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Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,496 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
A joint biography of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford which follows their rivalry throughout their careers. They worked together once, in the film Whatever Happened To Baby Jane, but their real-life dislike of one another transcended even the antagonism depicted in the film.
Paperback, 482 pages
Published November 1st 1991 by Sphere (first published January 1st 1989)
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MollyRN My thoughts exactly. There must be some legal issue around it. The FX series is lifted straight from the pages of this book....word for word. Very…moreMy thoughts exactly. There must be some legal issue around it. The FX series is lifted straight from the pages of this book....word for word. Very strange that there is no credit given to this author.(less)
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Rating details
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Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vulgar, cruel, and without any redeeming social value. I enjoyed it immensely.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: august-2017
This book is bonkers!!!

I have a confession to make, my first time hearing the name Joan Crawford was from the movie Mommie Dearest. The campy and amazing movie based off of the (I believe) untrue accounts of child abuse levied against her by her daughter Christina Crawford. Because of that for years I didn't watch any of her movies but I finally came to my senses and have over the years slowly made my way through her catalog and I must admit I prefer her campy horror movies( I'm a terrible perso
Rachel Ramirez
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, owned
I love watching old Hollywood movies and learning about the actors and actresses that influence actors and actresses after them. Over the years, I have also grown to enjoy reading biographies of people that inspire me and that I find fascinating. The best biographies offer both juicy details and extensively researched facts, and this book is bursting at the seams with both. Even if you’re not typically interested in biographies and claim not to care about these two megastars, you will find yours ...more
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is required reading at the National Organization for Offensive Gay Stereotypes (along with my previously reviewed Get Happy), but I didn’t just read it to get the free caftan. I have been obsessed with old Hollywood biographies for a while now, and had heard from several trusted sources that this was one of the best. Now that I’ve read it, I couldn’t agree more. The best biographies offer both juicy details and extensively researched facts, and this book is bursting at the seams with b ...more
Samantha Glasser
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: movies, non-fiction
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were two of the biggest stars of their time, and their time lasted several decades. Each appeared in important movies and were staples of the golden age of Hollywood. Both worked for Warner Brothers for a time, made one (and a half) film(s) together, and both ended their careers in a series of cheap horror flicks. Perhaps it is because of these similarities that they seemed to have a rivalry, although they often ignored or denied its existence. This book examines th ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where to start.... This book definitely does not flatter either actress when it comes to their rise to stardom. Both are portrayed as scheming, conniving, unstrung harpies who seemingly spent most of their lives trying to outdo the other. At least that was the focus. Who knows how much of this is true and how much is fabrication and embellishment. Despite the mud slinging, this was a romp of a read and will be a winning companion to the new mini-series "Feud: Bette and Joan". I've read separate ...more
This book was an entertaining guilty pleasure and lots of fun to read. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford shall remain my two favorite old actresses, even though Joan stole Yul Brynner from me before I was born...and even though they were probably the meanest two women to come out of old Hollywood.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes,I really liked this book.I had no idea about a lot of the stuff that was in it.If you like this type of genre,and especially these 2 great movie starts,I would suggest you read it.
Stacy Fetters
“Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.”
― Joan Crawford

“When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch.”
― Bette Davis


This book has been on my radar for the longest time. Looking and looking for this book and the price was still out of this world. I finally gave in and ordered it from the library. Then I heard the show was coming out and was clued into to why it was taking so long for
Una Tiers
These are two mean chicks.
Drew Hoffman
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for insight into the artistry and skill of two of the biggest Hollywood legends to ever grace the movie screen, this book isn't for you. However, if you're looking for juicy personal details, outrageous quips, and a bitchy thrill ride of epic proportions, this book will knock your socks off! To wit:

"She has slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie." -Bette Davis

“Miss Davis was always partial to covering up her face in motion pictures. She called it ‘art.’ Others might ca
Lisa K
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok now I need to read “My Way of Life” by Joan and also BD’s exposé of Bette.
Joshua Wiles
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were legendary actresses. They've starred in dozens of classic films, from Mildred Pierce to All About Eve to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? However, in the decades since their death several things have overshadowed their careers: the feud between the two (which they always denied any knowledge of when asked), the behind the scenes havoc they created, the men they slept with and the affairs they had, and the horrible treatment their daughters accused them of.

Autumn Renae
I started this book with the general thought in mind that it would be full of rumors and lies abot the two stars, however, all of the facts and statements seemed rather accurate. Overall, the book itself was not bad, however, I feel it had a few major flaws.
1) The author barely acknowledged Joan's possible bisexuality. He simply said it wasn't very likely and moved on, but many accounts have stated that Joan was in fact bisexual and had multiple affairs with both men and women, including Marilyn
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wondrous, WONDROUS account of the lives and careers of these ladies. It's possible that some of the feelings depicted weren't precisely the way they are presented, but it's too much fun to discount any of it. It is gossipy, juicy, funny, catty... and also thorough. Fans of the stars will not be able to put it down and will laugh audibly at the remarks the ladies allegedly made through the years about each other.
Karen Jones
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining! I was hoping this book would be gossipy and full of stories of scandal and catty behavior, and it far exceeded my expectations. The author doesn't hold anything back, good or bad.
Abdi Nazemian
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is about the feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, which immediately makes it a classic. Now how about a sequel about Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland?
Elise Swenson
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is great!!!! Not since the "The Hollywood Vampyres" has there been such an epoch book. This is a must read for anyone who loves old movies. I only gave it 4 stars because it was too short.
Jaykumar Buddhdev
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, favorites
reading this book has been the event of the season for me, not just because I've been a fan of Ms Davis and even Ms Crawford, for that reason, or because of me being a fan of Old Hollywood and the grand dames of yore (although I have begun to feel something similar for the Bombay Film Industry and would now love to explore it as well), 'Bette and Joan' functioned as a medium to understand the lives and times of these legendary women, a pair who truly capture the allure of nostalgia, passion, and ...more
I like a few Bette Davis and Joan Crawford films and have seen a couple of documentaries on them, but I’ve never read books solely about either one before and this was a good one to delve into. It was quite a read!

