Decades of war and revolution in Europe forced an "intellectual migration" during the last century, relocating thousands of artists and thinkers to the United States. For many of Europe's premier performing artists, America proved to be a destination both strange and opportune.
Featuring the stories of George Balanchine, Kurt Weill, Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and many others, Artists in Exile explores the impact that these famous newcomers had on American culture, and that America had on them.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a great book, very well researched and written in an easy-to-read manner. I don't understand the other two reviewers - I even checked to see if I had bought a second edition when I read about the language being a "disgrace". There are a couple of typos early on, but the rest of the book is beautifully written.
I can't judge about the correct year of a movie being 1915 or 1916 or 1918, which another reviewer lists as one of the "wince-making" errors in the book, but in my opinion this is beside the point. Scholars interested in a specific person profiled here will not buy this book; they will buy a biography of that person instead.
This book is for anyone who wants to learn more about the impact of a sudden change in culture on people's ability to make art - the change being of course the ascent of the Nazis to power and World War II, which drove many Europeans to exile in the United States. The author doesn't restrict himself to one genre, instead...
I agree that Horowitz does a better job with music, which is after all his specialty, than with film, but I found his assessments of the costs of exile very interesting and well-argued. His appreciations of Mamoulian, Nazimova, Mitropoulos, Varèse, and other less-currently-heralded artists are particularly welcome, though often quite heartbreaking.
Joseph Horowitz has written a valuable and entertaining book about the artists who fled Europe and Eastern Europe during the first half of the 20th Century and the contribution they ended up making to the arts in the United States. His discussion of musicians shows the knowledge and erudition that he has displayed in his other books on the subject - when it comes to film, however, his knowledge is scanty, and it shows.
He claims in his preface that his chapter on film was read by Richard Schickel - given the circumstances, and the fact that Schickel has had a forty-year career as a film critic, I'm a little surprised that the film section of the book has quite a few wince-making errors of fact:
p. 234 He lists The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916) as having been made in 1916 and 1918, respectively.
p. 234 He follows the lead of several recent trashy biographies in stating that Charlie Chaplin "did not know who fathered him," which is...
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