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on February 10, 2007
Written by Allison Samuels, Newsweek magazine's longtime entertainment reporter, OFF THE RECORD is a compilation of personality profiles of African-American celebrities, including musicians, athletes, actors and other icons. Recommended to anyone interested in pop culture, this book reads like a magazine. Most chapters are relatively short articles that focus on two or three similar personalities, though some chapters are much longer and are dedicated to the exploration of one major cultural icon.

A fearless writer, unafraid to take a jab or two at the mighty and the dangerously sensitive, Samuels uses her 13 years of experience covering the entertainment industry to reveal the surprisingly contradictory personality traits of her subjects. Here you will read about

∑ How the late rapper Tupac Shakur was transformed from an ambitious, sweet, well-read, former ballet dancer to frightening thug, once he was recruited by record executive, Marion "Suge" Knight;

∑ How NBA all-star Kobe Bryant immaturely alienated himself from his Lakers teammates and in the process destroyed his own reputation and his relationship with Shaquille O'Neal by foolishly believing he did not need the guidance and advice of NBA veterans;

∑ How actress Halle Berry offended Whoopi Goldberg when she tearfully accepted her Oscar win for best actress without acknowledging the African-American women who had won before her, including Hattie McDaniel and Goldberg; and

∑ How Mike Tyson is extraordinarily generous, perhaps because as the author notes it is his way of coping "in a world that had not given him very much in the way of kindness or sympathy."

Plus there are other fascinating profiles of Angela Bassett, Denzel Washington, Dr. Dre, Snopp Dogg, Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Ray Lewis, Allen Iverson, Tyra Banks, Lil' Kim, Suge Knight, Coretta Scott King and Malcolm Shabazz.

- Regina McMenamin
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on April 7, 2007
Allison is an excellent writer! I like the way she shared information on the top stars. The information was mostly positive and she kept the audience interest. We all don't have to read negative information about stars to enjoy a great book. In fact, I was more fascinated about the author's early career. Allison wrote about the sentimental side of each star.
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some interesting tidbits here&there,nothing earth shattering but a good read to have on your book table or something to share some of the qoutes with folks here&there. it's entertaining&is a good read.this Book represents some of the biggest Names of Black Entertainment in various aspects.
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on March 20, 2007
Enjoyed this book a great deal. It was very well written, and I learned some interesting things about interesting people. Allison you did a great job! E. Gossett
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on January 23, 2007
Allison Samuels will take the reader on a journey into the world of celebrity. This journey goes beyond the bright lights and publicists. The book gives you access to the back stories of some of the most visible movie stars/athletes the world has ever seen. Her personal experiences will not only touch you but may also cause fits of laughter. She pulls back the curtain to reveal celebrities as human beings that most of us can all relate to and not to be taken lightly.

A definite must read for future journalists, The Sex In The City Crowd, or just enquiring minds who tire of fluff pieces on celebrites.
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on April 19, 2007
The ediors were right when they said the book was superficial but that doesn't me it's not enjoyable. I couldn't put it down.
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on May 30, 2013
What an honest story about the things we truly can never honestly know. I appreciate the honesty that comes from her as a person and author.
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