Strange Fruit by David Margolick
Billie Holiday, Cafe Society, And An Early Cry For Civil Rights

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Synopsis

From four-time Pulitzer Prize nominee David Margolick, STRANGE FRUIT explores the story of the memorable civil rights ballad made famous by Billie Holiday in the late 1930s. The song's powerful, evocative lyrics-written by a Jewish communist schoolteacher who, late in life, adopted the children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg-portray the lynching of a black man in the South. Holiday's performances sparked conflict and controversy wherever she went, and the song has since been covered by Lena Horne, Tori Amos, Sting, and countless others. Margolick's careful reconstruction of the story behind the song, portions of which have appeared in Vanity Fair, includes a discography of "Strange Fruit" recordings as well as newly uncovered photographs that capture Holiday in performance at Greenwich Village's Café Society. A must for jazz aficionados.
 

About David Margolick

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David Margolick is a contributor to "Vanity Fair" and the former National Legal Affairs Editor for the "New York Times." A four-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, he is the author of "Undue Influence" and "At the Bar." He lives in New York City.
 
Published April 6, 2000 by Running Press. 144 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography, History, Humor & Entertainment, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Strange Fruit

Kirkus Reviews

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Expanding on an article that originated in the pages of Vanity Fair, Margolick (At the Bar, 1995) traces the relationships between "Strange Fruit" (a 1930s ballad describing a lynching), Billie Holiday (its best-known interpreter), and those who heard it sung by her.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday...

Publishers Weekly

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In 1939, at Greenwich Village's Left-wing Caf Society, Billie Holiday gave the first public performance of a song whose lyrics tender a gory vision of a lynched black man hanging from a tree. The son

Apr 03 2000 | Read Full Review of Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday...

Publishers Weekly

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Most effectively, by drawing on personal recollections of Holiday, Meeropol, Caf Society promoter Barney Josephson and people who heard Holiday sing the song either live or on vinyl--plus a brief history of Southern lynchings--Margolick re-creates the tense web of bitterness, guilt, denial and a...

| Read Full Review of Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday...

https://bookpage.com

Although Holiday's producer, John Hammond, didn't want her to sing it because of the strong political message, Holiday mesmerized audiences with her rendition, often bringing them to tears.

Nov 15 2016 | Read Full Review of Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday...

Austin Chronicle

At the storm's center, however, stands singer Billie Holiday, who is most closely associated with putting the song into the social consciousness and whose tragic life and career, in many ways, came to be defined by the song.

Jul 21 2000 | Read Full Review of Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday...

ForeWord Reviews

She demanded absolute respect for the song that legendary record producer Ahmet Ertegun called “the beginning of the civil rights movement.” Margolick’s history of “Strange Fruit,” which includes a discography, touches not only on who sang the song, but the various social groups it impacted and...

Apr 15 2000 | Read Full Review of Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday...

http://www.citypaper.com

Margolick looks at the myths surrounding the song and acknowledges the plight of Holiday, the troubled chanteuse whose legendary rendition of the song has long outlived her.

Apr 12 2000 | Read Full Review of Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday...

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