Paul Robeson's international achievements as a singer and an actor made him the most celebrated black American of his day (he would have said 'Negro'). But his outspoken criticism of racism in the USA, his unflinching support of African independence, and his fascination with communism placed him under the debilitating scrutiny of McCarthyism. Blacklisted, and denied work, he refused to alter his views, but wrote his testimony, "Here I Stand", in answer to his accusers. In "Here We Stand", Colin Chambers looks at Robeson's career and, by way of comparison, also at the life and work of both Isadora Duncan, whose Soviet sympathies provoked hostility and worse in her native America, and Charlie Chaplin, whose anti-war stance led to his expulsion from the US. In the light of these different experiences, Chambers asks important questions about the censorship of performers, the politics of performance and the dilemma of the celebrity activist. The result is a fascinating and salutary reminder of how difficult it is to win fame as a performer and remain faithful to one's beliefs, especially when those beliefs run counter to the prevailing ideology, whatever it may be.
A successful performer speaks out at his or her peril - then as now.
Buy Here We Stand book by Colin Chambers from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(216mm x 138mm x 25mm)
Nick Hern Books
Publisher: Nick Hern Books
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Author Biography - Colin Chambers
Colin Chambers, a former journalist and theatre critic was literary manager of the RSC from 1981-1977. His many books include the award-winning Peggy, the authorised biography of play agent Peggy Ramsay (published by NHB), The Story of Unity Theatre and Inside the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has just been appointed Kingston University's first Reader in Drama, to work alongside Peter Hall teaching a new Master of Fine Arts degree course.