Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 3.5
( 78 )
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5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(22)

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(11)

2 Star

(7)

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(14)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Riveting and Sad

I enjoyed this biography for the most part, though it included a little more about the Minsky family history than I was looking for. Also, despite the author having talked quite a bit to June Havoc, I didn't always get a handle on how the two sisters felt toward one ano...
I enjoyed this biography for the most part, though it included a little more about the Minsky family history than I was looking for. Also, despite the author having talked quite a bit to June Havoc, I didn't always get a handle on how the two sisters felt toward one another. Still, the book gave much better insight into the thoroughly dysfuncational family of Rose, Gypsy and June. The Broadway show Gypsy, and its many performances across the country in smaller, local theaters creates such a whimsical picture of a tough, but still lovable mother, Rose, and the harsh realities of the person she really was shows through in this book. After reading about the (possible?) murder of Ginny Augustin, I couldn't help but wonder how this forgotten woman's family must feel about the often lighthearted legend that surrounds Gypsy Rose Lee.

posted by JustMyTwoCents on April 4, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should

What did Gypsy Rose Lee ever do to Karen Abbott? The author drives home the message that Miss Lee had no talent. That her heroine could captivate an audience for decades, write two best sellers, appear on Broadway, in films, television, nightclubs, entertain our troupes...
What did Gypsy Rose Lee ever do to Karen Abbott? The author drives home the message that Miss Lee had no talent. That her heroine could captivate an audience for decades, write two best sellers, appear on Broadway, in films, television, nightclubs, entertain our troupes in Viet Nam and single-handedly raised her son in a time when most middle-class women worked only in their homes, apparently is not proof enough of Gypsy's abilities. The most creative of writing exhibited in this book occurs when Ms. Abbott has Gypsy's mother, Rose, powder her face and clutch a wad of tissues in her fist in 1918. Rose must have been a magician since facial tissues originated in 1924. Didn't anyone check the "research"? The obscene quote included at the beginning of Chapter 23 is attributed to Otto Preminger. When one looks it up in the Notes and Sources section, one discovers that it is no more than hearsay told to the author by a former employee of Mr. Preminger (whom Abbot interviewed in 2008 about Mr. Preminger's relationship with Gypsy Rose Lee in 1944). This is the shabbiest of reporting. Much of the information in this work was derived from interviews with the 94 year-old June Havoc, Gypsy's sister. After more than 40 years, could June's memories be somewhat clouded or less than accurate? They certainly are at odds with the numerous letters Miss Lee received from her sister and mother written over decades that are now housed in The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Was the chapter scrambling of time periods done to obscure how much had come from Gypsy, Early Havoc , More Havoc and Gypsy & Me? Without these sources and the Minsky pages this would have been a slim volume indeed. Given the choice I would rather read the originals again.

posted by Chuck-Mosberger on December 28, 2010

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  • Posted March 25, 2011

    Very Disappointed-not recommended

    I couldn't wait for this book to come out as it was my choice for our little book club but was sadly disappointed in it. It does not go into any real depth about Gypsy and that was what I was hoping for. It also goes into too much details about side characters. At times I felt more detail about them rather than Gypsy. I was not alone in my feelings as the other 3 individuals said very similar things. I would not recommend this book.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    Disjointed

    I think there might have been a good story here, but the jumping back and forth between decades was distracting. I do not understand why an author employs that technique.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2013

    WASTE OF MONEY!!

    This is the first time that I have purchased a book that I wanted to ask B & Noble for a refund. This book deals more with the Minsky brothers than the great Gypsy Rose Lee. She deserved better. This author should be ashamed!!!!!! No stars because it sucks!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    Don't Buy

    This book doesn't follow any order-one chapter is 1955 and the next chapter is 1933. It is also more about the burlesque men and their theaters than Gypsy Rose Lee. Really a poorly written book.

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    Posted March 9, 2011

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    Posted January 10, 2011

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    Posted August 13, 2011

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    Posted April 30, 2011

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    Posted May 26, 2011

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