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Steps in Time Paperback – July 25, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Cooper Square Press (July 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815410581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815410584
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,276,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[Astaire] likeable personality illuminates an anecdotal, very eventful account. (Booklist)

[Astaire] tells his tale simply and graciously, with many a bow to his partners and associates, in a style as breezy as an Astaire performance. (Library Journal)

The writing, like his dancing is precise and debonair, and his book recalls past gaieties—his own and his audiences'—without a trace of wistfulness. (The New Yorker)

This book is brimming over with fresh and amusing anecdotes about Britain's royal family, international society, as well as many of the great names of the theater and of Hollywood. And, for full measure, he's tossed in more than forty illustrations that make a pictorial history that alone is worth the price of admission. (The New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

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Fred Astaire was truly an American classic.
Judith C. Kinney
This book is a must for true fans of one of the greatest dancers who ever graced the big screen.
Crystal Wisdom
He did such wonderful movies, and was a great dancer.
Rosella Ann Myles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Crystal Wisdom on February 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Fred Astaire tells his story in the same way he dances, with integrity and grace. I have been a fan of Mr.Astaire's for many years. The first movie of his I saw was "Daddy Long Legs." I was fasinated with the way he danced. When I found out that he had a biography I snatched a copy up. What I like about this book is that Fred Astaire wrote it himself. I found myself laughing at times, and after reading the book I felt as if I knew him personally. The best thing about this book is that it has 47 black and white photos. This book is a must for true fans of one of the greatest dancers who ever graced the big screen.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a big fan of Fred Astaire and this was the first book I was able to read about him. The fact that it is also written by him is a big plus. Fred is a shy and humble man, and his book gives that impression but it is a great account of a man that met everyone, from English and Hollywood royalty to bookmakers and bell hops (in fact, he made a point of knowing bell hops, they knew all the right places to go and the juicy stories). Fred was a private man and he never delves into much detail about his personal feelings. He's quick to acknowledge someone he likes, but you get the feeling that he holds back on people he might not have liked. He never puts down a film partner so if you're looking for an autobio that tells it all, this isn't it. However, Fred's story is still chock full of interesting tales. It doesn't just appeal to Astaire fans, it also appeals to vaudeville, theater, and history fans as Fred was born in 1899 and lived through some amazing times. The Roaring '20s were spent in New York and London (visiting with royalty and the upper class), the '30s in Hollywood where he and Ginger Rogers made people forget the Depression for a while with their movies, and he dedicates a chapter to rehashing his overseas experience in the '40s when he toured on a USO show during WWII. So if you want an easy read of an important movie and dance icon, I highly recommend "Steps In Time". Don't worry about being bored, Fred has a nice sense of humor and there are no lulls in his story. He wrote this book in the late '50s and still had decades of work in front of him, but unfortunately, he never wrote a follow up book chronicling what was still an exciting and glamorous life. Read this book and watch the movies!
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
Fred Astaire (1899-1987) was, quite simply, a dance genius. He appeared on stage, often with his sister Adele, in such landmark musicals as LADY BE GOOD and FUNNY FACE; he graced at least 43 films, 31 one of which were musicals; he is, for all practical intents and purpose, American dance, and he worked with artists no less legendary than he. But for all this, his 1959 autobiography is most notable for being, well, utterly mundane.

STEPS IN TIME is essentially a catalogue of the various shows in which Astaire performed, ranging from Vaudeville (with sister Adele) to SILK STOCKINGS with Cyd Charisse. He always loves his leading lady; he always likes his director; even when the show was not as good as it could have been he finds something nice to say about it; and he never, ever offers the least bit of insight into his private life, his work, or the many with whom he worked over the years. Indeed, Astaire actually has more to say about his love of the racetrack than he does about any of his films or specific dance routines.

Fans of Astaire and the Hollywood musical will certainly want to read STEPS IN TIME, but even the most ardent fan will likely be disappointed by the superficial quality of the work. One can only hope that a future biographer will give Astaire the full portrait that he himself could not.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Abby Tracy (Beagle34@aol.com) on May 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
After finding this book in a New York bookstore, I eagerly began reading about my all-time favorite actor. Some of the personal stories about his life and work are interesting and it is fun to hear what he has to say about his success, but that is all. Astaire tells a quick story and then jumps to the next. He does not analyze much about his life, nor does he really get to the root of his personality. But it is hard to criticize such a brilliant man, so I will leave it as that. You will only enjoy this book if you love Fred Astaire as much as I do. Happy reading!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By frances kent on June 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book reveals as much about Fred Astaire in what it doesn't say as in what it tells. He was a shy man, of Austrian descent, very little formal education, and was eclipsed by his funny and attractive older sister in his days on the stage. These things shaped him into the perfectionist we saw on film. He had an incredible work ethic and was always looking for a new gimmick or dance style because he was not confident the audiences would keep on coming. He is not a natural story teller and sometimes leaves us wanting to hear more (e.g.can tell you he and a famous person had a lot of laughs together but not what they did or said that was funny). Still it is a good companion to the TV biography the BBC did about him a few years ago. All the best American composers of the day wanted to write for him (He and Gershwin were young unknowns together) and his evolution from vaudeville to Broadway to film happened during key times of all of those media. I do recommend the book if you want to know more about Fred Astaire, but not as a stand-alone source.
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