EDWIN BOOTH: Prince of Players by Eleanor Ruggles
Kirkus Star

EDWIN BOOTH: Prince of Players

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The ever-fascinating Booth family offers a wonderful opportunity for theatrical biography and this portrait of Edwin handles its controversial material with conviction and the man himself with love. Here is Junius for whom England and a wife and son held no interest and to whom America, a mistress, Mary Annand, a brood of illegitimate children gave happiness and love. Drink, however, and bouts of madness (""Father's calamity"") developed into dreadful threats and it was Edwin who became responsible for his father's scheduled appearances and who was eventually forced to substitute for him when Junius was incapable of performing. And theater became his career, with the old saying ""star or starve"" a driving force. He sowed wild oats in California and Australia, he had competition from his brothers Junius and John, drink and women threatened his early professional years. His first wife gave him his daughter, Edwina, who was the cause of his second wife's mental unbalance, and he had the terrible notoriety, his brother's assassination of Lincoln brought about, to live through. There was England and the continent to conquer, Irving was a threat to his established reputation, and sickness and long tours marked his last years, while The Players is a lasting memorial to his name. An evocative re-creation of a bombastic era, a many panelled picture of a family, a warm understanding of the man--this will more than satisfy followers of theatrical biography. Book of the Month Club's March selection insures this a solid send-off.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1953
Publisher: Norton