BELAFONTE An Unauthorized Biography by Arnold Shaw

BELAFONTE An Unauthorized Biography

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The glamour of Harry Belafonte, singer, actor, and sex idol of millions of Americans, pervades this book and gives rise to a certain confusion. In dissecting so clearly and well the entertainer's attitudes--his violent refusal to accept second class citizenship, his aggressiveness, his shyness, his fastidious approach to his work--it is easy to be swept to the conclusion that all these facts amount to a significant statement about a man of titanic stature or about a trend on the part of Americans to forsake racial prejudice. But what in fact one concludes upon second thought from this biography is that the one time pop singer was shrewd, in his recognition of his limitations, to abandon that field and switch to folk music for which he had more feeling, sympathy, and background. That from the moment of his switch he pursued a careful and diligent program, motivated by his own ambition and by the need nurtured in his slum background and in the class conscious Jamaica, where, as a child, he lived. And from the fact that Belafonte is loved by millions of white women, is married to a white dancer, one cannot, unfortunately, assume a social revolution, but merely that the long, lean singer, who, in his open white shirt and tight trousers, moves with the case of a panther, is an unusually attractive and talented man, a man who recognizes the power of sexual and dramatic magnetism. A book to interest students of commercial music and the fans, of which, fortunately for Arnold Shaw, there are many.

Pub Date: March 24th, 1960
Publisher: Chilton