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Steps in Time
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Steps in Time

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  378 ratings  ·  40 reviews
With Steps in Time dancer, choreographer, and movie star Fred Astaire (1899-1987) discusses the milestones of his professional life: his childhood in the vaudeville circuits; the musical comedies starring himself and sister Adele in New York and London; his movie successes; the founding of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios; and his triumphs on TV. He pays special attention to ...more
Paperback, First Cooper Square Press edition, 368 pages
Published July 25th 2000 by Cooper Square Publishers (first published 1959)
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138th out of 243 books — 70 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,054)
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Marci
Since I was in high school, I have never tired of watching Fred Astaire movies. I've seen them over and over through the years, and finally I decided to see what he said about his movies and his life. It is easy to "hear" the voice of Fred Astaire in this book, and it is consistent all the way through. He is an affable person, not given to negatively criticizing anyone else. There are a lot of interesting anecdotes in the book, and some description of dances from the films, but curiously, you fi ...more
Brittany Petruzzi
Quite the enjoyable read. He write as if he were sitting in your living room telling you his life story over drinks and cigarettes. It also made me want to pause reading and watch each film as he mentioned them.

Now to sign up for ballroom classes...
Melissa
Through this autobiography, I learned that Fred Astaire has always been a very positive, agreeable person. He's very generous in telling us funny stories and details about all of his works. You can learn a lot by what he say too. Giving paragraphs to Leslie Caron, Bing Crosby, and others makes his one sentence about working with Gene Kelly quite a statement.
Alison
As a huge Astaire fan I thought this was a really interesting and enjoyable read
Christopher Walker
Astaire by Astaire. Good insight into his early years on the stage.
Patrick
Fred Astaire was an amazing dancer and a fine singer and actor. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of his skill as a writer. Astaire has no interest in telling a compelling story, or in revealing any deep emotions about his life - what you get is "this happened, and then that happened." But I found it interesting for the details of life in vaudeville and musical theater before the talkies came in and mostly swept those branches of show business away.
Rondapesh
I am a fan but this was a tough read because he names so many places and people in his career that are in no way knowable to the reader. Seeing that it was written in the 1950's makes more sense; his readers may have known vaudeville acts. Anyway, his life was fascinating and all-in-all, I enjoyed it.
Briana
Overall a good time but nothing spectacular, granted Fred Astaire does say from the beginning that he's not a writer. I picked this up at my local book sale on the cheap because I grew up watching Astaire's movies on tv. I do respect that he never revealed any damaging secrets about his costars in later editions and how he acknowledges his own reputation as a massive worrier and task-master. It reads like how your grandparents would tell you stories, which provides some comfort but also can get ...more
Linda
I love the Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers movies especially Swing Time. She was his best partner in my mind. I've read her autobiography and his, these were complex driven people. I get the idea throughout Steps In Time that Astaire never fully opens up, he always holds something back unlike much of his dancing. Keeping parts of your life private are great unless you're writing an autobiography. By the time this finishes, I don't feel like I know him. The pictures are amazing and the movies he left ...more
Nikki Golden
Although I love and adore Fred Astaire, I think he would have been better served having someone else write this. I did learn a lot about his early life, pre-film, but there was a lot of details left out. He touched on how hard it was to do the dance sequences, but I would have liked more info there, and although you learn his first wife Phyllis has headaches and surgery for them, he never actually tells you what she was diagnosed with and died from.

All in all, though, a quick read. Oh, and it wa
...more
Lance White
One of the best books I have ever read regarding therapy.
Winter Rose
A Journey Through His Artistic Life!
Jackie
I love Fred Astaire and I really wanted to find out more about how he thought and considered his career. This is a nice little book, but he is not a writer. I think he was aware of that and takes it all in stride. This read more of a Who's Who in the life of Fred Astaire more than anything. He approached life matter-of-factly and is most politically correct in his passages regarding others he's worked with. But I never got a feel for the "passion" of the man. Maybe there was none... Still... I L ...more
Lp
I read this book when I was a wee thing. At the time, I found it pretty boring! I was also distressed that Astaire seemed to be much more interested in horses than dancing, but then he ended up marrying a jockey, so I guess he ended up following his bliss, so good for him.

