(David Hajdu’s article appeared in The New York Times, 2/25.)

Not since the heavenly dressing crew worked its miracle in “Cabin in the Sky” has anyone labored as hard to rehabilitate Waters’s image as Donald Bogle has in writing “Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters.” Bogle, a historian of ­African-American entertainment and the author of several good books on the subject (including the influential “Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films”), has researched Waters thoroughly and presents, fastidiously, the great many facts of her long life and career. She began singing at age 21 in 1917 and remained active on television until 1972, five years before her death. The ­story he tells is a complex one of an almost tyrannically ambitious artist who broke racial barriers through a delicate and treacherous combination of will and accommodation.

via www.nytimes.com

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