"A distinctly American diversion that flourished from the Jazz Age to the era of the Sexual Revolution," striptease emerges as closer kin to vaudeville than pornography in this engaging if sometimes overly detailed survey. Shteir, head of the department of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism at DePaul University, offers fascinating details about stripper subculture, past and present, and includes numerous photographs of and quotes from stripping's famous practitioners, such as Gypsy Rose Lee. Readers will learn about "horizontal cootching" and fan dances; the use of trained animals in acts at the 1939 World's Fair ("doves peel her," wrote a Variety columnist of stripper Rosita Royce); the conflicts between big-name strippers and their "cheap" burlesque counterparts; the 1962 federal crackdown on organized crime that dealt a grave blow to striptease. Shteir reaches, throughout, for a larger cultural meaning in the girlie show, and the paradox of stripping's possibilities—it offered women a shot at independence but required them to sell themselves as spectacle to do it—is familiar but still intriguing. The gender politics and cultural theory she employs as analytical tools may limit her audience to those already well versed in such ideas, but Shteir's discussions of the ways that striptease informed American culture and her careful descriptions of the women and their milieu are bright moments.
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"Packed with historical detail and contemporary feminist insights.... Happily, Shteir's book provides a record of the golden age of American striptease, and she gives a persuasive account of its democratic verve and feminist appeal. Striptease, Shteir argues, 'gave women a chance to realize the American dream' and a way to 'overcome their working-class origins and make it.' Both flaunting sexuality and making fun of it, the girlie show found an irreverent way to educate Americans about sex. Shteir's scholarly and very entertaining book is part of that great tradition."--Elaine Showalter, Washington Post Book World
"The first serious history of the form...could prove to be a landmark work.... Meticulous."-- Francine Du Plessix Gray, The New Yorker
"Fascinating and well-researched.... Rachel Shteir's accomplished book leaves one longing for the mystery of a white mink merkin from Harry Bosen's New York Costume Shop in Chicago, or the charm of Lili St. Cyr's roaming radium gadget.... Striptease is a genuine contribution to the history of American culture."--Toni Bentley, The New Republic
"Offers fascinating details about stripper subculture, past and present, and includes numerous photographs of and quotes from stripping's famous practitioners, such as Gypsy Rose Lee.... Shteir's discussions of the ways that striptease informed American culture and her careful descriptions of the women and their milieu are bright moments."--Publishers Weekly
I specifically bought this book because I knew it has some great and in-depth history. It even has all the words to Gypsy Rose Lee's performance of A Stripteaser's Education.Published 1 month ago by Pamela C
For any interested in the art of striptease, please don't waste your time with this book. It is trite and heady and there are many better books out there on the subject such as... Read morePublished on February 17, 2013 by Terrence Shulman
I needed this book for my thesis research and the seller got it to me in a very timely manner. Also, didn't realize it was a library binding but now I don't have to worry about it... Read morePublished on July 18, 2012 by Hank The Cowdog
Striptease is a great book that gives the history of this art form and the people who performed over the years. Read morePublished on July 29, 2010 by LakeKids
This book really started my serious fascination with Burlesque Striptease. It truly deserves status as an art form. Read morePublished on November 21, 2005 by C.G. Gambit
Shteir's thorough research is fleshed-out by her concise writing and moderate tone. This is a scholarly but entertaining review of how show-business from the early 19th century to... Read morePublished on October 18, 2005 by L. Cook
This was probably the worse book I have ever had the misfortune to examine. Did the author check anything she wrote in the book, or did she just blindly copy her "National... Read morePublished on June 4, 2005 by Donis LaSalle
Being in Burlesque was fascinating. There were always new adventures, new friends and the glamor. This book, as well as being filled with errors, trivializes this wonderful... Read morePublished on March 7, 2005 by Amie Amar