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Hairpins and Dead Ends: The Perilous Journeys of 25 Actresses Through Early Hollywood Paperback – October 8, 2017
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Why these actresses were grouped together is questionable - they likely did not fit into Ankerich's other books, but did star in films in the teens and twenties and thirties. Best to combine with his other books as a sort of fourth volume, and then you have remarkable scholarship and research of dozens of forgotten or underappreciated or tragic actresses who our great grandparents might have recognized.
Ankerich has a passion for the Hollywood tragedienne. And his newest tome on the lives and careers, the rise and fall, of these tragic beauties entitled HAIRPINS AND DEAD ENDS continues his fascination. Subtitled “The Perilous Journeys of 25 Actresses Through Early Hollywood,” his stories are somewhat familiar, usually tragic, and oftentimes intriguing. Many of the actresses’ names which the author chronicles are familiar…Barbara La Marr, Alma Rubens, and Lottie Pickford (the semi-talented sibling to Mary). Other actresses he essays here, however, even I am hard pressed to recall…Evelyn Nelson, Marjorie Ray, and Lila Chester, for instance.
Nonetheless, HAIRPINS AND DEAD ENDS is a fascinating read, and one relishes reading something new. Author Michael G. Ankerich always writes in a clear and definite tone, his facts and history interwoven conveniently throughout each chapter. These intriguing essays are in no way meant to be definitive biographies of these tragic film sirens. And these chapters do not include complete film chronologies of their subjects. But the author generously has given us rare pictures and contemporary commentaries.
As an easy, breezy read, HAIRPINS AND DEAD ENDS by Michael G. Ankerich is yet another terrific gem of a book by one of my favorite authors.