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JOSEPHINE BAKER by Bryan Hammond & Patrick O'Connor (Little, Brown: $24.95).

July 07, 1991|CHARLES SOLOMON

One of the most celebrated performers of the century, Josephine Baker lived a life that contained all the elements of a show-biz fantasy: Born into dire poverty in St. Louis, she escaped to become the toast of Paris, a war hero and a tireless crusader for human equality. As she seems to have spent her entire adult life in the spotlight, it's hardly surprising that she fascinates the current, media-conscious generation. This adoring biography offers few new insights, but Hammond and O'Connor have succeeded in documenting her long career--including the notorious, near-naked entrance at the FoliesBergere that Janet Flanner documented in a famous column--in an impressive array of photographs, posters, sketches, record albums and magazine covers.

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