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Eva Peron: A Biography

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In this best-selling biography, French and Argentine journalist Alicia Dujovne Ortiz examines the mythology that surrounds Eva Peron as she penetrates the complexities behind Peron's ever-lasting allure. Born in 1919, the illegitimate daughter of destitute Argentine farmers, Eva Duarte spent her adolescence aspiring to the grand and glorious fame of the theater. At the fir In this best-selling biography, French and Argentine journalist Alicia Dujovne Ortiz examines the mythology that surrounds Eva Peron as she penetrates the complexities behind Peron's ever-lasting allure. Born in 1919, the illegitimate daughter of destitute Argentine farmers, Eva Duarte spent her adolescence aspiring to the grand and glorious fame of the theater. At the first opportunity, she fled the deprivation of her origins and the backwaters of her poor village for the glittering lights of Buenos Aires. However, because she lacked both formal training and talent to be an actress, Eva quickly realized that it would take many years of hardship for even a small chance at becoming the star of her generation. It was during this time of disillusion that Eva met Juan Peron. Abandoning her pursuit of stardom, Eva concentrated all of her efforts on helping the future dictator of Argentina ascend politically. Her theatrical ambition was substituted with the desire not only to launch her husband's career, but to remake herself as a figure of providence for the millions of impoverished workers of her country. With access to the newly declassified archives of the Peron government, Ortiz has uncovered new information, including connections between Juan Peron and the German Nazi party. Taking into account every source of information - many never available to any other previous biographer - Ortiz has tapped into dozens of personal testimonies, including that of Father Hernan Benitez, Eva's personal confessor, as well as Eva's own private memoirs.


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In this best-selling biography, French and Argentine journalist Alicia Dujovne Ortiz examines the mythology that surrounds Eva Peron as she penetrates the complexities behind Peron's ever-lasting allure. Born in 1919, the illegitimate daughter of destitute Argentine farmers, Eva Duarte spent her adolescence aspiring to the grand and glorious fame of the theater. At the fir In this best-selling biography, French and Argentine journalist Alicia Dujovne Ortiz examines the mythology that surrounds Eva Peron as she penetrates the complexities behind Peron's ever-lasting allure. Born in 1919, the illegitimate daughter of destitute Argentine farmers, Eva Duarte spent her adolescence aspiring to the grand and glorious fame of the theater. At the first opportunity, she fled the deprivation of her origins and the backwaters of her poor village for the glittering lights of Buenos Aires. However, because she lacked both formal training and talent to be an actress, Eva quickly realized that it would take many years of hardship for even a small chance at becoming the star of her generation. It was during this time of disillusion that Eva met Juan Peron. Abandoning her pursuit of stardom, Eva concentrated all of her efforts on helping the future dictator of Argentina ascend politically. Her theatrical ambition was substituted with the desire not only to launch her husband's career, but to remake herself as a figure of providence for the millions of impoverished workers of her country. With access to the newly declassified archives of the Peron government, Ortiz has uncovered new information, including connections between Juan Peron and the German Nazi party. Taking into account every source of information - many never available to any other previous biographer - Ortiz has tapped into dozens of personal testimonies, including that of Father Hernan Benitez, Eva's personal confessor, as well as Eva's own private memoirs.

30 review for Eva Peron: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    I don't know why but I just couldn't get interested in this biography of a fascinating subject. Eva Peron was a saint to her people, especially the poor but basically started her life as a prostitute. She was married to one of the strong men dictators of South America. That should make for one interesting book......maybe it is but it did not resonate with me. Part of the problem might be that it is a translation which led to some pretty awkward sentences and grammar. The author seemed to be more I don't know why but I just couldn't get interested in this biography of a fascinating subject. Eva Peron was a saint to her people, especially the poor but basically started her life as a prostitute. She was married to one of the strong men dictators of South America. That should make for one interesting book......maybe it is but it did not resonate with me. Part of the problem might be that it is a translation which led to some pretty awkward sentences and grammar. The author seemed to be more interested in Evita's good looks and beautiful fashion sense than the government machinations in which she and her husband were involved. I really wanted to like it but it didn't quite make the grade.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    The translation is dicey, and the author is not exactly objective, but it's still a fascinating read. The translation is dicey, and the author is not exactly objective, but it's still a fascinating read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    This is one of the worst biographies I have ever read. It reads like a gossip rag for the majority of the book. The author doesn't care to separate fact from fiction and frequently mentions multiple versions of the same event without clarifying which is accurate. The author even suggests a few times that the fictional account is more accurate of the feeling at the time (my interpretation). The final, third, section of the book is the most interesting but it's not enough for me to recommend this This is one of the worst biographies I have ever read. It reads like a gossip rag for the majority of the book. The author doesn't care to separate fact from fiction and frequently mentions multiple versions of the same event without clarifying which is accurate. The author even suggests a few times that the fictional account is more accurate of the feeling at the time (my interpretation). The final, third, section of the book is the most interesting but it's not enough for me to recommend this book. Eva Peron is a fascinating subject. Agree or disagree with her choices, she made her place in history. I wish this biography had done her justice. I struggled to finish reading it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I bailed after a third of the way through. it was more Peron and the political scene rather than Eva...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melina Martin

