Hot Best Seller

Louise Brooks: A Biography

Availability: Ready to download

Film The long-awaited republication of this captivating account of the star's life. Louise Brooks left Wichita, Kansas, for New York City at age fifteen and lived the kind of life of which legends are made. From her beginnings as a dancer to her years in Hollywood, Berlin, and beyond, she was hailed and reviled as a new type of woman: independent, intellectually daring, an Film The long-awaited republication of this captivating account of the star's life. Louise Brooks left Wichita, Kansas, for New York City at age fifteen and lived the kind of life of which legends are made. From her beginnings as a dancer to her years in Hollywood, Berlin, and beyond, she was hailed and reviled as a new type of woman: independent, intellectually daring, and sexually free. In this widely acclaimed, first and only comprehensive biography, Barry Paris traces Brooks's trajectory from her childhood through her fall into obscurity and subsequent "resurrection" as a brilliant writer and enduring film icon.


Compare

Film The long-awaited republication of this captivating account of the star's life. Louise Brooks left Wichita, Kansas, for New York City at age fifteen and lived the kind of life of which legends are made. From her beginnings as a dancer to her years in Hollywood, Berlin, and beyond, she was hailed and reviled as a new type of woman: independent, intellectually daring, an Film The long-awaited republication of this captivating account of the star's life. Louise Brooks left Wichita, Kansas, for New York City at age fifteen and lived the kind of life of which legends are made. From her beginnings as a dancer to her years in Hollywood, Berlin, and beyond, she was hailed and reviled as a new type of woman: independent, intellectually daring, and sexually free. In this widely acclaimed, first and only comprehensive biography, Barry Paris traces Brooks's trajectory from her childhood through her fall into obscurity and subsequent "resurrection" as a brilliant writer and enduring film icon.

30 review for Louise Brooks: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    I reread this book after The Chaperone. I'm a huge Louise Brooks fan, drink my morning coffee out of a mug with her face emblazoned on it, my car bears a Brooksie bumper sticker, and why do I like her so much? Brooks is insanely huge talent that was totally squandered--by her, by the men in the life, by her family, by Hollywood--what happened to her can't be 100% blamed on any one person, but everyone together doomed her to failure and oblivion. Pivotal key decisions like turning down a role to I reread this book after The Chaperone. I'm a huge Louise Brooks fan, drink my morning coffee out of a mug with her face emblazoned on it, my car bears a Brooksie bumper sticker, and why do I like her so much? Brooks is insanely huge talent that was totally squandered--by her, by the men in the life, by her family, by Hollywood--what happened to her can't be 100% blamed on any one person, but everyone together doomed her to failure and oblivion. Pivotal key decisions like turning down a role to go the country for a weekend had horrible results in her life. But luckily, only after she made some of the most perfect movies ever. But lots of stories end with promise not reached and ebbing off into squalor and addiction and prostitution, where Brooks is different than most, is gathering herself together in the twilight of her life and reigniting film history. One of my happiest times of my life was having full access of the Eastman library, which is where Brooks spent the remainder of her life, reading books and making notations in the margin. I grew to recognize her fine hand in the marginalia and somewhere in my desk I cataloged her notes in the books we both read. Much credit goes to Barry Paris--this is a fabulous and very detailed biography.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Avalon

    Make no mistake about it...Louise Brooks was no delicate flower. She was tough, incredibly intelligent, rude, bitchy, sharply funny, and sexy. She could stun with her mind as brilliantly as her body, and indeed took every chance to do both. Smart, beautiful, and completely original, Paris takes us deeply through Brooksie's life, from her start as a Kansas girl growing up much too fast to her final years wielding an ascerbic pen. He shows her as she really was; Paris does not sugarcoat nor devolv Make no mistake about it...Louise Brooks was no delicate flower. She was tough, incredibly intelligent, rude, bitchy, sharply funny, and sexy. She could stun with her mind as brilliantly as her body, and indeed took every chance to do both. Smart, beautiful, and completely original, Paris takes us deeply through Brooksie's life, from her start as a Kansas girl growing up much too fast to her final years wielding an ascerbic pen. He shows her as she really was; Paris does not sugarcoat nor devolve into sensationalism. Right up there with Stenn's Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild as the best biography I've ever read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    The very best thing I learned from this wonderful biography is that Louise Brooks used to call the library 30 or 40 times a day when she was elderly and trying desperately to keep her brilliant mind. Be nice to difficult old ladies, ya'll! The very best thing I learned from this wonderful biography is that Louise Brooks used to call the library 30 or 40 times a day when she was elderly and trying desperately to keep her brilliant mind. Be nice to difficult old ladies, ya'll!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rama