From the humble beginnings of both stars, to their rise and triumphs in Hollywood to their less than stellar final years, this book pretty much covered it all. The hardships, the fame, the affairs, the marriages, and the feuds - I ate it all up. There’s a line in the book that I really
Sarah Tregear
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a love for the golden age of Hollywood that started when I was little and I used to watch films from 30’s and 40’s on rainy afternoons with my mum. I’ve read lots of books about the era but not really about Bette and Joan. I recently watched the brilliant adaptation of this book staring Jessica Lang and Susan Sarandon and it sparked my interest. The book covers far more than their feud and spans their entire lives. It’s taken me nearly a month to read because it’s so detailed. Read it, wa ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I would give this book a 3.5. It was written in about 1990 but was reissued this year. Probably after the TV series Feud. The author goes over the actresses lives and careers. One thing I dislike about biographies is the author gathers whatever data they want on the persons negative or positive. This one is mostly the negative points of each actress. I have heard over the years that both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford could be difficult and even downright nasty. This book is a "tell all" for Bett ...more
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, audio-book, own-it
My mother was a big fan of Bette Davis. She made me watch Bette Davis movies when I was growing up. I think she liked Joan Crawford, also. BUT, I don't recall being forced to watch Joan's movies.

My mother was also a big fan of celebrity gossip. She had both paperbacks of HOLLYWOOD BABYLON. (Which I inherited and still have).

The 20th anniversary of my mother's death was on April 16. I did listen to this book cause of her. She would've thought it was great.

I enjoyed it. It was probably a lot long
Elizabeth De'anne
Peek inside

Enjoyed it most for the peeks into the golden age of American cinema. If there truly was a 'fued' - it felt more like they resented the fact they admired one another so much and that is how it manifested itself throughout the years. Worth a read for the tiny insights and the perspective from two, very different but equally amazing, actresses. It was rather sad to read how they sorted out their separate ends.
JJ Wall
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't even know where to begin.

Long live these two QUEENS.
Daniel DeLappe
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book. Was there a feud? Maybe? If so it was a feud between a mean ass person and a passive aggressive psycho. The author was a bit of a bitch himself, but in saying that it worked. I will be reading some more on both of these ladies. The Shit they had to go through to get to the top is amazing. Was their an actual feud? I don't care. The story itself is great.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who: watch 'Feud,' like Hollywood and cinema history.
"'I have never been anywhere , all over the world, they haven't asked about Joan and me. I don't mind it. I find it interesting. But I have always wondered: what do people think they see in us together? After all, we had nothing in common.'"

Reading these sorts of historical stories always leave me feeling conflicted, because beneath the veneer of entertainment that comes with seeing just how bizarre our real world has been, there's a sad unpleasantness to the fact of it.

Sure, the subject matter
Olga Miret
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining, funny, full of memorable quotes, and an irresistible insider’s view of the Hollywood of the studio era. The original version of this book was published in 1989, but a newly revised version was published in 2017. It contains a couple of new chapters (including a fascinating one about the new cover picture and its story), and a number of pictures from a photo shoot that took place during the filming of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? I had never read the original but I am familiar wi ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Loved every second.
Kimberly Rahi
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud," is a classic, catty tale. You can't believe everything you hear... or everything you read for that matter. Therefore, the same can be said for this book. Take it with a grain of salt, laugh at the foolishness of "two old broads" and relish the trip back in time when actors and actresses of the silver screen were in a class all their own.

Bette and Joan were leading ladies of the 1940's; unstoppable, the world in their palms and they knew it. The thought of shari
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“It was Ernie Haller, who had photographed Bette Davis in Jezebel and Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind, who was solely responsible for the visuals in Mildred Pierce, said Crawford. "Ernie was at the rehearsals. And so was Mr. [Anton] de Grot, who did the sets. I recall seeing Ernie's copy of the script and it was filled with notations and diagrams. I asked him if these were for special lights and he said, 'No, they're for special shadows.' Now, that threw me. I was a little apprehensive. I was used to the look of Metro, where everything, including the war pictures, was filmed in blazing white lights. Even if a person was dying there was no darkness. But when I saw the rushes of Mildred Pierce I realized what Ernie was doing. The shadows and half-lights, the way the sets were lit, together with the unusual angles of the camera, added considerably to the psychology of my character and to the mood and psychology of the film. And that, my dear, is film noir." "Mildred” 0 likes
“The story told, true or fabled, was that Rock was back in the pool house, taking a shower, when the lights went out. Suddenly he felt the warm, naked body of Joan Crawford beside him. "Sssh, baby," she whispered, "close your eyes and pretend I'm Clark Gable.*4” 0 likes
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