Rate this book

American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, The Birth Of The "It" Girl And The Crime Of The Century (2008)

by Paula Uruburu(Favorite Author)
3.67 of 5 Votes: 1
1594489939 (ISBN13: 9781594489938)
Riverhead Hardcover
review 1: My goodness, what a seriously tragic tale. Born into a rather ordinary Victorian family, her world was rocked when her father died when she was ten or eleven (her age was always in question, as her mother rarely gave out her true age), leaving her mother, her brother, and herself in dire financial straits. Finally, one fateful day in Philadelphia, a stranger asked her to model for her -- and there began her slow slide into notoriety.While Evelyn's modeling career started off innocently enough, it is clear from her later portraits and photographs that she was being asked to reveal far more than a young teenager should be. It boggles my mind that Mrs. Nesbit would stand by and allow her daughter to be used in such a way, but then I suppose she was blinded by the almighty ... moredollar. After becoming quite a success in New York, Evelyn attracts the notice of Stanford White, a man who eventually rapes her and holds her in thrall as his mistress. When later she finally caves into Harry Thaw's insistent marriage proposals and confesses what White had done to her when she was just 16, Thaw becomes enraged and murders White in cold blood, and in public. The thing that really gets me about this whole story is how absolutely unfair it all is. Evelyn Nesbit didn't ask to be born beautiful. She didn't ask for a mother who turned a blind eye to what some of her male photographers and artists were asking her to do. She didn't ask for Stanford White, whom she saw as a second father (her own having passed away several years before), to groom her and take advantage of his position with her in order to rape and deflower her. She didn't ask for the responsibility of White's murder to be thrust upon her shoulders, even though it was the act of a man driven mad by pathological jealousy. And from my modern point of view, it is absolutely INSANE that the court of opinion would hold Evelyn Nesbit, a young, fairly innocent girl in her mid to late teens, and up to her early twenties, as responsible for any of it. She had no one looking out for her best interest, and she had her childhood horrifically ripped away from her. And yet, by all accounts, she was just one of many whom these men preyed upon. Because of their wealth and their standing in society, they were above the law, and no one would dare attempt to punish them.But as far as this book goes, I wanted to like it more than I did. Uruburu does an excellent job showing us who Evelyn Nesbit is, and included quite a few gorgeous photos of her from the era with an excellent description of how dissipated the era actually was. But by the time Thaw murders White, I had already grown rather tired of the story, and the chapters devoted to the trial just dragged on a little too long.
review 2: i enjoyed this book, in part because it's an interesting story and in part because i happen to live in a building designed by stanford white located in the neighborhood where much of the book takes place. but there's also something a bit sloppy about the historical rigor. uruburu writes as if she was in the room with the characters when the action happened, which makes it an easy read but also raised my suspicions. she had a few memoirs to go on, which could have helped her cause in this regard, but autobiographies aren't exactly the best primary source documents for saying what really happened. still, an engrossing read about an interesting time in american history. less
Reviews (see all)
very informative, Evelyn Nesbit turned out not to be the person I imagined her to be at all
Amazing. I am sad the book is over because it was so compelling.
Not as interesting as I'd hoped it would be.
Write review
Review will shown on site after approval.
(Review will shown on site after approval)