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Arrested by the photos on its cover, I picked up Sharon Weintraub's NAUGHTIES, NUDIES, AND BATHING BEAUTIES and bought it on impulse. I opened it, and almost instantly came down with collector's fever. The author's enthusiasm is contagious, and her personal collection breathtaking. The narrative on the history and manufacture of the mostly German, mostly bisque figurines is expert and easy to follow (infectious, you might even say). But familiarity breeds covetousness when it comes to this book, so beware! Ironically, the "nudies" and "bathing beauties," originally novelties and souvenirs bought to shock and titillate, are probably most attractive today to women, especially those with feminist bents. This is because we see them now as depicting the wonderful time when women were tossing out their corsets and wearing comfortable clothing, when we got to feel the sand in our toes,to cavort like Isadora Duncan in the sunshine. The book begins with a fascinating, lavishly illustrated chapter about that period in our history. With the caveat that you will want to spend your kid's college tuition on what you previously might have thought of as knick-knacks...buy this book.
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