    Lulu, the dreamer This book is 609 pages long! But do not be afraid, because this is a real page-turner that makes reading this biography fascinating. Louise Brooks is one of the famous actresses of the silent movie era, renowned for her rebellion against the industry. Her performances in such influential films as Pandora's Box epitomized the ideal of feminine eroticism. Brooks' portrayal of a seductive, thoughtless young woman whose raw sexuality and uninhibited nature bring ruin to herself inc Lulu, the dreamer This book is 609 pages long! But do not be afraid, because this is a real page-turner that makes reading this biography fascinating. Louise Brooks is one of the famous actresses of the silent movie era, renowned for her rebellion against the industry. Her performances in such influential films as Pandora's Box epitomized the ideal of feminine eroticism. Brooks' portrayal of a seductive, thoughtless young woman whose raw sexuality and uninhibited nature bring ruin to herself including those who love her. Although this film was initially unappreciated, eventually it made her a star. Brooks real life reflects her role in Pandora’s Box. She was a prisoner of the world she created. She was an enigmatic character blended with sophistication, elegance, panache, intelligence, and her infidelity to numerous lovers and two husbands. She was defiant and had irresistible appetite for sex and alcohol. In her sexual affairs with powerful men and women in the entertainment industry, she crossed the boundaries of gender at a time only a few women dared to cross. She was married twice, and both her husbands were powerful men who would have given her stability and financial security to pursue her acting career, but she lacked the foresight and went ahead with her carefree lifestyle ruining her own life. At one time, Brooks was completely broke and lost all her friends. She had drifted into selling sex for cash. One of her former lovers was William S. Paley, the founder of CBS who persuaded her to leave Hollywood, which she did and moved back to her hometown of Wichita, Kansas. It did not last, the local community despised her, and she eventually moved to Rochester, New York. Paley sent her a monthly checks for the remainder of her life out of kindness. That was the only income she had, but this did not make her humble or appreciative of others. She was easily irritable, and acted mean to people who wanted to care for her. In the last 20 years of her life, she began writing articles about her film career, and her insightful essays drew considerable acclaim in the literary world. In her younger days she read books by philosophers like Arthur Schopenhauer, George Bernard Shaw, and Friedrich Nietzsche. She had academic interest in intellectual topics like Frances Farmer, another famous Hollywood actress. Both had many other similarities, both were alcoholics, destructive and abusive to others, and descended to low paying jobs in local departmental stores. In her younger years, Brooks had distinctive bob haircut that helped her start a trend, and many women styled their hair in imitation of her. in Bob Fosse's 1972 film Cabaret, actress Liza Minnelli reinvented the character with Louise Brooks makeup and helmet-like coiffure. This book is professionally researched and written with style and passion for the life and work of Louise Brooks. I recommend this to readers interested in the history of Hollywood and the life of Louise Brooks.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jack Blackfelt