    Not a bad biography, overall. However, the book was marred by a clumsy translation- sometimes sentences were structured in a manner which made no sense, sometimes words were misused, sometimes spanish phrases were left undeciphered. I would have preferred more description of Evita's actions, and less of her appearance. And for the author to stop describing Peron as 'virile'. And for less nonsense about Nazi gold. Still- glad I read it. Not a bad biography, overall. However, the book was marred by a clumsy translation- sometimes sentences were structured in a manner which made no sense, sometimes words were misused, sometimes spanish phrases were left undeciphered. I would have preferred more description of Evita's actions, and less of her appearance. And for the author to stop describing Peron as 'virile'. And for less nonsense about Nazi gold. Still- glad I read it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    Eva Peron is a fascinating biography. The former first lady of Argentina is revered much like Princess Diana of England is today. The masses love her. She came from very humble beginnings with a drive to achieve like no other. Born to an unwed mother and in poverty throughout her childhood, she had a true understanding of the needs of the people, and used all her resources to better their lives. Fiercely independent, she struck out on her own at age 15 to make it big in the city of Buenos Aires. Eva Peron is a fascinating biography. The former first lady of Argentina is revered much like Princess Diana of England is today. The masses love her. She came from very humble beginnings with a drive to achieve like no other. Born to an unwed mother and in poverty throughout her childhood, she had a true understanding of the needs of the people, and used all her resources to better their lives. Fiercely independent, she struck out on her own at age 15 to make it big in the city of Buenos Aires. Becoming a household name after becoming a famous radio actress, she met the infamous Colonel Juan Peron at a fund raiser and this led to the rest of the fairytale story of her life. Sadly cancer took her away at age 33, and thus became somewhat of a "saint" to those who revered her. This biography doesn't just paint a flowery, saintlike picture, but tells both the good and bad aspects of the personality that changed Argentina in the 1940's and early 1950's. Great reading!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Iris Whitaker

    It is impossible to make a book about Eva Peron boring, but Ortiz tries her best. This truly feels like reading a 300 page wikipedia article. As I read Shawn Fields's translation, I couldn't help but feel as if this book should have stayed with it's intended Argentinean audience. Not enough is done to explain necessary pragmatics to a new audience which causes for a disconnected reading experience. Ultimately, this biography lacks passion and any critical thought towards the incredibly divisive E It is impossible to make a book about Eva Peron boring, but Ortiz tries her best. This truly feels like reading a 300 page wikipedia article. As I read Shawn Fields's translation, I couldn't help but feel as if this book should have stayed with it's intended Argentinean audience. Not enough is done to explain necessary pragmatics to a new audience which causes for a disconnected reading experience. Ultimately, this biography lacks passion and any critical thought towards the incredibly divisive Evita. This may be useful if you need a book to reference on Eva and the Peronist period. However, saying this, I found the timeline to be disjointed and difficult to follow. Additionally, Ortiz rarely makes any attempt to explore just how Evita became such a martyed and despised person.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    After about five pages, I started telling myself to stop reading this book. For some reason, I finished it. I'm assuming that the problem is the translation. The language and style are florid. The sentence structure is tortured. I'm sure there are other books about Eva Peron that are easier to read. There is a lot of information in this book. If I had to do it again, I would not read it. After about five pages, I started telling myself to stop reading this book. For some reason, I finished it. I'm assuming that the problem is the translation. The language and style are florid. The sentence structure is tortured. I'm sure there are other books about Eva Peron that are easier to read. There is a lot of information in this book. If I had to do it again, I would not read it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessi

    I started this with little interest in the subject and quit a few chapters in with even less interest. Perhaps some other biographer would bring her to life, make her interesting or admirable, but not this one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paula Dembeck

