Other blind spots and assumptions rankle as well. Eddie Lang, the brilliant guitarist who accompanied Etting on so many of her classic sides, rates only three brief mentions. How did Lang's death at age 30 affect her? We are never told. And at the end the authors maintain that Etting's legacy lives on while vocalists such as Helen Kane and Annette Hanshaw have been forgotten.
Hanshaw had a more natural style than Etting, and her recordings sound less dated. There's no need to make invidious comparisons here--both were excellent. But the machinations of Martin Snyder surely kept the equally talented Hanshaw on Columbia's subsidiary labels so his Ruth could have the spotlight on Columbia itself.
This book was written with a due reverence of Ruth Etting as a performer, and is worthy as an account of her life.
I recommend it with this reservation: Ruth Etting was a small town girl from a prosperous family, who left Nebraska in the late teens of last century and went to Chicago to make first a living and then a name for herself in the entertainment industry. She entered art school and began working and designing in a dress shop, but reasonably quickly she found work in one of Chicago's music gardens, and she rose, in due time, from the chorus to solo performance.
From Chicago she went to New York, to the magnificent Ziegfeld follies. She added radio and short-subject films to her repertoire, and she became a star. She had her own radio show, toured the country, and eventually went to Hollywood, where she appeared in feature films. In , at the age of 41, she retired for reasons that I will not explain here, except to say that reading that particular chapter is probably the first time a biography, any biography, has had me sitting on the edge of my seat.
The biography under consideration is Ruth Etting: It is the first complete biography of this star of the early 20th century, and it draws on Etting's own documents, including her scrapbooks, interviews with surviving family members, newspaper reports and reviews, and court transcripts. The book will appeal to music aficionados and general audiences alike. For the former, the authors detail in exquisite detail each of her live and recorded performances, sometimes including the costume she wore, more often discussing the style and cadence of her singing.
Additionally, there are a complete discography and filmography. For the general reader, the biography is enormously accessible. I read biographies of individuals I know and about whom I am curious; and generally, I find that, even with my interest, reading the biography can be a slog.
Ruth Etting: America's Forgotten Sweetheart - Kenneth Irwin, Charles O. Lloyd | Feedbooks
I knew very little about Ruth Etting when I opened the book, yet I found it difficult to put the book down. The introduction begins with Chicago's notorious St. Valentine's Day Massacre in February, and extends to the world-altering events of that year, finally to locate Ruth Etting, now in New York, in that context. What a contrast it is to the last years of her life, spent in quiet retirement in Colorado Springs.
The pages in between are exceptionally readable. Irwin and Lloyd imbue the details of her life and career with the contexts in which they were enacted, and their book is as much a sociological study of early musical theatre as it is the story of one of its stars. Thus we read about exactly what it takes to stage a production in one of Chicago's musical gardens or on the greatest stage in New York, how radio worked in the early days, and how short subjects were filmed on Long island and in New York before Hollywood became the center of the film industry.
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All of this comes to us in an exceptionally pleasant and easy style, almost, I dare say, akin to Etting's own music. To those of us interested in the early 20th century, particularly popular culture, will find this book a great addition our knowledge. She defined an era as much as it defined her. Thanks to this groundbreaking biography, she will be forgotten no more. See all 5 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published on May 12, Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.
Ruth Etting: America's Forgotten Sweetheart
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Share your stories and reviews with other customers! The Alibris Blog Can't get enough about books, music, and movies? Check out these wonderful and insightful posts from our editors Browse Now. Enter Your Email Address to Subscribe. Read More A comprehensive, full-length biography of Ruth Etting , this book details her rise to fame, her career as a Ziegfeld Girl and singer , her pioneering radio and film accomplishments, and her disastrous marriage to Moe 'The Gimp' Snyder.
Low to High Price: High to Low Condition Condition: Reverse Pub Date Pub Date: First Edition; First Printing Publisher: On decorated boards with no DJ as issued by Scarecrow. No markings of ANY kind. Ships from the UK. Great condition for a used book!
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