    This biography is so meticulous in its research that by its end, I felt as if I knew the many people this woman had been: precocious adolescent; sassy carefree dancer and girl-about-town; selfish and indulgent hipster; accidental artist trapped in the body of a sex symbol; lifelong alcoholic and sex addict; brilliant mind and forceful personality; and ultimately isolated and scared, if vindicated and celebrated old woman. I felt compassion towards and identification with her at varying points, a This biography is so meticulous in its research that by its end, I felt as if I knew the many people this woman had been: precocious adolescent; sassy carefree dancer and girl-about-town; selfish and indulgent hipster; accidental artist trapped in the body of a sex symbol; lifelong alcoholic and sex addict; brilliant mind and forceful personality; and ultimately isolated and scared, if vindicated and celebrated old woman. I felt compassion towards and identification with her at varying points, and exasperation and disappointment for the results of her iron self-will at many others. She said it herself: "I seem to have a gift for enraging people. If I ever bore you, it will be with a knife." Barry Paris has written a lengthy and realistic portrait that waits until the very end to suggest hanging all of the aimlessness and sadness of her life on an incident of childhood molestation. The reality of her alcoholism is never singled out, though it is present throughout her story. There are naturally more details to the early career of Louise Brooks, and little to unearth during her darkest hours, but it's not particularly the fault of the biographer. It's almost as if the material to write about as she grew older naturally waned as perhaps it might for any who settle into self-pity and inactivity over time as the intensity of youth fades. Her virtual epitaph is perhaps the saddest quote I've ever read: "I have been taking stock of my 50 years since I left Wichita in 1922 at the age of 15 to become a dancer with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. How I have existed fills me with horror. For I have failed in everything -- spelling, arithmetic, riding, tennis, golf; dancing, singing, acting; wife, mistress, whore, friend. Even cooking. And I do not excuse myself with the usual escape of 'not trying.' I tried with all my heart." For a nice adjunct to this book, and to actually hear her talk about her films under German director Pabst in particular, YouTube "Lulu In Berlin."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Golden

    I picked up this book a year and a half ago and found myself totally sucked into it. I finished it, nearly gasping and wondering what I had just read, turned to the first page, and started reading it again. Finishing it the second time, I laid it down for about five minutes and picked it up yet again and read it a third time. I finished it and promised myself that I would wait three months before reading it again, which I did. Following the forth reading I made myself wait six months. After read I picked up this book a year and a half ago and found myself totally sucked into it. I finished it, nearly gasping and wondering what I had just read, turned to the first page, and started reading it again. Finishing it the second time, I laid it down for about five minutes and picked it up yet again and read it a third time. I finished it and promised myself that I would wait three months before reading it again, which I did. Following the forth reading I made myself wait six months. After reading number five I'm forcing myself to wait a year. This book is like no biography I've ever read and the subject like no other woman. An absolutely must-read for biography enthusiasts and film buffs. Don't miss it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jim Dooley

    I first encountered Louise Brooks when watching the Kino release of DIARY OF A LOST GIRL. Whenever she was on the screen, I couldn't take my eyes away from her. It wasn't just that she was beautiful, but she had the most natural style of acting. She created a real person on the screen, she didn't "play" one. Her biography is equally amazing. Her incredible rises and falls in the motion picture industry were usually of her own doing. Her inability to compromise who she wanted to be gave her an in I first encountered Louise Brooks when watching the Kino release of DIARY OF A LOST GIRL. Whenever she was on the screen, I couldn't take my eyes away from her. It wasn't just that she was beautiful, but she had the most natural style of acting. She created a real person on the screen, she didn't "play" one. Her biography is equally amazing. Her incredible rises and falls in the motion picture industry were usually of her own doing. Her inability to compromise who she wanted to be gave her an incredibly difficult reputation and severely limited her number of appearances. However, when she shone, there was no brighter glow. As we follow her life, we encounter stories of the cream of society and cinema. Louise pulled no punches, so we are not given the sanitized publicity department versions. For those who could tolerate her heat, she brought out the "real" in people. This biography is meticulously researched and written with a flowing style that is easy to digest. It will likely cause you to seek out the limited number of her performances that are still available to us...and some real treasures await!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karla

    While I don't and have never really gotten the film history community hype about Brooks, I thought this was a rather good biography. Brooks was probably one of the most visually striking performers of the time, though her talent always seemed marginal at best. She was good at what she did, but the phenomenon of "Brooksie" has always eluded me. Paris really dug up lots of information about her, and what I read was a pretty unlikeable person, a poseur and snob in her own industry. But that's where While I don't and have never really gotten the film history community hype about Brooks, I thought this was a rather good biography. Brooks was probably one of the most visually striking performers of the time, though her talent always seemed marginal at best. She was good at what she did, but the phenomenon of "Brooksie" has always eluded me. Paris really dug up lots of information about her, and what I read was a pretty unlikeable person, a poseur and snob in her own industry. But that's where the money and men were, so you can't blame a showgirl gal for wanting to get all she could. She willfully self-destructed her career, and I think that "bravery" is no small part of her fame and charm. Plus, I have this book to blame for never again being able to think of Chaplin without also thinking of iodine. If you've read it, you know what I mean.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Creolecat

