Barbra Streisand Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power Neal Gabler

Series:
Jewish Lives
Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
07 Jun 2016
ISBN:
9780300210910
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
296 pages: 210 x 146 x 25mm
Illustrations:
1 b-w illus.

An enthralling appreciation of the monumentally gifted popular artist and cultural icon who challenged Hollywood’s standards of beauty and glamour

Barbra Streisand has been called the “most successful...talented performer of her generation” by Vanity Fair, and her voice, said pianist Glenn Gould, is “one of the natural wonders of the age.” Streisand scaled the heights of entertainment—from a popular vocalist to a first-rank Broadway star in Funny Girl to an Oscar-winning actress to a producer and director. But she has also become a cultural icon who has transcended show business. To achieve her success, Brooklyn-born Streisand had to overcome tremendous odds, not the least of which was her Jewishness. Dismissed, insulted, even reviled when she embarked on a show business career for acting too Jewish and looking too Jewish, she brilliantly converted her Jewishness into a metaphor for outsiderness that would eventually make her the avenger for anyone who felt marginalized and powerless.
 
Neal Gabler examines Streisand’s life and career through this prism of otherness—a Jew in a gentile world, a self-proclaimed homely girl in a world of glamour, a kooky girl in a world of convention—and shows how central it was to Streisand’s triumph as one of the voices of her age.

Neal Gabler is the author of An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood; Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination; Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity; and Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality.

"[A] spirited and entertaining cultural appreciation."—Jennifer Senior, New York Times


"In this fascinating and insightful exploration of what it means to be Barbra Streisand, and what it took to become her, Mr. Gabler writes with the heart of a fan and the mind of a Freudian. He delves into Ms. Streisand’s tragic childhood and her anguish at the hand of neighborhood bullies, who taunted her for her big nose and relative poverty, and shows how they engendered in her an implacable—and stupefyingly correct—belief in the singular power of her talent as a performer."—Rachel Shukert, Wall Street Journal


"Gabler, the estimable journalist, pop-cultural historian and author . . . returns to his interest in the intersection of Jews, gentiles and Hollywood in BARBRA STREISAND: Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power. . . . The author does a neat job of weaving every thread he can pull into the cloth. . . . This brief biography looks at a well-documented star in a new way."—Lisa Schwarzbaum, New York Times Book Review


"Gabler . . . argues that Streisand could never have triumphed as she did if she were a natural winner . . . a convincing account of how, once, Streisand really did bend the world to her will."—Victoria Segal, Sunday Times


"Gabler’s immensely readable book demonstrates through Streisand’s remarkable story that . . . it is talent that matters most, and for her embracing who she was and accepting with confidence what she looked like was instrumental in displaying that talent to the world."—Richard Edmonds, Birmingham Post


"Gabler’s enthusiasm is so infectious and Barbra Streisand’s star quality so magnificent that I found myself singing the songs."—Jessica Weinstein, Jewish Chronicle


"[A] smart new book, a biography-cum-critical essay on the Brooklyn-born diva. It may be the best book about Streisand you will ever read, an acute and sympathetic rendering of a career forged from yearning and steel."—Tom Shone, New Statesman


"A clear-eyed, frank, and energetic look at Streisand, filled with revealing details, that fuses her life and career into vivid focus."—Bob Spitz, author of The Beatles: The Biography