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Edie: American Girl [Paperback]

Jean Stein , George Plimpton
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 14 1994
When 'Edie' was first published, it quickly became an international best-seller and then took its place among the classic books about the 1960s. Edie Sedgwick exploded into the public eye like a comet. She seemed to have it all: she was aristocratic and glamorous, vivacious and young, Andy Warhol's superstar. But within a few years she flared out as quickly as she had appeared, and before she turned twenty-nine she was dead from a drug overdose.

In a dazzling tapestry of voices—family, friends, lovers, rivals—the entire meteoric trajectory of Edie Sedgwick's life is brilliantly captured. And so is the Pop Art world of the ‘60s: the sex, drugs, fashion, music—the mad rush for pleasure and fame. All glitter and flash on the outside, it was hollow and desperate within—like Edie herself, and like her mentor, Andy Warhol. Alternately mesmerizing, tragic, and horrifying, this book shattered many myths aboutthe ‘60s experience in America.

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Review

"This is the book of the Sixties that we have been waiting for."--Norman Mailer

"Through a kaleidoscope of seemingly fragmented voices, patterns form, giving brilliant definition to the very American tragedy of Edie Sedgwick, a woman...not likely to be forgotten after this haunting portrait."--"Publishers Weekly"

"Extraordinary . . . a fascinating narrative that is both meticulously reported and expertly orchestrated."--"The New York Times"

"An exceptionally seductive biography. . . . You can't put it down. . . . It has novelistic excitement."--"Los Angeles Times Book Review"

"What makes this book so unusual, unique almost, is the picture it paints of the New York counterculture. No one has ever done it better."--"The Atlanta Journal & Constitution"

"There is no more classic summertime read." --New York Magazine


From the Inside Flap

When Edie was first published in 1982 it quickly became an international best-seller and then took its place among the classic books about the 1960s. Edie Sedgwick exploded into the public eye like a comet. She seemed to have it all: she was aristocratic and glamorous, vivacious and young, Andy Warhol's superstar. But within a few years she flared out as quickly as she had appeared, and before she turned twenty-nine she was dead from a drug overdose.

In a dazzling tapestry of voices--family, friends, lovers, rivals--the entire meteoric trajectory of Edie Sedgwick's life is brilliantly captured. And so is the Pop Art world of the '60s: the sex, drugs, fashion, music--the mad rush for pleasure and fame. All glitter and flash on the outside, it was hollow and desperate within--like Edie herself, and like her mentor, Andy Warhol. Alternately mesmerizing, tragic, and horrifying, this book shattered many myths about the '60s experience in America.

"This is the book of the Sixties that we have been waiting for."--Norman Mailer

"Through a kaleidoscope of seemingly fragmented voices, patterns form, giving brilliant definition to the very American tragedy of Edie Sedgwick, a woman...not likely to be forgotten after this haunting portrait."--Publishers Weekly

"Extraordinary...a fascinating narrative that is both meticulously reported and expertly orchestrated."--The New York Times

"An exceptionally seductive biography.... You can't put it down.... It has novelistic excitement."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"What makes this book so unusual, unique almost, is the picture it paints of the New York counterculture. No one has ever done it better."--The Atlanta Journal & Constitution

Jean Stein has worked as an editor for a number of magazines, including The Paris Review and Esquire, when it was under the direction of the near-legendary magazine editor Clay Felker. In the 1960s, she moved to Washington, D.C. where, through her husband, attorney William Vanden Heuvel, she became interested in the political career of Robert F. Kennedy. Following his assassination, she completed her first book, an oral history of his life entitled American Journey. In 1990, she became the editor of the literary journal Grand Street. She has two daughters: Wendy, an actress, and Katrina, the editor-in-chief of The Nation.