    Have you ever read a book on a subject you're interested in, but found that even though the book is well written and you enjoy the book as you're reading it, you still find it boring? That's how I feel about this book. The book is written not only as a historical biography, but I can easily see it as a documentary because of the way Mr. Paris will interject a narrative from a person who was "there at the time." I am not knocking the book; as I mentioned, I enjoyed reading the book, that's why I' Have you ever read a book on a subject you're interested in, but found that even though the book is well written and you enjoy the book as you're reading it, you still find it boring? That's how I feel about this book. The book is written not only as a historical biography, but I can easily see it as a documentary because of the way Mr. Paris will interject a narrative from a person who was "there at the time." I am not knocking the book; as I mentioned, I enjoyed reading the book, that's why I'm giving it four stars. It just made me realize I should just continue watching Louise Brooks' films rather than read about her.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ria

    Absolutely wonderful, i read Paris' Garbo biography and i really enjoyed that but this was just as good if not better. What a woman, very bitter and cynical at the twists and turns her life took, at times touching, scandalous and very very sad. A remarkable person to read and learn about even if you have not heard of her or are familiar with her work on screen or in print. A good all round read. Absolutely wonderful, i read Paris' Garbo biography and i really enjoyed that but this was just as good if not better. What a woman, very bitter and cynical at the twists and turns her life took, at times touching, scandalous and very very sad. A remarkable person to read and learn about even if you have not heard of her or are familiar with her work on screen or in print. A good all round read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rick Burin

    One of the best four or five film biographies I’ve read (up there with Lee Server’s on Mitchum, John Kobler's on John Barrymore, David Stenn’s Clara Bow book, and Searching for John Ford by Joseph McBride). It has such a feel for its various worlds, strikes such a perfect balance between subject and context, and offers such a convincing – if contested – psychological reading of its heroine: a maddening, dazzling, difficult figure. Brooks was a dancer turned sex symbol, actor, call girl and final One of the best four or five film biographies I’ve read (up there with Lee Server’s on Mitchum, John Kobler's on John Barrymore, David Stenn’s Clara Bow book, and Searching for John Ford by Joseph McBride). It has such a feel for its various worlds, strikes such a perfect balance between subject and context, and offers such a convincing – if contested – psychological reading of its heroine: a maddening, dazzling, difficult figure. Brooks was a dancer turned sex symbol, actor, call girl and finally writer, who torpedoed her various careers and most of her relationships through neurotic capriciousness, alcoholism or wilful neglect. But at her best – as an actor whose naturalness sliced through artifice, as a writer whose pared-down prose eviscerated her old nemeses – she was simply like no-one else. Paris wrestles with this enigma for 600 pages, nailing her singularity as an artist, and providing a credible reading of the woman, broken by child sexual abuse and never quite put back together again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Magid

    Woah! Finishing this book felt like finishing the marathon... It's very, very dense and satisfyingly thorough, and I suppose that the good thing about it is that you finish the book feeling that Louise brooks remains as enigmatic as ever, even after having been regailed with so many details of her personal life. Barry Paris, while covering all Brook's films in detail, is perhaps a little too much in love with his subject, I think. I'm a huge LB fan, but I can see how some might feel that she's e Woah! Finishing this book felt like finishing the marathon... It's very, very dense and satisfyingly thorough, and I suppose that the good thing about it is that you finish the book feeling that Louise brooks remains as enigmatic as ever, even after having been regailed with so many details of her personal life. Barry Paris, while covering all Brook's films in detail, is perhaps a little too much in love with his subject, I think. I'm a huge LB fan, but I can see how some might feel that she's earned her iconic status by fluke. I felt that he painted quite a sheen over the life of someone who was, it seems to me, ultimately quite a rotten person; self-destructive, malicious and congenitally inconsiderate of herself and others. But an icon, nevertheless.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Annie Howe

