Kate (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Following in the footsteps of several biographers, including A. Scott Berg, Garson Kanin, Barbara Leaming, and even Katharine Hepburn herself in Me: Stories of My Life (1991), William Mann produces a well-researched and carefully documented work that is a sensitive and thorough examination of the extremely complex personality of one of America’s most glamorous and talented film and stage stars. In Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, Mann takes readers through the ninety-six years of Hepburn’s life with great attention to the details not only of her public personality but also of the private person who so assiduously created and nurtured that public image.
Born in New England to a family with social aspirations, Katharine had to share the attention of her parents with five brothers and sisters. She was especially competitive with her older brother, Tom, who claimed the attention of her father, a physician specializing in venereal disease. Katharine might have turned to her mother, Kit, for attention had not Mrs. Hepburn been frequently away from home campaigning first for women’s suffrage and later for their right to birth control. Mann’s perspicuity in understanding the private aspect of Hepburn’s life is nowhere better demonstrated than in his emphasizing the importance of her experience as a young girl trying to gain her father’s attention and praise.
Her lifelong participation in demanding sports actually began...
(The entire section is 1798 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Booklist 102, no. 22 (August 1, 2006): 4.
Kirkus Reviews 74, no. 16 (August 15, 2006): 826.
Library Journal 131, no. 15 (September 15, 2006): 62.
The New York Times 156 (October 2, 2006): B1-B2.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 32 (August 14, 2006): 190-191.
The Spectator 302 (November 11, 2006): 57.
Variety 404, no. 10 (October 23, 2006): 39.
(The entire section is 29 words.)