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First Sentence
As a child I heard that her condition was due to having been left alone in Stockbridge through many winters while the Judge was politicking in New York and Philadelphia and Washington. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Edie:An American Review Aug. 20 2003
Format:Paperback
Although this book is over twenty years old, it is still a good source of info about this "Girl of 1965", Edie Sedgwick. Not only does the book document the rise of Edie at Andy Warhol's Factory, it chronicles her wacky childhood of privledge and turbulent teen years. Her sisters and only surviving brother give detailed accounts of Edie and her struggle with eating disorders and frequent hospitalizations. The family also talks about the abuse they suffered at the hands of their father, Francis Sedgwick, and the effect it had on the entire family. "Edie" is a great read on a life of a woman whose life ended long ago in a time that seems unreal to most young people of today. "Edie" not only documents a time in pop history ,but a life which was lived tragically wrong and gave out all too soon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Faery Child Sept. 23 2002
Format:Paperback
The oral history form is perfect for "Edie" little-girl-lost, who streaked across the '60's horizon like a falling star. Despite her grace, fragile beauty and charisma; Edie Sedgewick was almost born to be doomed even before the drugs did her in.
She was born into a wealthy old family that had a history of instability. Her father, also breathtakingly beautiful, had crushing psychological problems. Two of her brothers committed suicide. Her mother was ineffectual with her large brood. She was raised on an isolated ranch with her seven siblings with almost no contact with the outside world. When she hit Cambridge at 18, she was pathetically ill equipped to be in the larger world.
I couldn't agree more that she found herself in the midst of horribly decadent people. Andy Warhol gets a particularly bad rap in this book, but to me, he was no better nor worse than his hangers-on, just a shade more self-absorbed. What really saddened me was that I don't think it really mattered who Edie took up with. She was destined to spin out of control. She had no focus, no inner strength, and was dangerously self-centered and delusionary.
"Edie" is compelling reading whether or not you have experienced the '60's. It is good to keep in mind that Edie herself and the contributors to the book all were a part of a very small stratum that whistled through this confusing decade. They were no more representative of the rank and file than Emmerin is representative of this decade.
Such a lovely child, such a terrible waste.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ciao Edie Baby June 17 2002
Format:Paperback
I read this book when it first came out and still have my tattered, dogeared copy. It is the breathless story of the poor little rich girl who became lost in the fabulous swirl of Warhol's 60's. On the outside, she was Edie, the Youth Quaker, on the inside she was a tragically lost girl who descended into the Stygian depths of fame, drugs, anorexia and tragedy. Each time I read this book, I kept wishing it could have been different somehow, that it could have a happy ending. A must read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Andy's 'Living' Metaphor July 12 2001
Format:Paperback
Edie appears out of these pages at least as 'temporary' as Andy Warhol's art. In retrospect, I can see she subscribed to his theories and couldn't reconcile them to her blueblood heritage - I read it 20 years ago, but it only just made sense. Many have been down that track but few as committed as she was. Her relevance today may be greater than his, for she is a metaphor for the things of today that no longer work for many people viz urban decay, spiritual poverty and a loss of meaning/vision. Warhol's anti-hollywood and Hollywood became the same thing, and we are all a bit stronger for her legacy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Jan. 10 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Even though you read bad things about how Jean Stein put this book together in Warhol's DIARIES, that doesn't cancel out that it is a rivetting book. Edie was sort of vacuous, but nonetheless interesting in her recklessnes. Although she is surprisingly articulate in her oral passages. More than you would expect after reading about her. This frankly, I don't think, is an inherently interesting story, so Plimpton and Stein are to be commended for the way they put this oral history together. Hollywood has been talking ever since this book was published of making it into a movie, but it hasn't happened yet. I'd like to see it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Glamorous, Fabulous, and Pathetic Dec 22 1999
Format:Paperback
Edie Sedgwick was one of the hottest media events of the mid 1960's, a burning star enjoying the newest kind of fame - celebrity, i.e., being well-known for doing nothing except existing. Like so many of her generation, Miss Sedgwick crashed and burned (literally) at the end of the 1960's, dying of a barbituate overdose at the ripe old age of 28, after a series of well-publicized drug freakouts, accidents, and "rest cures" in mental hospitals. As other reviewers have noted, the conceit of telling Sedgwick's story through interviews with those who knew her is brilliant, producing a riveting narrative exposing to public view the inner workings of the many worlds in which Sedgwick moved - high-society, art, California biker, and East Village drug addict. Ultimately, Sedgwick impresses the reader as a force of nature, incredibly charismatic and compelling to those around her. Sadly, her glamour was not enough to save her from herself. What emerges from this book is a disturbing portrait of a world obsessed with money, fame, fashion and "fabulousness." As far as I could tell, this "glamourous" lifestyle seemed to consist chiefly of dressing foolishly, ingesting enormous quantities of drugs, copulating with anyone who showed an interest (of either sex), and living in a dreamworld of eternal youth and unending fame. Despite the vivid recollections of the interviewees, Sedgwick's life and "career" have left very few traces. Her death certificate described her as an "actress," but what Sedgwick "performances" can you think of today? She broke all the rules, but ultimately accomplished little. Not only was Sedgwick self-destructive and superficial, so was everyone else around her. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like reading about a dream and a nightmare
I am not the 'artsy' type but I found myself watching Basquiat one night. That -and listening to the Velvet Underground a few times got me interested in Andy Warhol a bit. Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2003 by Jack a Hearts
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychology of a tragic heroine
It's funny how a person's childhood experiences can set a person up for success or failure as an adult. Read more
Published on April 27 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing/fascinating look at a lost soul in pop-era NYcity
As a small-town west coast preteen in the 60s and self-absorbed teen in the 70s I was peripherally aware of the "pop" scene in New York City (mostly from my mother... Read more
Published on Feb. 21 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS!
Edie is a book that never fails to astonish. Although much of the book is about Warhol's Factory and ALL the people surrounding it, Edie does tend to be a centre character,... Read more
Published on Dec 14 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbound
Fantastic book. Told from a quirky angle, but is able to get opinions pinned down. Shows a neat look into the life of Edie and has some great side plots and stories.
Published on July 24 1998
3.0 out of 5 stars Subject Unworthy of the Approach
I love oral biographies (and highly recommend, by the way, SAVAGE GRACE and THE TRUE GEN), and EDIE certainly held my attention. But why? Read more
Published on July 1 1998 by jwalsh666@aol.com
5.0 out of 5 stars Stein shows us the brutal truth of American life.
The story of Edie Sedgwick is a refreshing eye-opener of the reality that, to the outside world, the ideal American family is not so ideal on the inside. Read more
Published on June 12 1998 by Stacy Seiler 103026.2042@compuserve.com
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