Books: Notable: May 25, 1981

NAKED AT THE FEAST by Lynn Haney Dodd, Mead; 338 pages; $17.95

At eight, the St. Louis waif was farmed out as a servant. At 13, after hanging around a local theater, she signed on to the vaudeville circuit and made two discoveries: she could hold a note, and she could hold an audience.

Josephine Baker parlayed that talent into a strange career. As Biographer Lynn Haney recounts, Baker badgered her way onto Broadway when she was 16, but it was in Paris three years later that she found true recognition. As in a '30s melodrama, Baker's professional life roared on while the...

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