In the ""Black Americans of Achievement"" series, a writer with a wide knowledge of popular music gives a moving description of the grim life of a famous jazz singer. Flashing back from her greatest triumph--her return engagement at Carnegie Hall after imprisonment for taking drugs--Kliment discusses Holiday's early life, including her involvement in prostitution, placing her problems in their socioeconomic context. Both here and in the final chapters, which deal with her decline as a result of alcohol and drugs, Kliment treats her personal life with honesty and fairness. In the more upbeat depiction of Holiday's successful career between these events, he clearly delineates both her talents and the music industry that employed them. This compassionate, readable biography is one of the better entries in this useful series. Especially valuable is the discography, which includes currently available recordings; chronology; further reading; index.