JAZZ CLEOPATRA: JOSEPHINE BAKER IN HER TIME
by Phyllis Rose
Doubleday; 321 pages; $22.50
Some performers live in memory as icons of their eras -- Marilyn Monroe with her air-blown skirt at thigh level, or Louise Brooks of the silents, purring beneath a helmet of slinky black hair. Particularly to the French, there is more than one archetypical image of Josephine Baker, who danced her way out of the hovels of East St. Louis to become the world's first black international star. From the Roaring Twenties came a Baker persona at once erotic and comic: prancing topless on a Paris music-hall...