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Monday, July 20, 2009

Book Review: "Stormy Weather--The Life of Lena Horne"

John Simon writes:

Inside her, there were two Lena Hornes: the one who fiercely asserted herself, and the one who belittled and berated herself. Viewed from the outside, there were two more: the one who had an impressive career and was a seemingly model freedom fighter; but also the one who could have done so much more, yet, capitalizing on light skin color and great looks, truckled to white society.

There is good reason for James Gavin’s “Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne” to take up — when you count the notes, bibliography, discography, filmography and index — nearly 600 pages. This Lena (or these Lenas), born in 1917 and still hanging in, has had a life so rich in ups and downs as to make page after page eventful and suspenseful. This all the more so since the book is also two books in one: a thorough and fluent biography and a history of the slow social rise of black people despite crippling discrimination and stinging humiliations — a history in which Horne’s story is embedded, notwithstanding some personal jumps ahead.

link: Book Review - 'Stormy Weather - The Life of Lena Horne,' by James Gavin - Review -


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