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Barbra Streisand:  Redefining Beauty, Femininity and Power Preview
April 26, 2016
296 P., 5 3/4 x 8 1/4
9780300210910

Barbra Streisand:Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power

by Neal Gabler

Barbra Streisand has been called the “most successful...talented performer of her generation” by Vanity Fair, and her voice, said pianist Glenn Gould, is “one of the natural wonders of the age.” Streisand scaled the heights of entertainment—from a popular vocalist to a first-rank Broadway star in Funny Girl to an Oscar-winning actress to a producer and director. But she has also become a cultural icon who has transcended show business.

To achieve her success, Brooklyn-born Streisand had to overcome tremendous odds, not the least of which was her Jewishness. Dismissed, insulted, even reviled when she embarked on a show business career for acting too Jewish and looking too Jewish, she brilliantly converted her Jewishness into a metaphor for outsiderness that would eventually make her the avenger for anyone who felt marginalized and powerless.

Neal Gabler examines Streisand’s life and career through this prism of otherness—a Jew in a gentile world, a self-proclaimed homely girl in a world of glamour, a kooky girl in a world of convention—and shows how central it was to Streisand’s triumph as one of the voices of her age.

Feature Review: 

"[A] trim, insightful Streisand meta-biography...."--Alexander C. Kafka, LA Review of Books

"Gabler, the estimable journalist, pop-cultural historian and author...returns to his interest in the intersection of Jews, gentiles and Hollywood in BARBRA STREISAND: Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power...The author does a neat job of weaving every thread he can pull into the cloth...This brief biography looks at a well-documented star in a new way."--Lisa Schwarzbaum, New York Times Book Review

"In this fascinating and insightful exploration of what it means to be Barbra Streisand, and what it took to become her, Mr. Gabler writes with the heart of a fan and the mind of a Freudian. He delves into Ms. Streisand’s tragic childhood and her anguish at the hand of neighborhood bullies, who taunted her for her big nose and relative poverty, and shows how they engendered in her an implacable—and stupefyingly correct—belief in the singular power of her talent as a performer."-- Rachel Shukert, Wall Street Journal

"[A] trim, insightful Streisand meta-biography....If Oscar, Tony, Grammy, Emmy, Peabody, and the rest of the polished, postured gang haven’t already persuaded you that she’s had the enormous influence Gabler claims, his careful reading of her career will."--Alexander C. Kafka, LA Review of Books

“A clear-eyed, frank, and energetic look at Streisand, filled with revealing details, that fuses her life and career into vivid focus.”—Bob Spitz, author of The Beatles: The Biography

“A book-length biographical essay, filled with context about Streisand's Jewish persona as a hindrance and, eventually, in unexpected ways, as an aid to her professional successes. . . . Fascinating details abound . . . A worthy book.”—Kirkus Reviews

"Superb . . . [Gabler] vitally anatomizes singer, actor, and director Streisand’s unique accomplishments and far-reaching influence . . . . With unabashed appreciation for her tenacious refusal to be bullied by the entertainment establishment or the media, Gabler maps the fecund artistic and social ground that the brilliant and outspoken Streisand has claimed by doing things her way, decade after decade."—Donna Seaman, Booklist, Starred Review

'I always knew I hadda be famous and rich – the best. Beautiful I'm not and never will be', Streisand is quoted in Neal Gabler's fascinating new book, Barbra Streisand: Redefining Beauty, Femininity and Power published by Yale University Press." --Daily Mail (U.K.)

"Impassioned....Gabler, one of our leading historians of film and popular culture, offers a number of penetrating observations about Streisand’s technique as a performer."--Adam Kirsch, Tablet

"A fascinating look at an icon who achieved her status with her Jewishness--and her Brooklynness--intact." --Chicago Jewish Star

Neal Gabler

Christina Gabler

Neal Gabler is the author of four previous books. Both An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood and Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His other books include Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity, which was named nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine, and Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality.

Read Gabler's essay in the Forward "What We Write About When We Write About Barbra Streisand" Click Here

Read Gabler's article in the LA Times " A Case for Barbra Streisand as the Most Revolutionary of Performers"
Click Here

Listen to an engaging podcast interview with Gabler speaking about Streisand with Tablet's Sara Ivry Click Here