    What happened to the Hollywood of Louise Brooks? Brooks lived her life with wonderful abandon, and she was the perfect example of a 1920s free spirit. This book describes her sensational private life as well as the beautiful professional Brooks we see in her silent films. There will never be another Louise Brooks, and we can only imagine the Hollywood she lived in.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    "It's simply that I make whoring as ugly as it is. . . Men are the publishers and anything that kills their sexual pleasure is not going to be allowed. . . I detest what they do to women. Women are forced into that kind of life and [the publishers] are not going to let me tell it." ~ Louise Brooks "It's simply that I make whoring as ugly as it is. . . Men are the publishers and anything that kills their sexual pleasure is not going to be allowed. . . I detest what they do to women. Women are forced into that kind of life and [the publishers] are not going to let me tell it." ~ Louise Brooks

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nora

    I realised, after reading a few biographies from personalities of the old Hollywood era (Anita Loos, Mary Pickford, Edith Head and Grace Kelly so far) that happy endings are not that common in their world. It always feels a bit lonely and miserable at the end... Probably not more than your average person, but the contrast with their glamourous life, often starting at a very young age, is drastic. All the more striking with Louise Brooks. For the collective unconsciousness, she's the face of the I realised, after reading a few biographies from personalities of the old Hollywood era (Anita Loos, Mary Pickford, Edith Head and Grace Kelly so far) that happy endings are not that common in their world. It always feels a bit lonely and miserable at the end... Probably not more than your average person, but the contrast with their glamourous life, often starting at a very young age, is drastic. All the more striking with Louise Brooks. For the collective unconsciousness, she's the face of the flapper age with her iconic bob (even though some confuse her with Colleen Moore, Clara Bow or even sometimes Theda Bara) but her cinema prowess is not that well known in the end. Louise Brooks was never one for career. The reason? She liked to "drink and fuck too much" (her own words). Her rebellious nature got the better of her. Her different careers (in ballet, in the Follies and in cinema) got short-lived because of her burning desire for freedom. She reached her lowest point in life in her thirties when broke and loveless, she had to go back to her hometown in Wichita, Kansas where she worked for a time as a sales-girl. But thanks to a revivalist cult in her name that started in France in the 1950s, she rose from the ashes and became a respected writer. She was never the cliché of the brainless, pretty-faced actress, she thought a lot (too much for her own good, probably) and produced brilliant analyses on her peers and the Hollywood machine. It is one of the best written biographies on the genre I've read so far thanks to the plume and knowledge of Barry Paris who cleverly diffuses film history through this portrait, and thanks also to the fact that there is a lot of material on Louise Brooks available (interviews, her essays and own biography). I particularly liked that passage where Barry Paris offers his analysis on to why the transition from silent movies to talkies wasn't that easy on the audience: The very nature of film-going was radically changed. For two generations, the experience was essentially a private one in which the viewer took an active mental and emotional role in apprehending the drama. With dialogue, the experience became collective, shattering the private “emotional communion” between the movie and its viewer. Sounds and words largely replaced the viewer’s active cerebral involvement; his viewing became passive. Gone was the private, inviolable trance. -- moira

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sue Blake

    On film Louise Brooks was a spellbinding creation. Particularly in Pandora’s Box, where, with the full support and indulgence of G W Pabst, she succeeded in inventing an entirely new way for an actor to relate to a movie camera. It was entirely unconscious on her part, since she had little interest in acting and no sense of having any discernible talent as an actor. In Hollywood she’d been viewed as one more portion of delectable female flesh, to be portioned out and manipulated as the studio pu On film Louise Brooks was a spellbinding creation. Particularly in Pandora’s Box, where, with the full support and indulgence of G W Pabst, she succeeded in inventing an entirely new way for an actor to relate to a movie camera. It was entirely unconscious on her part, since she had little interest in acting and no sense of having any discernible talent as an actor. In Hollywood she’d been viewed as one more portion of delectable female flesh, to be portioned out and manipulated as the studio puppet-masters saw fit. Typically, Louise Brooks wasn’t interested in any of that. Instead of signing the new contract that Hollywood was waving in front of her, she walked out. That wilful disdain of hers would later cost her any chance of maintaining a career as a movie star, as well as her ties to innumerable lovers, friends and family members. First, though, it led her to make Pandora’s Box. Quite what it was that Louise Brooks and Pabst captured on screen isn’t easy to pin down. It was certainly revolutionary and owed nothing to the stilted acting conventions of the day. But neither was it naturalistic acting, per se; the reason being that no one else on the planet was naturalistic in the same manner as Louise Brooks. Trained as a dancer from a young age, Louise Brooks appeared to treat every single movement, whether of her limbs, body, face or eyes, as one more link in the chain of an unending, sensual dance that she alone heard the music to and which she followed because she found it captivating, and for no other reason. It’s a mesmerising performance, tantalising. Even today, it still looks like the very definition of glamour, in its original and modern senses. Essentially, this book seeks to explain the person behind that performance and the iconic image that went with it. It’s a fascinating read, also fairly painful at times since, whilst Louise Brooks was that spellbinding cinematic creation I mentioned at the start, in real life she was more often than not a pain in the arse. As Louise Brooks herself would have been the first to admit, whilst at the same time relishing the admission.

