He wrote a book on Elizabeth Taylor that we loved: "book 'em friday," " and "How To Be A Movie Star" and "book 'em friday," "How To Be A Movie Star II" so we were really excited to discover he' had a new book and this one focuses on Barbra Streisand.
The new book is Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand. One of the things Rebecca and I immediately bonded over a few years back was that we both love Barbra Streisand. She's one of the all time great American singers.
Mann's explaining how this came to be and doing so by focusing on the early years of Barbra's career only. The book stops in 1964 so you've got her trying to get acting roles and studying acting and then being convinced to give singing a try (more as a goof).
And that voice overwhelms the first time she performs in public. And why wouldn't it?
TV talk show appearances and night club dates follow and the book explores these in great detail. Then comes the first Broadway success (I Can Get It For You Wholesale) which earns Barbra a Tony nomination. After that, she finally records an album and it starts slow but builds until she's the best selling female artist in the country.
The book is lively and a page turner. But what I found especially illuminating were the sections on Diana Kind.
That's Barbra's mother. In most books, she can come off cold and indifferent. This book provides an accounting of what she told her friends versus what she told Barbra. You get a much better understanding not only of a complicated mother & daughter relationship but also of who Diana was as a person.
After reading the book, you can easily understand why Barbra would love her and also be infuriated by her.
The book also has some gorgeous full page photos that have not been seen before because they're from private collections.
If you're a Barbra fan, you will love this book. I think it's going to get my vote for best book of the year in Martha and Shirley's annual poll.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"