Lee Miller: A Life

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Knopf, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 426 pages
23 Reviews
A trenchant yet sympathetic portrait of Lee Miller, one of the iconic faces and careers of the twentieth century. Carolyn Burke reveals Miller as a multifaceted woman: both model and photographer, muse and reporter, sexual adventurer and mother, and, in later years, gourmet cook—the last of the many dramatic transformations she underwent during her lifetime. A sleek blond bombshell, Miller was part of a glamorous circle in New York and Paris in the 1920s and 1930s as a leadingVoguemodel, close to Edward Steichen, Charlie Chaplin, Jean Cocteau, and Pablo Picasso. Then, during World War II, she became a war correspondent—one of the first women to do so—shooting harrowing images of a devastated Europe, entering Dachau with the Allied troops, posing in Hitler’s bathtub. Burke examines Miller’s troubled personal life, from the unsettling photo sessions during which Miller, both as a child and as a young woman, posed nude for her father, to her crucial affair with artist-photographer Man Ray, to her unconventional marriages. And through Miller’s body of work, Burke explores the photographer’s journey from object to subject; her eye for form, pattern, and light; and the powerful emotion behind each of her images.A lushly illustrated story of art and beauty, sex and power, Modernism and Surrealism, independence and collaboration,Lee Miller: A Lifeis an astute study of a fascinating, yet enigmatic, cultural figure.

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Review: Lee Miller: A Life

User Review  - Dana Gynther - Goodreads

This biography is what a biography should be. Absolutey meticulous in its research, it also asks the right questions. It does not shy away from the unpleasant parts of her life, nor does it revel in them. I feel like I have a good idea who Lee Miller was. Now on to Man Ray! Read full review

Review: Lee Miller: A Life

User Review  - Kshotwell - Goodreads

This was assigned reading for a book club. We found the author biased and borderline misogynistic. Where no facts were available, Ms. Burke filled in with assumption and bias. I found the book reveled ... Read full review


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Nicole Kidman
David Thomson
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About the author (2005)

Carolyn Burke, a biographer, art critic, and translator, has taught at Princeton and the University of California at Santa Cruz and at Davis; at the Universities of Western Sydney and New South Wales in Australia; and at the Sorbonne and the University of Lille in France. She received critical acclaim for her book Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy from The Washington Post (“[a] brilliant biographer”), The New Republic (“superb”), and the San Francisco Chronicle (“impressive . . . does full justice to Loy's varied accomplishments”). Born in Australia, she now lives in Santa Cruz, California.

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