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Edie: American Girl Paperback – Oct 14 1994

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 564 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1st (first) pbk edition (Oct. 14 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802134106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802134103
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 640 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

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

'Extraordinary . . . a fascinating narrative that is both meticulously reported and expertly orchestrated.' -Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

'The ultimate oral history and still the most objectively cool book I've ever read. It's perfectly structured and the most important book about America in the 1960s.' -Sloane Crosley, T: The New York Times Style Magazine

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

'Jean Stein's 1982 book Edie: American Girl, edited with George Plimpton . . . gave oral history the particular shimmer that comes when lofty literary aims happen to coincide with sheer entertainment value . . . Edie gave an almost mythic quality to its subject's persona and her brief rise and fall, yet in its telling you could also follow clear lines connecting disparate pieces of 20th-century American life: the hollow cult of celebrity; the fragile prospect of greater opportunity for women; the intoxicating dream of the West for certain Easterners; the peculiar pathologies of the very rich.' -Maria Russo, New York Times Book Review

'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

'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.' - Atlanta Journal & Constitution

'Is anyone capable of picking up . . . Edie and putting it down before the very last page?' -Pamela Paul, New York Times Book Review

'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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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
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 shaking her head over the photos and stories in "Life" magazine). When "Edie" was published I ran across it in a book club review and it just sounded intriguing. I ended up reading "Edie" so many times the cover practically fell off. Then a few years ago it mysteriously vanished from my bookshelves -- did I lend it to someone who was as morbidly fascinated as I by the tragic rise and fall of "Warhol's little queen" (as the Cult song says)??? One thing's for sure: Edie was a victim of Warhol's astounding ego -- or madness -- sucked into the black hole of his twisted little soul. Of course, she came from a long line of borderline personalities in a high-society family. The excesses of the 60s were absolutely the end of the road -- or rope -- for many of these types. As one who "missed" the whole self-indulgent and uncontrolled scene, after reading "Edie" I finally realized that I'm much better off having just read about those times. It's a real collage of that generation's high-fliers and fringe dwellers that will not cease to amaze. So why am I writing this review now? I just heard the song I referred to earlier, the Cult's "Edie," and I am now ordering a new copy of the book. Plimpton's word-of-mouth writing style brings the viewpoints of so many people who were there it's like theater in the round, or something -- you see and experience the scene from every angle. You don't hear just from the heads and freaks, you hear from the spectrum of New York's inhabitants, plus many of Edie's kinfolk.Read more ›
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