A well-researched, highly readable biography of the first bona fide movie star. Eyman, a former film critic, provides thoughtful analysis throughout, based on the thesis, essentially, that now we're ``used to strong, dominant women who mold their own show business careers . . . Yet the fact is that Mary Pickford was doing all this more than seventy years ago.'' The story of Pickford's rise from poverty to stardom is also the story of how the film industry rose from disreputable ``flickers'' to a billion-dollar industry, and Eyman provides a panoramic overview of early Hollywood. There is much detail on how Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith founded United Artists. Excellent use of quotes, and plenty of interesting details--especially on Pickford's years-long feud with Chaplin and her marriage to and breakup from Fairbanks. Essential.-- Kevin Sweeney, Morton Grove, Ill.