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American Cocktail A Colored Girl in the World by Anita Reynolds
  

American Cocktail A Colored Girl in the World

RRP £23.95

Synopsis

American Cocktail A Colored Girl in the World by Anita Reynolds

This is the rollicking, never-before-published memoir of a fascinating woman with an uncanny knack for being in the right place in the most interesting times. Of racially mixed heritage, Anita Reynolds was proudly African American but often passed for Indian, Mexican, or Creole. Actress, dancer, model, literary critic, psychologist, but above all free-spirited provocateur, she was, as her Parisian friends nicknamed her, an American cocktail. One of the first black stars of the silent era, she appeared in Hollywood movies with Rudolph Valentino, attended Charlie Chaplin's anarchist meetings, and studied dance with Ruth St. Denis. She moved to New York in the 1920s and made a splash with both Harlem Renaissance elites and Greenwich Village bohemians. An emigre in Paris, she fell in with the Left Bank avant garde, befriending Antonin Artaud, Man Ray, and Pablo Picasso. Next, she took up residence as a journalist in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and witnessed firsthand the growing menace of fascism. In 1940, as the Nazi panzers closed in on Paris, Reynolds spent the final days before the French capitulation as a Red Cross nurse, afterward making a mad dash for Lisbon to escape on the last ship departing Europe.In prose that perfectly captures the globetrotting nonchalance of its author, American Cocktail presents a stimulating, unforgettable self-portrait of a truly extraordinary woman.

Reviews

[Reynolds's] exuberant and inclusive cosmopolitanism is one of the great strengths of this singular memoir...If there has long been a scarcity of insight and gossip about friends, acquaintances, and colleagues in most early black life-stories, if one looks in vain for details and private opinions about encounters with the famous and infamous, with household names in politics, the arts, commercial enterprise, and sports, Reynolds all but single handedly makes up for it. Famous names are not simply dropped here and there, they are scattered about like handfuls of confetti, from the first chapter to the last. Reynolds readily shares brusque evaluations and anecdotes about Gertrude Stein, e.e. cummings, Paul Robeson, Salvador Dali, Constantin Brancusi, Tristan Tzara, Jean Patou, and dozens more. She tells about modeling for Coco Chanel and wearing the designer's castoffs; about writing for spicy French journals; and as the war escalated, about being a Red Cross nurse securing safe passage for refugees... Reynolds carries the reader along with a lively tale brimming with places, eras, family history, political movements, art, music, literature, and the people who created them, while throughout, Hutchinson provides discreet endnotes with his wonderfully researched and beautifully wrought amplification. Some of the notes are brief nuggets of clarification, while others are elegant miniature essays. All answer questions and expand upon things that Reynolds, in sketching her vivid self-portrait, does not stop to explain. More than endnotes, Hutchinson has crafted a running commentary, available to consult as one wishes, often pulling the reader into a bit of collusion with the editor.--Marilyn Richardson Women's Review of Books (07/01/2014)


About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

7th February 2014

Author

Anita Reynolds

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Publisher

Harvard University Press

Format

Hardback
352 pages

Categories

Memoirs
20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000

ISBN

9780674073050

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