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Judy Garland: A Biography Paperback – April 16, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Anne Edwards comes the closest yet to evoking that incredibly complex woman I remember as Judy Garland. It is the most in-depth and truthful book we have had so far. (Rod McKuen)

People are complex creatures, and often so very difficult to understand. Judy Garland is a biography of the famed Hollywood starlet, as Anne Edwards seeks to show a more complete picture of a woman who struggled to serve her family, sought other artistic endeavors such as poetry, in spite of her own demons which Edwards holds get all too much attention when discussing Garland. Judy Garland is an enticing addition to biography collections focusing on the Golden Age of Hollywood. (Wisconsin Bookwatch)

About the Author

Anne Edwards is the author of several bestselling biographies of notable figures, including film stars Vivien Leigh and Katharine Hepburn, as well as Queen Mary and Gone with the Wind novelist Margaret Mitchell. A fastidious researcher and accomplished writer, Edwards received a Pulitzer prize nomination for her book Early Reagan: The Rise of an American Hero. Her memoir, Leaving Home (2012) is available from Scarecrow Press. She lives in Beverly Hills, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589797876
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589797871
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #924,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Like several other biographers (most recently Gerald Clarke), Anne Edwards makes the mistake of taking Garland herself as the ultimate authority on her own life--and since Garland never let the truth get in the way of a good story and frequently recast the facts in order to justify her excesses, this is a very serious mistake indeed.

Even so, the book is written in a very readable, slightly romanticized style, and while you have to take it with a whole shaker of salt it does a very good job of presenting Garland as she herself wished to be perceived--and in that sense Garland fans will find it quite interesting. But for a serious biography of Garland, I recommend Christopher Finch's RAINBOW and Gerald Frank's JUDY.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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Format: Hardcover
Judy, Judy, Judy, the entertainer extraordinaire,greatly loved: movie star and stage performer. In this book, Anne Edwards suggests, think Judy, think "Eternal Victim." But that was the view held in the 70's, shortly after Garland's death: it may not be the most useful to us.

This biography is an oldie but a goodie. Edwards, who was English, was a London neighbor of Judy's: she treats Judy with respect, affection, and sympathy. She's decent; discreet about some sad episodes of Judy's life about which we don't really need to know; she takes Judy's word on things. Almost all the books written about Judy up until Edwards' focused on Judy's use of booze and drugs, her scandals. Edwards was the first to try to convey the complexity of the woman, the heart and soul of this great talent. If you want a better, later, more complete chronicle of Judy's career, you might want to read John Fricke's "Judy Garland, Art and Anecdote." But Edwards' book stands on its own; it captures the warmth, the essence of this remarkable performer. Edwards has written several show business biographies, of Katherine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh, among others. She may not rake all the dirt that's to be found, but she's consistently compassionate, interviews many people, and writes smoothly and well.

So, Judy Garland,born Frances Gumm, sang "Jingle Bells" on the vaudeville stage at two 1/2 years old, and was greeted rapturously. She was supporting her family by the time she was four. She wasn't born a beautiful child, but she was born with a great big beautiful voice. She was born to Ethel, who would be a strong candidate for worst stage mother ever.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Judy Garland (1922-1969) could barely remember a time when she was not performing. Fully forty of her forty-seven years were spent in front of an audience of sorts, be it in vaudeville with her sisters, in the movies, on television, on the concert stage or in recordings. The quintessential 'trouper' -- the show must go on! -- she often struggled with debilitating fear, illness, and/or drug dependence, yet mostly managing to pull off performance after performance. And her audiences passionately loved her from her adolescent Dorothy on her way to Oz to her last concerts and recordings for which she won a posthumous Grammy award.

I learned much from this reprint of Anne Edwards' 30 year old biography. Louis B. Mayer seems a complete ogre. The extent that child actors, Garland and Mickey Rooney foremost along them, were exploited was shocking. The cavalier extent to which Mayer, Garland's mother and her third husband, Sidney Luft, apparently controlled, neglected and embezzled from her is unconscionable. I had understood previously that early attempts to have Judy lose weight had started a cycle of drug dependency. What we learn here is just the extent to which this abuse went. Assuredly, neglect of her health combined with her consumption of the extreme amounts of medication led to her early demise.

How has this book held up over the past 30 years? Edwards is at her best in conveying the electricity of Garland's live performances and the palpable and remarkable connection she was able to make with her audiences. One can truly imagine why she was so beloved and so mourned. This book spurred me to find online videos of her live performances. Despite their poor quality, the magic comes shining through.

In places the book shows its age.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this in the 1970s during junior high school and couldn't put it down. Anne Edwards recaptured a unique time and place during Hollywood's golden age when MGM was the premiere studio and young Judy Garland was one of its greatest stars. She was also the first author to lift the veil on the often horrific methods the system imposed on its talented performers. Edwards detailed the brutal schedules that Judy and her equally talented co-star Mickey Rooney had to endure in order to complete even one day of rehearsal. This is not a huge biography but it is one of the most illuminating ever written about any celebrity. I highly recommend it for all Judy Garland fans.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have this original hardback book from 1974. Being that it is 39 years old it is in kind of a fragile state to be reading. This is great that it has been re-released all these years later in paper back for use "old" readers and "new". My BIG complaint about this version is the photos. In the original I have the photos are dark and crisp and still in great shape. The same photos in this paperback version are light and fuzzy. It's like they were scanned by my cheap computer printer scanner and not professionally done. So if you are looking for good pictures to go along with the story and I know I love my celebrity photos in books, you will be greatly disappointed.
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