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Marlene: A Novel
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Published:
HarperCollins 2016
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Description

A lush, dramatic biographical novel of one of the most glamorous and alluring legends of Hollywood's golden age, Marlene Dietrich—from the gender-bending cabarets of Weimar Berlin to the lush film studios of Hollywood, a sweeping story of passion, glamour, ambition, art, and war from the author of Mademoiselle Chanel.

Raised in genteel poverty after the First World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When a budding career as a violinist is cut short, the willful teenager vows to become a singer, trading her family's proper, middle-class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Weimar Berlin's cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, seductive silk cocktail dresses, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses and becomes entangled in a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention.

For the beautiful, desirous Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood can cure her wanderlust. As Hitler and the Nazis rise to power, she sets sail for America. Rivaling the success of another European import, Greta Garbo, Marlene quickly becomes one of Hollywood's leading ladies, starring with legends such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. Desperate for her return, Hitler tries to lure her with dazzling promises. Marlene instead chooses to become an American citizen, and after her new nation is forced into World War II, she tours with the USO, performing for thousands of Allied troops in Europe and Africa.

But one day she returns to Germany. Escorted by General George Patton himself, Marlene is heartbroken by the war's devastation and the evil legacy of the Third Reich that has transformed her homeland and the family she loved.

An enthralling and insightful account of this extraordinary legend, Marlene reveals the inner life of a woman of grit, glamour, and ambition who defied convention, seduced the world, and forged her own path on her own terms.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/24/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062406088
ASIN:
B014PSOVHA
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner. (2016). Marlene: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner. 2016. Marlene: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner, Marlene: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner. Marlene: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:36:55
Date Updated:
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A lush, dramatic biographical novel of one of the most glamorous and alluring legends of Hollywood's golden age, Marlene Dietrich—from the gender-bending cabarets of Weimar Berlin to the lush film studios of Hollywood, a sweeping story of passion, glamour, ambition, art, and war from the author of Mademoiselle Chanel.

Raised in genteel poverty after the First World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When a budding career as a violinist is cut short, the willful teenager vows to become a singer, trading her family's proper, middle-class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Weimar Berlin's cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, seductive silk cocktail dresses, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses and becomes entangled in a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention.

For the beautiful, desirous Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood can cure her wanderlust. As Hitler and the Nazis rise to power, she sets sail for America. Rivaling the success of another European import, Greta Garbo, Marlene quickly becomes one of Hollywood's leading ladies, starring with legends such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. Desperate for her return, Hitler tries to lure her with dazzling promises. Marlene instead chooses to become an American citizen, and after her new nation is forced into World War II, she tours with the USO, performing for thousands of Allied troops in Europe and Africa.

But one day she returns to Germany. Escorted by General George Patton himself, Marlene is heartbroken by the war's devastation and the evil legacy of the Third Reich that has transformed her homeland and the family she loved.

An enthralling and insightful account of this extraordinary legend, Marlene reveals the inner life of a woman of grit, glamour, and ambition who defied convention, seduced the world, and forged her own path on her own terms.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2016
        International movie star Marlene Dietrich relates her eventful story in a first-person fictional account. Maria Magdalene Dietrich, known as Marlene, was born to a distinguished but threadbare family in turn-of-the-20th-century Berlin, where her hardworking widowed mother instilled in her the motto Tu etwas--do something. This work ethic and constant struggle against insolvency in a defeated Germany propels young Marlene to a music conservatory, where, upon learning that she will never be a top-notch violinist, she promptly seduces her instructor, beginning a lifelong journey of balancing her middling talent with her overwhelming sexual charisma. Set loose in the cabaret world of the Weimar Republic, Marlene works her way up from the chorus to bit parts in the burgeoning German film world, marries a promising director, and then meets Josef von Sternberg, who makes her a star and takes her to Hollywood. Author Gortner (The Vatican Princess, 2015, etc.) skillfully evokes the cross-dressing, sexually fluid atmosphere of the seedy nightclubs that helped Marlene define her unique appeal; the scenes are lively and authentic, though overpopulated. When Marlene moves to Hollywood, the story becomes a litany of lovers--Gary Cooper, Mercedes de Acosta, and Jean Gabin--and interchangeable films in which Marlene plays a chanteuse or spy while coping with numerous domestic problems that are raised but never fully examined. It's only when Bette Davis badgers Marlene into joining the USO that the novel finds its heart. The scenes of Marlene entertaining the troops and visiting hospitals in Europe during the second world war are well-detailed and truly moving. An ambitious but occasionally overbroad account of the life of the German-American star whose life spanned continents, wars, and nearly an entire century.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from April 15, 2016
        Gortner, the author of Mademoiselle Chanel (2015), provides a fictional biography of yet another iconic twentieth-century female. From the racy, ribald cabarets of Weimer-era Berlin to the glitz and glamour of golden-era Hollywood, the beguilingly androgynous and fiercely passionate Marlene Dietrich, born Maria Magdalena Dietrich into a respectable middle-class family, fairly leaps off every page. The first-person voice lends an air of intimacy and immediacy to the narration, as Marlene relates her metamorphosis from a repressed German violin student into a sexually liberated international film star. Divided loyalties plague Dietrich her entire life. Torn between two countries, she chooses the U.S. when Germany descends into madness; torn between her child and her profession, she opts to put her burgeoning career first. Though her choices always exact a price, she lives her life bravely and passionately, raising a multitude of hackles and disapproving eyebrows along the way. Cinematic in both scope and story, this sweeping reconception of the professionally and personally captivating Dietrich will appeal to both film buffs and fans of historical fiction.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

popularity
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A lush, dramatic biographical novel of one of the most glamorous and alluring legends of Hollywood's golden age, Marlene Dietrich—from the gender-bending cabarets of Weimar Berlin to the lush film studios of Hollywood, a sweeping story of passion, glamour, ambition, art, and war from the author of Mademoiselle Chanel.

Raised in genteel poverty after the First World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When a budding career as a violinist is cut short, the willful teenager vows to become a singer, trading her family's proper, middle-class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Weimar Berlin's cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, seductive silk cocktail dresses, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses and becomes entangled in a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention.

For the beautiful, desirous Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood...

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