My kids are now very into Astaire movies, so I think I should read this again, but I remember it being a bit of a slog, so probably not! Probably better to leave the memoirs to the pros.

J.E. Raley
An autobiography of (in my opinion) one of the best dancers of all time. It was interesting though, that Fred talked a lot about his movies and the people he worked with but glossed over the personal, both good and bad. Still, what a wonderful life he lead and what a seemingly pleasing person he was! Now I want to go get all of his films and watch them all over again to just marvel at his work.
B
Though it doesn't necessarily offer any extra juicy details about his movie career, what Fred Astaire managed to do through this book is get across his personality. The simple, yet perfectionist, song and dance man.

This is a pretty straight-forwards retelling of a life of an extraordinary performer and entertainer, who doesn't really see himself as extraordinary. In his words, he just danced.
Liz
This was an interesting autobiography about Fred Astaire. I just recently got into watching his movies so I wanted to learn more about him. Sounds like a really neat guy.
Jamie
I really enjoyed this book. Fred Astaire lead a fascinating life and you can tell that Fred Astaire actually wrote the book himself, unlike most autobiographies.

(Note - I read a different edition of this book. It was an extremely old edition, complete with wonderful pictures from his life and movies. I am not sure if this newer, paperback version includes the pictures.)
Charles
Astaire starts by freely admitting he is not a writer. But having said that the book is well written and I enjoyed many of the anecdotes. A lot of it is written very matter-of-factly and could come across as lacking feeling, however, I've found that feeling does come across but in the things that are not said rather than the things that are.

All in all, a very interesting read.
Rachel
Anyone who loves Fred Astaire will love this. But a few side notes: he is better at dancing than writing and the book is a straight chronology. I had to slog through the first few chapters before I started getting into it. He may or may not have been a genius dancer and entertainer, but what this book puts into perspective is that he worked his whole life at it!
Amy Wolf
A wonderful bio of the immortal Fred Astaire. Follows him from his dance studio beginnings, to his time on Broadway & the West End at the turn of the century, all the way through his steller film career. Astaire comes off like a gentleman & a perfectionist. A must-read for those who love his work!
Kim
Fred was a legendary dancer, but a great writer he was not. This book was not as interesting as it could have been. Fred was obviously hesitant to speak his mind about certain people/projects, so he made it sound like every person he met and every movie he made was delightful.
Sherwood Smith
I only read this once, while I was waiting out a rainstorm, when I ducked into a little library annex at the American Embassy in Vienna, in 1972. It was a slim little book, gracefully written but not very forthcoming--just as one would expect from Astaire.
Nick Platt
After reading the book about Frank Sinatra, I was expecting another great book about an interesting person. This book just feel short. I felt like I was reading a history book. Boring. Not worth reading.
Monica
I love Fred, but it was a bit boring at times. I think this mainly because of his writing style.
Rachel
(I actually read a hard cover version from the library.) Fred Astair was a remarkable talent. I love to watch his dancing. I was impressed by his hard work and always wanting to improve himself.
Ashley
Fred Astaire is not the best writer, but his life was fascinating. His writing style reminds me of my grandmother for some reason. Maybe it's because he puts everything in quotes?
Katharine
This is a good book but my only criticism would be that he talks about his racehorses more than he does about Ginger which is what I presume most people are
More interested in.
Stephanie
I'll put this on hold to read later. It seems more like "trapped in the house/winter reading." It's interesting, just not interested to keep me that interested.
Dee Dunckley
He claimed he wrote every word himself, no ghostwriter and minimal editing and I believe him. But boy, could he dance.
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