American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the It Girl, and the Crime of the Century

American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the It Girl, and the Crime of the Century

3.5 21
by Paula Uruburu
     
 

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The scandalous story of America’s first supermodel, sex goddess, and modern celebrity—Evelyn Nesbit.

By the time of her sixteenth birthday in 1900, Evelyn Nesbit was known to millions as the most photographed woman of her era, an iconic figure who set the standard for female beauty, and whose innocent sexuality was used to sell everything from

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Overview

The scandalous story of America’s first supermodel, sex goddess, and modern celebrity—Evelyn Nesbit.

By the time of her sixteenth birthday in 1900, Evelyn Nesbit was known to millions as the most photographed woman of her era, an iconic figure who set the standard for female beauty, and whose innocent sexuality was used to sell everything from chocolates to perfume. Women wanted to be her. Men just wanted her. But when Evelyn’s life of fantasy became all too real and her insanely jealous millionaire husband, Harry K. Thaw, murdered her lover, New York City architect Stanford White, the most famous woman in the world became infamous as she found herself at the center of the “Crime of the Century” and a scandal that signaled the beginning of a national obsession with youth, beauty, celebrity, and sex.

Editorial Reviews

There was no controversy over who killed Stanford White in 1906. As numerous onlookers gawked, coal and railroad tycoon Harry K. Thaw strode up to the famed architect at a theatre performance and shot him three times. In this so-called Crime of the Century, the motive was as visible as the perpetrator. Thaw's spouse, artist's model Evelyn Nesbit, was at his side when the cuckolded husband killed the notorious womanizer who had deflowered his wife. Despite the indisputable evidence, the avenger was never convicted of the crime; after one jury deadlocked, the second declared him not guilty for reason of insanity. American Eve is the story of relationships, a crime, and two trials even more engrossing than the O. J. Simpson epic.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781615544400
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/2008
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, The Birth of the "It" Girl, and the Crimeof the Century. She is an associate professor of English at Hofstra University. An expert on Evelyn Nesbit and the time period in which sh elived, Uruburu has been widely published and has appeared on A&E's Biography and PBS's History Detectives and American Experience, as well as been a consultant for the History Channel.

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American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the It Girl, and the Crime of the Century 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Nikkire More than 1 year ago
What an interesting life. I do wish the author had provided more detail about her later life after the murder with her career in Hollywood and more info. on her son. All in all, quite intriguing. The photos of this girl are great. What a beauty she was.
AngieSC More than 1 year ago
I enjoy historical ficton more, this was Non Fiction for sure, but kept my interest throughout. Amazing how such a big story at the time is almost completely forgotten 100 years later.
Anonymous 7 months ago
A historical tale of which I had no knowledge, which in fact is not far removed from characters well known in present day noteriety. I was fascinated by the fact that the players in this book should include names such as Barrymore and noted individuals such as the architect who designed much of NYC including the original Madison Square Garden.
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Iluvaroadtrip More than 1 year ago
Purple prose, passages that can't possibly be authenticated. No real bibliography - just a list of books the author cannibalized in order to embellish her fantasy. Bore bore bore to anyone with an IQ in the triple digits.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Paula Uruburu¿s AMERICAN EVE: EVELYN NESBIT, STANFORD WHITE, THE BIRTH OF THE ¿IT¿ GIRL AND THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY is a first-rate, spirited and entertaining chronicle involving sex, celebrity, murder, media frenzy and a dead hippo. Uruburu¿s exhilarating tale begins in NYC during the final hours of 1899¿an ¿Eden¿ where Nesbit, the titular Eve and ¿Little Sphinx,¿ rises from poverty and obscurity to become the preeminent model and pin-up girl of the day. Part Ophelia, part Salome, the inscrutable Nesbit 'also an actress and Gibson girl' captures the fancy of famed architect Stanford White, the ¿Pharaoh of Fifth Avenue¿ whose contributions to the ¿priapic city¿ included the gilded bronze weathervane of a scandalously nude Diana ¿appropriately, the goddess of the hunt and chastity¿ that sat atop the second Madison Square Garden 'which White designed'. Notorious for plucking ripe ¿tomatoes¿ from the stage to add to his Garden, the married, lustful and predatory ¿Great White¿ 'who was three times Nesbit¿s age' fawns over Nesbit, wooing her with money, charm and a red velvet swing. Although Nesbit was only 16, White initiates the fall of this Eve during a night of lights, mirrors, a canopied bed and too much champagne. Awakening in ¿an abbreviated pink undergarment¿ and with a nude White next to her, Nesbit is told by the architect, ¿Don¿t cry kittens. It¿s all over. Now you belong to me.¿ Not quite. Enter Mad Harry¿Harry K. Thaw of Pittsburgh¿ with a carnivorous appetite and penchant for forbidden fruit as well. The heir-apparent to a $40 million coke and railroad fortune, Thaw was a puritanical vigilante with a history of mental illness and a hatred for White. Nesbit is initially wary of Thaw¿s dichotomous personality¿he could be charming and tyrannical, solicitous and sadistic ¿and her instincts 'which she ignores' unfortunately prove sound, as the 17-year-old Nesbit suffers another violation, and one night is raped and beaten with a leather riding crop by Thaw. Nesbit¿s relationship with Thaw and White¿both men are hedonistic, controlling and bitter rivals¿is compelling and, ultimately, sad, as Thaw¿s virgin complex and mounting obsession with White¿s despoilment of Nesbit leads to murder and Nesbit¿s downfall in White¿s Garden: On June 25, 1906, three shots ring out during a performance of Mamzelle Champagne. As White drops dead to the floor, Thaw shouts in defense, ¿I did it because he ruined my wife!¿ AMERICAN EVE then chronicles the ¿Crime of the Century¿ and the media storm¿an explosion of yellow journalism and the defamation and assassination of Nesbit¿s character¿ that followed the woman who ¿put one man in the grave and another in the bughouse.¿ Uruburu¿s depiction of the protracted court case is tiptop and accentuates her greatest strength as a biographer: the ability to inject verve, vitality and narrative flair into a historical account. AMERICAN EVE is peppered with colorful prose, humor and élan that spring off the page. Those wary of dreary, stuffy biographies weighted down by tedious storytelling and a profusion of facts and footnotes need not worry. Uruburu¿s confident, consistent and dynamic voice is the perfect complement to this lurid, page-turning piece of American history. Uruburu places these events in their historical context, delineating an America in transition, while also drawing comparisons to today¿s culture. But the story always returns, as it should, to Nesbit. This is her story, and Uruburu is in no way ambiguous about that. She does not paint this tragic beauty as a flawless saint, nor does she shy away from her subject¿s sometime inconsistent 'and inaccurate' testimony. What Uruburu does, and does well, is give voice to Nesbit¿s side of the story. It is only fitting that the epilogue is entitled ¿The Fallen Idol¿ and underscored by this 1934 quotat