  17. 5 out of 5

    James

    Louise Brooks may today be an iconic figure of the final years of the silent cinema, but for many years she was largely unknown. Her flame burnt brightly and briefly in Hollywood and in Germany, but a series of bad career decisions and her own boredom with the shallow glitz of the California film industry doomed her to be sidelined and virtually blacklisted from the movies. It was only in the latter years of her life that her image, with the famous bobbed hair and looks that could melt the scree Louise Brooks may today be an iconic figure of the final years of the silent cinema, but for many years she was largely unknown. Her flame burnt brightly and briefly in Hollywood and in Germany, but a series of bad career decisions and her own boredom with the shallow glitz of the California film industry doomed her to be sidelined and virtually blacklisted from the movies. It was only in the latter years of her life that her image, with the famous bobbed hair and looks that could melt the screen, again became popular, and - with her talent as a writer - she emerged as a star. The rest of the Brooks story - the gap in the narrative - has been largely an enigma; she disappeared from sight in the 1930s, only re-emerging as her critical essays began to be read by a wide audience. Barry Paris has painstakingly researched these dark years, the truth behind the legends of her years in the film industry, and her childhood in semi-rural Kansas, presenting a (mostly) no-holds-barred portrait of the woman. And what a woman! Paris presents "Brooksie" as she was - tough, ascerbic, intelligent, funny as hell, and sexually liberated - making little attempt to shy away from her bitchiness, but simultaneously avoiding the sensational. A thoroughly researched and quite massive tome, the book is at times a wild ride, but that is only because Louise's life was like that too. Brooksie was not one woman - an accomplished dancer, a sex symbol, an alcoholic, a sex fiend, an intellectual, a religious convert, a lonely self-described failure, and a stylish writer - and this book takes the reader through all those phases with honesty and compassion, never losing sight of the human being beneath. The book is well worth the effort (it's not a quick read) for anyone interested in film and in a true original of the medium's formative years

  18. 5 out of 5

    Helen Robare

    This is a GREAT biography about Louise Brooks, the only actress, in my opinion, that could have given Garbo any competition had she (Louise) stuck around and continued making films in Hollywood (or making films in general. Louise was a Witicha Kansas girl who went to NYC at the age of 15 to be a "star". She began her career with the Denishawn Dancers and soon earned a place in the front line of the dance troupe. Unfortunately, not only was Louse a "free spirit" but she did not get along well wit This is a GREAT biography about Louise Brooks, the only actress, in my opinion, that could have given Garbo any competition had she (Louise) stuck around and continued making films in Hollywood (or making films in general. Louise was a Witicha Kansas girl who went to NYC at the age of 15 to be a "star". She began her career with the Denishawn Dancers and soon earned a place in the front line of the dance troupe. Unfortunately, not only was Louse a "free spirit" but she did not get along well with other women. Consequently, she was fired but soon landed on her feet by being hired by the George White’s Scandals, and then by Ziegfeld Follies. From the Follies, she was given a screen test by Paramount and headed out to CA to star in movies. However, Hollywood moguls did not appreciate Louise's "free spirit" and desire to "do things her way". Though she was courted by THE studio (MGM) in Hollywood, Louise decided to stick with Paramount, for a little while that is. What happens after, you will have to read the books. Needless to say, it is a fascinating biography of a FASCINATING 1920's film star and a FASCINATING individual in and off the screen. The books has been well researched and the author had extensive conversations with Louise herself before she passed away on August 8, 1945 On a side note: I live about 40 miles away from Rochester NY where Louise is buried and has visited her grave.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rocco Thompson

