Book of the Week 9/29/14


Jean Stein and George Plimpton’s Edie: American Girl (Grove Press, first paperback edition,1994) gives an eye-opening account of Edie Sedgwick, member of a wealthy yet dysfunctional New England family, socialite, superstar of Andy Warhol’s underground movies, and beautiful young woman who emitted external glamour yet battled internal demons throughout her short life.

From Inside Flap of Edie: American Girl

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

The story in Edie: American Girl features interviews with relatives, lovers, friends, and former colleagues, giving readers details inside Edie’s unstable childhood that included her father’s psychological problems, the loss of two brothers to suicide, times she spent in four mental institutions, treatment for an eating disorder, studying sculpture at Harvard, rise to fame as a model and actress, drug use, marriage, and untimely death, among other aspects of her life.

Drugs, sex, celebrity, self-destruction, and general overindulgence prominent in the 1960’s are all part of this unique book about a woman considered ahead of her time and rise and a no-holds-barred story of the rise and fall of a “Silver Sixties” icon.


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