American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee

American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee

With the critically acclaimed Sin in the Second City, bestselling author Karen Abbott “pioneered sizzle history” (USA Today). Now she returns with the gripping and expansive story of America’s coming-of-age—told through the extraordinary life of Gypsy Rose Lee and the world she survived and conquered.

America in the Roaring Twenties. Vaudeville was king. Talking pictures were only a distant flicker. Speakeasies beckoned beyond dimly lit doorways; money flowed fast and free. But then, almost overnight, the Great Depression leveled everything. When the dust settled, Americans were primed for a star who could distract them from grim reality and excite them in new, unexpected ways. Enter Gypsy Rose Lee, a strutting, bawdy, erudite stripper who possessed a preternatural gift for delivering exactly what America needed.

With her superb narrative skills and eye for compelling detail, Karen Abbott brings to vivid life an era of ambition, glamour, struggle, and survival. Using exclusive interviews and never-before-published material, she vividly delves into Gypsy’s world, including her intensely dramatic triangle relationship with her sister, actress June Havoc, and their formidable mother, Rose, a petite but ferocious woman who seduced men and women alike and literally killed to get her daughters on the stage.

American Rose chronicles their story, as well as the story of the four scrappy and savvy showbiz brothers from New York City who would pave the way for Gypsy Rose Lee’s brand of burlesque. Modeling their shows after the glitzy, daring reviews staged in the theaters of Paris, the Minsky brothers relied on grit, determination, and a few tricks that fell just outside the law—and they would shape, and ultimately transform, the landscape of American entertainment.

With a supporting cast of such Jazz- and Depression-era heavyweights as Lucky Luciano, Harry Houdini, FDR, and Fanny Brice, Karen Abbott weaves a rich narrative of a woman who defied all odds to become a legend—and whose sensational tale of tragedy and triumph embodies the American Dream.

Title:American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781400066919
Format Type:

    American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee Reviews

  • Chrissie

    I will tell you why I had trouble with this book.The primary reason is that the author flips back and forth between two different time threads. One thread begins immediately after WW1 and the other du...

  • Rachel Aranda

    This is such a confusing book to write a review on. Ms. Abbott did a good job writing each chapter. She is definitely a practiced author. As an author though she failed to do what she said she'd do in...

  • Louise

    I'm not certain who this book was written for. If you are like me and don't know the story, the mish mashed time line, the confusion of names (Rose, Louise, June, Gypsy) and the many incomplete story ...

  • Heidi

    Fascinating from start to finish... watching the musical Gypsy as a young girl with my very un-Rose-like mother is one of my favorite memories of my introduction to movie musicals. Later, as a teen, I...

  • Susanne

    I promise you, read this book and you will never look at the musical Gypsy the same way again. You knew the Ethel Merman character (Gypsy's mother) was an eccentric over-bearing stage mother, but yo...

  • Rick F.

    Quite simply- a brilliant, revealing and most important, human portrait of an American Icon. American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee by Karen Abbott is one of those rar...

  • Carrie Cole

    This book starts off strong, but it stumbles pretty quickly. My main issue with the book is the fact that it jumps years and characters with each chapter. Usually I don't mind this as a device, but I ...

  • Susan (aka Just My Op)

    Imagine having your very name, Ellen June, taken away from you and given to your younger sister because it was a prettier name. Gypsy Rose Lee, renamed Rose Louise after her sister was born, learned e...

  • Karyl

    I've been reading this book for 4 days, and I'm only 39% of the way through. I rarely give up on a book, but I'm going to have to do just that. There are too many issues with this book for me to conti...

  • Jill Hutchinson

    Gypsy Rose Lee was the most famous strip tease artist of all time.....not only because of her act but because she was a personality who also wrote books, was a frequent guest on television, and had he...