    I rarely read biographies but when I do I tend to choose those of B-grade celebs such as Russ Meyer or Gypsy Rose Lee. This one definitely hit the spot even though it may be a bit insulting to call Brooksie anything less than Hollywood royalty. In recent years she's been crowned the queen of silent film but her life story is extremely interesting due to the shortness of her career and the length of her self-imposed exile. Her capricious nature tanked her career, and it was really only through so I rarely read biographies but when I do I tend to choose those of B-grade celebs such as Russ Meyer or Gypsy Rose Lee. This one definitely hit the spot even though it may be a bit insulting to call Brooksie anything less than Hollywood royalty. In recent years she's been crowned the queen of silent film but her life story is extremely interesting due to the shortness of her career and the length of her self-imposed exile. Her capricious nature tanked her career, and it was really only through something akin to divine intervention that she was rediscovered in the 1950s. Paris does a marvelous job of painting a clear portrait of Brooskie but he never idealizes her. His insights, combined with the monumental amount of writings that Louise produced herself provides for potent, heartfelt and fascinating reading. Though many may lament Brooks life as a tragic one, Paris makes the case that it was her brave (some would say foolish) refusal to play the Hollywood game that lead to the creation of her greatest film role in Pandora's Box, her remarkable if short career as a writer and her status as a cult figure. She lived the only way she knew how and subsequently had a monumental effect on cinema, even if it was retroactively. In short, this is the best biography I've ever picked up. Read it immediately!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hala Pickford

    I get that Barry knew Louise and may or may not have had an affair with her. And for the most part his stuff on Louise isn’t bad, but it isn’t stellar either. The ending bit is devoid of emotion, parts of her life seem to go unexplained or unaccounted, and overall the prose is trying too hard to be self removed (and I liked his Garbo biography so there is an obvious conflict of interest here). The biggest problem other than the above is the book is just simply outdated. Released in the 1980s a l I get that Barry knew Louise and may or may not have had an affair with her. And for the most part his stuff on Louise isn’t bad, but it isn’t stellar either. The ending bit is devoid of emotion, parts of her life seem to go unexplained or unaccounted, and overall the prose is trying too hard to be self removed (and I liked his Garbo biography so there is an obvious conflict of interest here). The biggest problem other than the above is the book is just simply outdated. Released in the 1980s a lot of the notes and additions are just inaccurate (not so much out of bad research as outdated research). I suspect those who rave over this bio have never read other silent film bios. Its still good, its still interesting, but oddly its not even the best Louise Brooks book out there.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I loooooove this book, even if you don't know who she is...you should read this. Louise was one of the original Ziegfeld Girls, the first girl to sport the "page boy" haircut, and the first to demonstrate the dance "The Charleston" She was THE mover and shaker of the 1920's and a girlfriend of Charlie Chaplins! You will also learn plenty of dirt on Hollywood film legends and why she left Hollywood to pursue a film career in 1920's Berlin. Even after all of these years, she is the best example of I loooooove this book, even if you don't know who she is...you should read this. Louise was one of the original Ziegfeld Girls, the first girl to sport the "page boy" haircut, and the first to demonstrate the dance "The Charleston" She was THE mover and shaker of the 1920's and a girlfriend of Charlie Chaplins! You will also learn plenty of dirt on Hollywood film legends and why she left Hollywood to pursue a film career in 1920's Berlin. Even after all of these years, she is the best example of what a head-strong independent woman can accomplish.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marie Claire

