Recommended Reading

"Louise Brooks: A Biography"

by Barry Paris (University of Minnesota Press, 1989, 609 pages)

"Lulu in Hollywood"

by Louise Brooks (University of Minnesota Press, 1974, 119 pages)

For the first time, we are recommending two books in tandem since they are two entirely different kinds of volumes while, at the same time, complementing each other well, especially for the fan who wishes to delve deeply into the life and mind of the enigmatic Louise Brooks. Barry Paris' biography of the star really needs no elaboration since it has been recognized as the authoritative word on Brooks' life since it was first published in 1989. Paris' excellent research is evident, and he handles a life of much scandal without scandalizing. As one reviewer noted, it is "not simply a summary of her movie plots and love affairs, but a serious work of film and social history." Whether you're a Louise Brooks fan or not, the insight Paris provides into this era in cinematic history is well worth the read.

One should not pick up Lulu in Hollywood expecting an autobiography nor a "nice" book. Brooks is sassy, ascerbic and irreverent. She writes in a no-holds-barred style and may even knock some cinema idol off the pedestal on which the fan has placed him or her. One reviewer said it best when he noted, "A tart, fleet, gossipy book, a whip-flicking display of wit and spite," adding "Louise Brooks emerges not as a white goddess wreathed in incense, but as a sassy companion, wisecracking, knowledgeable, completely free of cant and coy sentiment," . . . but, therein lies the charm of the book.

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