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The Sewing Circle: Hollywood's Greatest Secret - Female Stars Who Loved Other Women
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The Sewing Circle: Hollywood's Greatest Secret - Female Stars Who Loved Other Women

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Documents the double life of "The Sewing Circle," a group of lesbians and bisexuals that included such famous figures as Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Tallulah Bankhead, Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy and Agnes Moorehead. By the author of Stanwyck.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 20th 1996 by Citadel Press (first published 1995)
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While I love the glamor, privilege, and intrigue of old Hollywood, this book didn't quite do it for me. I understand that, due to the nature of these relationships, there wouldn't be a huge record, but there has to be more evidence than what Madsen provided. Where are the sources? I thought a book like this would be chock-full of research on interviews (even if they were told second-hand), correspondence, and interesting footers, but there was none of that. And if there weren't any sources, addr ...more
I don't know why people cite **this** book as THE one that outs Judy Garland, Barbara Stanwyck, Crawford, Kate Hepburn and a host of other Hollywood actresses as lesbians or bisexual. The reporting is flimsy, without foundation (no actual observations by anyone just speculation based on what? Okay Stanwyck shared a hotel room with her female manager once when a hotel was full. . yeah okay THAT makes her gay). The chapters on Stanwyck and Garland are filled with fluff about other stuff. I'm not a ...more
The Sapphic liaison: Women who loved women during 20s/30s Hollywood.

This is a highly readable book, and the author has way with words when she describes feminists of 1920s Hollywood who were redefining sexuality and relationships. This work is based on earlier publications about Hollywood lesbians, and many paragraphs and sentences look awfully similar to “The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood” by Diana McLellan, which was published in 2013. It appears that this book may have been a source for ma
I liked the idea, but the editing was terrible ("Greta" was spelled "Great" as the first word of chapter 3) and the writing style sounded like a gossip column. Too much name-dropping, unsupported allegations, and slang. I didn't finish it.
Nov 27, 2007 Graceann rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: books-i-hated
Terrible book - apparently it's entertaining to label actresses as lesbians (not that being gay is a bad thing, but come on) based on ridiculously flimsy evidence and innuendo. Stupid waste of time and paper.
This book is like if there had been celebrity gossip blogs in the 1930s and 1940s.
For many reasons, different from what you might suspect, I found this a very interesting book. I enjoyed the workings of Studio Hollywood, the backstage, technical, productive end of getting a picture together, the sorts of things that producers thought would or wouldn't work and the names, big literary names, who wrote the screenplays or adapted other works for the screen.

The chapters that dealt with the HUAC inquisition of Hollywood 'leftists' during the Cold War years after WWII was intriguin
Douglas Gibson
Fun for its gossip value, and some great quotes, but poorly written and all over the place. I was disappointing.
Harry Casey
pretty trashy expose of Hollywood lesbians. Not sure what to believe.
Kind of a sleazy book about lesbian and bisexual actresses in Hollywood from the 1920s into the 1950s. Madsen takes a faux academic style and stance which only adds to the lurid bits. All the usual suspects are written about here: Garbo, Deitrich, Stanwyck, Hepburn, Bankhead etc etc.
May 06, 2013 Lindsay rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: own
I'm officially proclaiming this one unreadable and moving on. Got to page 154 of 216. I love a good name drop as much as the next pretentious twit, but this book dispenses with all else, including paragraph transitions and grammatically sensical sentence construction.
Apr 11, 2008 Ecaterina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: To anyone that is interested in Hollywood and Lesbians.
This is a wonderful book. Is amazing, how popular lesbianism was in the past; most of the silent film actresses, where eager to have, some–sort of sexual contact with other woman. A true book about Hollywood's history.
interesting gossip-y read. not too sure how reliable all the information is, probably some true, some not, some exaggerated, but kind of a fun book to read
So disappointing...Golden Age film actresses and the women they loved. How can you make this boring? Axel found a way...too bad. So promising.
Totally trashy and totally fun, not to be taken seriously at all. I have never seen so many typos in one book.
Jean Marie Angelo
Not great writing, but the subject matter, well...., I love Hollywood glam and secrets of yesteryear.
I did not like this book. The writing was dull and disjointed.
great book - covers subjects thoroughly.
Dishy read about stars who also loved women.
Nancy L.
Slender proof, but still readable.
Mills College Library
791.43028 M1836 1995
Jan 22, 2010 A. marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Alex Arnes
Alex Arnes marked it as to-read
Dec 07, 2014
Zoë marked it as to-read
Nov 28, 2014
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