American Eve

American Eve

by Paula Uruburu

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The scandalous story of America’s first supermodel, sex goddess, and modern celebrity—Evelyn Nesbit.

By the time of her sixteenth birthday in 1900, Evelyn Nesbit was known to millions as the most photographed woman of her era, an iconic figure who set the standard for female beauty, and whose innocent sexuality was used to sell everything from chocolates to perfume. Women wanted to be her. Men just wanted her. But when Evelyn’s life of fantasy became all too real and her insanely jealous millionaire husband, Harry K. Thaw, murdered her lover, New York City architect Stanford White, the most famous woman in the world became infamous as she found herself at the center of the “Crime of the Century” and a scandal that signaled the beginning of a national obsession with youth, beauty, celebrity, and sex.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440629761
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/01/2008
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 141,745
File size: 5 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Paula Uruburu is an associate professor of English at Hofstra University. An expert on Evelyn Nesbit and the time period in which sh elived, Uruburu has been widely published and has appeared on A&E's Biography and PBS's History Detectives and American Experience, as well as been a consultant for the History Channel.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Garden of the New World     1
Siren Song     7
Beautiful City of Smoke     21
Poses     37
The Little Sphinx in Manhattan     53
Florodora     79
Benevolent Vampire     97
Through the Looking Glass     131
At the Feet of Diana     145
The Barrymore Curse     163
Enter Mad Harry     177
The Worst Mistake of Her Life     205
The "Mistress of Millions"     249
Curtains: June 25, 1906     269
Aftershock     289
Dementia Americana     303
A Woman's Sacrifice     317
America's Pet Murderer     357
Epilogue: The Fallen Idol     367
Acknowledgments     373
Notes     375
Further Reading     387

