Dangerous Woman: The Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken, 1835-1868, America's Original Superstar

Rowman & Littlefield
2
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The definitive biography of a trailblazing actress
who entertained—and shocked—the nation and the world


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.

 

Praise for a previous book by Barbara and Michael Foster, Forbidden Journey: The Life of Alexandra David-Neel 

 

“Hers was a great human life, very well written up in Forbidden Journey. . . . Surely this biography will provoke even more interest.” —New York Times Book Review

 

 

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About the author

Michael Foster is the author of the novel Freedom’s Thunder.

 

Barbara Foster is an associate professor at the City University of New York who specializes in women’s studies. The Fosters are the coauthors of Forbidden Journey and Three in Love.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Rowman & Littlefield
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Published on
Feb 1, 2011
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780762767793
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Women
History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Gabrielle Union
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work

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“A book of essays as raw and honest as anyone has ever produced.” — Lena Dunham, Lenny Letter

In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.

One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: "It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real."

In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.

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