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Julia Blackburn's brilliant and haunting book is a life of Billie Holiday told in the voices of those who knew her. During the 1970s a young woman called Linda Kuehl, planning to write a biography of Billie, recorded interviews with more than 150 people. Kuehl died in 1978 and her book never came out, but her recordings survived to provide the raw material for this extraordinary account of the life of America's First Lady of Jazz. Billie Holiday is usually portrayed as a tragic victim of her own vices. These intimate stories give us a much deeper picture of her personality - we witness scenes from her chaotic childhood; we see her when she first arrives in Harlem at the age of fourteen; and we follow her through her rise to fame and into the notoriety that came so close on its heels. Billie's friends and lovers and fellow musicians talk about her troubles and her addictions, but they also have a lot to say about her warmth and her courage, and the ones who were really close to her understood that although she had a lot of men and drugs and booze in her life, all that really mattered was the singing.

Buy With Billie book by Julia Blackburn from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9780099483656
ISBN-10: 0099483653
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 22mm)
Pages: 368
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 2-Mar-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Julia Blackburn

Julia Blackburn has written five books of non-fiction - Charles Waterton, The Emperor's Last Island, Daisy Bates in the Desert, Old Man Goya and With Billie - a family memoir, The Three of Us, which won the 2009 J. R. Ackerley Award, and two novels, The Book of Colour and The Leper's Companions, both of which were shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She is the author of seventeen short stories specially commisioned by BBC Radio, a selection of which were published in My Animals and Other Family, and four radio plays, including The Spellbound Horses, which was broadcast in 2011.

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