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American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the It Girl, and the Crime of the Century 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Nikkire More than 1 year ago
What an interesting life. I do wish the author had provided more detail about her later life after the murder with her career in Hollywood and more info. on her son. All in all, quite intriguing. The photos of this girl are great. What a beauty she was.
AngieSC More than 1 year ago
I enjoy historical ficton more, this was Non Fiction for sure, but kept my interest throughout. Amazing how such a big story at the time is almost completely forgotten 100 years later.
jztemple on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a biography of Evelyn Nesbit this book does leave something to be desired. Her life after Harry Thaw's second trial is dealt with rather abruptly, skimming over another forty plus years of life in a few pages. To the author's credit, she does deal with Evelyn's early years quite well, as she does with White and Thaw. Also the author also does wander off into philosophical musings early in the book and takes some time before starting to deal with the principles of the story. Otherwise however it is a very good book, although not recommended for the casual reader, as it is rather in depth at times.
Kasthu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On June 25, 1906, wealthy millionaire Harry K. Thaw killed his wife¿s Evelyn Nesbit¿s, former lover, the famous architect Stanford White, at Madison Square Garden. Evelyn, age 20, had spent the past five or six years of her life in the public eye as a model in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York, but nothing could have prepared her for the publicity that occurred in the aftermath of the killing.American Eve is primarily about Evelyn¿s life, and not quite so much about the murder and subsequent trial. Evelyn was born outside of Pittsburgh in 1885. After her father¿s death, her mother tried to make ends meet by hiring Evelyn out as an artists¿ model (as long as the artists were female or elderly men). Because of her timeless beauty, Evelyn soon found herself modeling in Philadelphia and New York, where she met much-older Stanford White, who set himself up as her father-figure and protector. Soon, however, he became much more.Evelyn met her future husband Harry K. Thaw ¿of Pittsburgh¿ in 1903. Thaw was known for his erratic, almost sociopathic behavior, but she married his anyways two years later. Thaw was obsessed with Evelyn, to the exclusion of everything else. He was especially obsessed with Evelyn¿s old relationship with White, whom Thaw considered the original exploiter of young, impressionable, virginal girls. Then, one sultry evening in the summer of 1906, Thaw shot White point blank, in front of hundreds of witnesses in the rooftop garden at Madison Square Garden. It led to ¿the trial of the century,¿ as Thaw was tried for the murder under the plea of insanity.Uruburu tells the story from a feminist point of view, portraying Evelyn as victim rather than architect of her own fate. Every now and then, as in the chapter which discusses the selection of the jury, Uruburu puts in a little aside like, ¿¿and women were excluded, of course.¿ Another thing I didn¿t like about the book was the opening chapter. The author begins with a discussion of Gilded Age society, whereas I believe she should have begun with the murder, in order to grab the reader¿s interest right away. And though I liked the photographs of Evelyn, I feel that there should be more of Stanford White (there¿s only one reprinted here). Also, I wish that more had been said about Evelyn¿s life after the trial. But aside from these points, I really enjoyed Evelyn¿s tragic story. Since Evelyn¿s life was so public, a lot was known (and speculated) about her life, and Uruburu does a wonderful job sorting out the fact and fiction. The narrative is also easy to follow, which is also another major plus. Even without Uruburu¿s contribution, Evelyn, the original ¿Gibson Girl,¿ and the girl for whom the term ¿je ne se quais¿ should have been coined, remains today an interesting and compelling persona.
maryintexas39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting, but very slow.
susanamper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Evelyn Nesbit was probably the most famous face in New York in the early years of the 20th century. Her picture was on advertising, post cards, in paintings; she served as a model for statues and pictures of angels in churches. Stanford White is considered one of the most preeminent architects of the 20th century. He designed the old Madison Square Garden and the Washington Square Arch and the library and Hall of Fame at Bronx Community College . The library and Hall of Fame are considered the jewels in the crown of his architectural career, and they are beautiful to behold. The book, though,is not about the architecture but about the doomed relationship between 50 year old White and 16 year old Nesbit. Evelyn Nesbit may have had luck, but it was all bad. White was a predator of underage girls, and he drugged Nesbit's champagne and raped her; then she became his mistress. She then married millionaire Harry K. Thaw who was obsessed with Stanford White. He also raped Nesbit before marrying her. He was a stark raving lunatic. I give nothing away in telling you that he also murdered Stanford White shortly after marrying Evelyn. The book makes for fascinating if unutterably sad reading. My major complaint about the book, other than what appears to be a rushed ending, is that there are too few pictures. If Evelyn Nesbit was "The Face" of the century, more pictures should have been included
graffitimom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting tale of America's first "It Girl." This book is the tale of the exploitation of a young girl by her mother, artists and society. Perhaps her fate is reflected in the lives of child stars today, as we see their lives fall apart when they become adults. Miss Nesbit seemed doomed by her beauty and her lack of parenting by her mother.
Myckyee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a teenager at the turn of the 20th century in New York, Evelyn Nesbit became the epitome of the `it¿ girl. Her likeness was on the cover of postcards and magazines and she eventually became a `floradora¿ girl and danced in popular shows in the city. She was well on her way to becoming a popular figure in entertainment. Then she met 48 year old Stanford White. He arranged to meet Evelyn through another chorus girl in the floradora show. He took his time with Evelyn and her mother, slowing winning their trust before showing his true colours. While still under White¿s `tutelage¿ Evelyn met John Barrymore and almost had a normal relationship with someone her own age. But fate, Stanford White and her mother intervened and it was not to be. With no adult guidance and little experience with hidden agendas, the naïve Evelyn fell prey to older men who her mother allowed intentionally or not, into their lives. Finally, Evelyn was pursued and won by Harry K. Thaw, another poor choice.Though these events took place over a 100 years ago, Evelyn¿s experiences echo resoundingly across the years to mirror those of today¿s young celebrities: beautiful young girl finds success as a model or actress, becomes famous, is relentlessly pursued by fans, some become friends ¿ their real motives cleverly hidden, but once revealed result in intense pressure from media and even tragedy. Her life has become a nightmare. Sound like anyone familiar? Britney Spears perhaps? How about Lindsay Lohan? American Eve is a cautionary tale that is undoubtedly destined to be ignored by those it could help the most.The story is told well and the research done on the subject is meticulous. The reader is given a sense of `place¿ and `prejudice¿ via pictures of the principals involved and buildings and the descriptions of New York at that time. Extreme poverty as well as extreme decadence through wealth is laid out in depth. It is interesting to note in the acknowledgments that the author had the support of Evelyn¿s grandson and daughter-in-law in writing this story, lending it credibility and a genuineness that might have been difficult to achieve otherwise. I was very excited to have the opportunity to review this book. Over the years I¿ve read a few articles regarding Evelyn Nesbit that I¿d found intriguing. This book added a lot more detail and did not disappoint. I recommend American Eve to anyone who is fascinated by recent history and the culture of celebrity and how it has always impacted our lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't usually do reviews but this is one of the best reads I have had in a long time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A historical tale of which I had no knowledge, which in fact is not far removed from characters well known in present day noteriety. I was fascinated by the fact that the players in this book should include names such as Barrymore and noted individuals such as the architect who designed much of NYC including the original Madison Square Garden.
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Iluvaroadtrip More than 1 year ago
Purple prose, passages that can't possibly be authenticated. No real bibliography - just a list of books the author cannibalized in order to embellish her fantasy. Bore bore bore to anyone with an IQ in the triple digits.