    A beautiful, stylish book about a fascinating woman who captured the zeitgeist of the1920's and is still recognised through her iconic image. Always in the right place at the right time; as a dancer for Zeigfield's folies, in Paris, London and New York in the shows and theatres and in Germany at the advent of what would become the silent movies. All this before she was in her thirty's. Not surprisingly the glossy photographs are stunning and will keep you coming back to look at her long after yo A beautiful, stylish book about a fascinating woman who captured the zeitgeist of the1920's and is still recognised through her iconic image. Always in the right place at the right time; as a dancer for Zeigfield's folies, in Paris, London and New York in the shows and theatres and in Germany at the advent of what would become the silent movies. All this before she was in her thirty's. Not surprisingly the glossy photographs are stunning and will keep you coming back to look at her long after you've read her story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Read this when I was going through my "Biography/obsession with 1920's Hollywood" phase. It was interesting to me how the author started the book with a reference to Louise Brooks being molested in her small town in Kansas, and then he ended the book with that incident too. Like her whole life revolved on that one moment?..That is what has stuck with me. And, her hair is SO super cute. Read this when I was going through my "Biography/obsession with 1920's Hollywood" phase. It was interesting to me how the author started the book with a reference to Louise Brooks being molested in her small town in Kansas, and then he ended the book with that incident too. Like her whole life revolved on that one moment?..That is what has stuck with me. And, her hair is SO super cute.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    A readable biography of one of the silver screen's most lovely and mysterious stars. Wonderful production, scholarly yet goes down easy. Paris taught a film class at Pittsburgh Filmmakers back in the 80s and I got to enjoy his fussy lectures first hand. He interviewed Brooks in her winter years, so there's a lot of very personal and direct characterization here. A must for movie buffs. A readable biography of one of the silver screen's most lovely and mysterious stars. Wonderful production, scholarly yet goes down easy. Paris taught a film class at Pittsburgh Filmmakers back in the 80s and I got to enjoy his fussy lectures first hand. He interviewed Brooks in her winter years, so there's a lot of very personal and direct characterization here. A must for movie buffs.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Mundell

    Always hard to watch people self-destruct. Louise Brooks caught my attention by being born in Cherryvale, Kansas and her connection to Wichita. I knew nothing about her silent movie star status until I read this book. Thorough investigation of silent screen stars and early moviedom....shows how film shaped and was shaped by the first half of 20th century.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Varja Askeland

    I absolutely love this book! I never stop reading it! I'm very thankful to Barry Paris for writing this book about Louise Brooks! Everything you want to know about the silverscreen icon, Louise Brooks, is in this book! May I also add that she is my biggest idol! I hope she will remain immortal and never forgotten! I absolutely love this book! I never stop reading it! I'm very thankful to Barry Paris for writing this book about Louise Brooks! Everything you want to know about the silverscreen icon, Louise Brooks, is in this book! May I also add that she is my biggest idol! I hope she will remain immortal and never forgotten!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    A fine biography of a difficult figure. The section describing the production of PANDORA'S BOX is essential reading for admirers of that film, which should mean any and everyone. Paris doesn't whitewash in any way, demonstrating what I've always felt: Louise Brooks is the most dangerous drug of all. A fine biography of a difficult figure. The section describing the production of PANDORA'S BOX is essential reading for admirers of that film, which should mean any and everyone. Paris doesn't whitewash in any way, demonstrating what I've always felt: Louise Brooks is the most dangerous drug of all.

  28. 4 out of 5

    William

    Every detail you may want to know about Louise Brooks at every point in her long life (thus more for her fans than for the general reader). Most fascinating perhaps is the time spent on her last years as a semi-recluse. Amply illustrated and documented.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Jones

    I enjoyed this biography, I think, because I can really relate to Louise Brooks' personality: a little aimless, but drawn to the finer things in life, and a natural outsider and observer. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone unless they're a Louise Brooks or silent cinema fan. I enjoyed this biography, I think, because I can really relate to Louise Brooks' personality: a little aimless, but drawn to the finer things in life, and a natural outsider and observer. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone unless they're a Louise Brooks or silent cinema fan.

  30. 5 out of 5

    M.E. Logan

    How beautiful, how fascinating, how complex. "If I ever bore you, it'll be with a knife." How hedonistic. How so capable to snatch failure from the jaws of success so many times. A fascinating read. How beautiful, how fascinating, how complex. "If I ever bore you, it'll be with a knife." How hedonistic. How so capable to snatch failure from the jaws of success so many times. A fascinating read.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...