mysteriously died.

A Dangerous Woman is the first book to tell Menken’s fascinating story. Born in New Orleans to a “kept woman of color” and to a father whose identity is debated, Menken eventually moved to the Midwest, where she became an outspoken protégé of the rabbi who founded Reform Judaism. In New York City, she became Walt Whitman’s disciple. During the Civil War she was arrested as a Confederate agent—and became America’s first pin-up superstar. Menken married and left five husbands. Ultimately, she paid dearly for success.

A major biography of a remarkable woman, A Dangerous Woman is must reading for those interested in women’s history, the roots of modern-day American Judaism, and African-American history.

I really really really wanted to love this book. I love reading about strong women in history, even infamous women. I love to learn about different eras and people but not like this. This book read like an encyclopedia entry and I am sorry to say it but I couldn't finish it, got about half way and had to stop, well...after looking at the pictures of course. This is a wonderful subject, the book is written like it was amazingly researched, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

I was looking around for other reviews to link but I can't find any from my usual link check out the goodreads page and then link if you have reviewed this in the comments.

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1 comment:

  1. Good review, too bad you couldn't finish the book. I've never heard of Adah Isaacs Menken but I have read books that read like encyclopedias and they aren't much fun. I like biographies mainly because we get to "know" the person through stories which usually are not included in encyclopedias.


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