JOSEPHINE BAKER

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Jonathan Cape, London, 1988, 1st.  ISBN 0-224-02441-8.  Large hard cover, 304 pages including Notes, Bibliography, Discography, Acknowledgments, and Index.  Compilation by Bryan Hammond; biography by Patrick O’Connor and Foreword by Elisabeth Welch.  Very good; black cloth with gold lettering on spine, light edge wear; binding sound with headbands.  Dust jacket with price intact has light edge wear, some rubs and light scratches, bit of corner fold wear, very short tear at upper rear panel.  Profusely illustrated in colour and black & white.  “Josephine Baker was the first Black superstar, a thrilling presence, an innovative show-business pioneer.  She was also a passionate humanitarian, a fighter, a survivor.  This book celebrates every facet of her extraordinary life, from her poor childhood in St Louis to her two spectacular last performances in London and Paris when she wore four-inch platform heels and turquoise ostrich plumes.  Snapshots, posed studies and on-stage action-shots recall her life from the earliest days as a comic chorus-girl to her international fame.  Portraits and caricatures by Paul Colin and Kiffer mark her heyday in Paris; the admiring words of Colette and Hemingway, together with reminiscences of her children, accompany postcards, song-sheets, posters and film stills reproduced for the first time in book form.  Her brave work for the French Resistance and her twelve adopted children, the ‘Rainbow Tribe’, both have their place in Bryan Hammond’s personal collection of memorabilia gathered over twenty-five years, while Patrick O’Connor’s biography places Baker’s unique artistic talent in a political and historical context.  Her story includes the events that led to her being awarded the Legion d’Honneur, bankruptcy, her return to triumph in Paris, and a 21-gun-salute funeral.” (from front flap)

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