Stephen Bourne

stephen bourne

Ethel Waters - Stormy Weather

Scarecrow Press (2007)

Ethel Waters overcame a disadvantaged childhood to become the most famous African American actress, singer, and entertainer of her time. Stephen Bourne documents the career of this monumental figure in American popular culture, offering new insights into the work of this legend. This biography leaves little doubt as to why, for decades, no other black star was held in such affectionate high regard.

" Stephen Bourne packs a lot into his life of Ethel Waters. In particular, he wastes no opportunity to back up his claim that she was the most influential female jazz or blues singer of the 1920s and 30s. Bourne doesn’t gloss over her difficult, sometimes truculent personality, nor her lesbianism, nor does he omit the latter years when she became a star of the Billy Graham circuit. Indeed, the book is a model of balance…his skill as a biographer has grown since his little book on Adelaide Hall, via a bigger one on Elisabeth Welch to this full-scale life. I await his next book with interest because Bourne has the makings of this country’s leading biographer of African-American singers."(Alyn Shipton, Jazzwise)

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