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Evita: The Real Life of Eva Peron Paperback – October 17, 1996

45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Biography of the mythic Argentinian whose life is also the subject of a forthcoming movie starring Madonna.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“[The authors] have separated out the truth from the sinner/saint legend of Eva Peron--and, most impressively, produced a work of great political sophistication. . . . Factual, nuanced, and absorbing.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A fascinating, frightening, straightforward look at the way a private mythology integrated a public personality.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“The Fraser/Navarro biography is the first convincingly researched and historically accurate account. . . . Engrossing narrative style.” (Library Journal)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Trade Paperback Edition edition (October 17, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393315754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393315752
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 105 people found the following review helpful By E. Valero on February 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Updated Review (August 2014)

This biography was originally released decades ago when the stage version of "Evita" was a worldwide hit. Although I was far too young at the time to remember the hype of the stage show or to have read any literature of the woman who inspired it, this biography was probably the best one available on the subject (alongside Julie Taylor's "Eva Perón: The Myths of a Woman" which dealt mostly with her many myths) and offered a sharp contrast to the mystical but unpleasant woman many were seeing belting Webber's tunes on stage. Unlike other works of its time period, this biography written by Nicholas Fraser and Maryssa Navarro was a rarity mainly because of its fair treatment of Eva and because it was exhaustively researched. Jumping ahead several decades later, nothing has really changed. This work remains the best biography written (in English) about the brilliant but controversial Maria Eva Duarte de Perón and that is saying a lot considering the tremendous amount of literature that has surfaced since the release of Webbers musical so many years ago. Some are good. Others - not so good. Too many are just downright deplorable but admittedly, all are entertaining. Somehow Fraser and Navarro managed to write a political biography that is engrossing and hardly boring. It is very informative but to the point. Despite not being the lengthiest biography ever written, it gives us great insight into her life and charitable works. The chapters dealing with Eva's foundation and her interaction with the poor ("The Gift of Giving", "The Bridge of Love") is an eye opener and it may help those who do not fully grasp the whole Evita phenomena to better understand why so many people adored her in life and continue to respect her memory after her death.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Parodi TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
EVITA: THE REAL LIFE OF EVA PERON is the definitive biography of the woman most famously known as the subject of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. What this book has that all other biographies lack is: research. The authors visited Argentina in the process of their writing, and interviewed dozens of people who knew and worked with Evita.
The other key ingredient to the success of this book is the neutrality of the authors. They don't have anything invested in what the reader thinks of Eva Peron. They do not want to sway the reader in any particular direction. The authors are neither "pro" nor "anti"-Evita. In the preface to the book they make the promise to try to present Eva as a human being, but concede that this is not as simple a task as it sounds. Evita, they claim, is buried beneath more myth and fantasy than any other historical figure of modern times.
Originally published in 1980 as EVA PERON, this re-issue, made to coincide with the release of the movie starring Madonna, contains a new introduction and epilogue in which Nicholas Fraser comments on the odd re-emergence of Evita as a late 20th Century phenomenon. Astonishingly, the re-emergence was predicted by Evita, who said, "I will return and I will be millions," shortly before she died. Though her story is at last a part of history in her homeland, "In the rest of the world," writes the author, "she has attained the condition of apotheosis." Fraser theorizes that the return may have to do with the fact that we live in a celebrity obsessed era where actors are paid more attention than politicians, making Evita - an actress-turned-politician who was accused by her opponents of turning national political life into show business - the perfect minor deity.
I would recommend EVITA: THE REAL LIFE OF EVA PERON to anyone interested in a somewhat scholarly rendering of Evita's life, as opposed to sensational pop biography (such as EVA PERON by Alicia Dujovne Ortiz).
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
After seeing a documentary on Evita, I thought I knew everything about her. This book added more interesting parts of her life (as well as what happened after she died). I'd read it again. I can't see how anyone could not enjoy it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Yiren on March 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
The book is written with a rather academic tone of detached interest. There are few personal opinions, and the position regarding Evita is neutral. This could be either an advantage or a drawback, for Evita was both worshipped and hated by millions. In the words of one Life reporter at her death, "They were genuine and deep and demonstrated that Evita, who had contributed so strongly to the totalitarianism and bankruptcy of her country, had also won its love." There's been a lot of controversy regarding her actions during the Peron presidency. She campaigned for her husband; she chaired numerous organizations to help the poor, and appeared on one end to be the giver of goodwill. On the other end of the spectrum, she got rid of all political enemies, spent lavishly.

In account of what she achieved in her life, it's really surprising to think that Eva had no education past the 8th grade; she arrived in Buenos Aires at the age of 15 with nothing but the clothes on her back, endured years of misfortune as an actress, to be permanently entombed as the savior, the termagant, the heroine, and villain, but always, Evita, the legend. In fact, at her death, the phrase, "permanently entombed" became rather literal. She was embalmed by Dr. Pedro Ara, Professor of anatomy, who specialized in what, at the time, he called, "the art of death". Years later, as Peron was ousted from power, her body, a monument of the age of Peronism, a symbol from which her supporters could rally, was hidden away by political rivals. The entire process increased the enigma that had always shrouded Eva, and will continue to do so into eternity.
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