    An excellent biography that has made use of several documents only recently released to the public. Eva Peron has always been an interesting character. Growing up in poverty and in an ambiguous family situation, she was determined from a young age to better herself and gain the respect of others. She boldly left home when she was young and worked hard at becoming an actress, although she did not have much talent and so was never very successful. Her complex and strange relationship with her husb An excellent biography that has made use of several documents only recently released to the public. Eva Peron has always been an interesting character. Growing up in poverty and in an ambiguous family situation, she was determined from a young age to better herself and gain the respect of others. She boldly left home when she was young and worked hard at becoming an actress, although she did not have much talent and so was never very successful. Her complex and strange relationship with her husband Juan Peron, the Argentinian dictator is explained. Publically she adored him, privately she displayed different emotions. Many of these details are now available from interviews that were completed with her closest associates. They also explain the motivation behind her many good works for the poor. The connections to the Nazis and details surrounding the millions of dollars in war loot that arrived in Argentina are also explained. The collusion of the Vatican and the famous "Rat Line" is also described. It is easy to see why South America became such a major destination for these scoundrels at the close of the war. Also of interest is the hype surrounding Eva Peron's death, the mysterious preparation of her body and the supposed location of her remains. An Interesting read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    I am fascinated by people who rise from poverty and defeat nearly impossible odds to make their mark on the world. Evita is a controversial figure, to be sure -- a fascist and a bit of a goose-stepper, but also intensely devoted to her country and its neediest members, even to the point of openly defying her country's ruling oligarchy. To her beloved poor, she constantly reinforced the idea that they had the _right_ to desire happy lives. And Evita's own story was testament to the power of desir I am fascinated by people who rise from poverty and defeat nearly impossible odds to make their mark on the world. Evita is a controversial figure, to be sure -- a fascist and a bit of a goose-stepper, but also intensely devoted to her country and its neediest members, even to the point of openly defying her country's ruling oligarchy. To her beloved poor, she constantly reinforced the idea that they had the _right_ to desire happy lives. And Evita's own story was testament to the power of desire. The translation here is at points completely bizarre -- I found myself going over several passages, trying to parse their meaning, before finally giving up and moving on. But the author nonetheless gives due consideration to both the "white myth" and the "black myth" of Evita -- she cuts through both the hagiographies and the criticisms to present a balanced view of this complex woman. I plan to read more about her in the future.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    The back cover says that this author "separates the myth of the saint from the myth of the power-hungry prostitute". However, I felt like Ortiz almost wholly endorsed the latter view (although in a fair way), until the last third, when she abruptly transitioned to Evita's charitable works. My biggest complaint was that while the personal parts of the biography were extremely detailed, perhaps too much - how could she know what Juan and Eva did in bed when they first started dating? - the broader The back cover says that this author "separates the myth of the saint from the myth of the power-hungry prostitute". However, I felt like Ortiz almost wholly endorsed the latter view (although in a fair way), until the last third, when she abruptly transitioned to Evita's charitable works. My biggest complaint was that while the personal parts of the biography were extremely detailed, perhaps too much - how could she know what Juan and Eva did in bed when they first started dating? - the broader parts of the story didn't make a lot of sense without some prior knowledge of Argentine history. If your knowledge of Latin American history is similar to my 10th grade World Cultures Class, 30-40 minutes on Wikipedia would be a good idea before starting this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Griffiths

    I found this book really interesting, but by the last third of the book my interest was beginning to wane and it was a real struggle to complete the book. What killed my interest? The way the author wrote, I found her style far too flowery. I was fascinated by the Peron's involvement in protecting Nazi's and its involvement with the church. I found some of the authors claims about the Peron's intimate life unlikely as I imagine these were not details that would have been shared and seem to be ba I found this book really interesting, but by the last third of the book my interest was beginning to wane and it was a real struggle to complete the book. What killed my interest? The way the author wrote, I found her style far too flowery. I was fascinated by the Peron's involvement in protecting Nazi's and its involvement with the church. I found some of the authors claims about the Peron's intimate life unlikely as I imagine these were not details that would have been shared and seem to be based on rumour and gossip, rather than fact.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ines

    It was ok. Honestly when I read this book long time ago I was shocked for so many things I didn´t knew or expected about the life and character of Eva Perón.The book portrayed her as an ambitious person with little true concern for her "descamisados" or a concern mostly based on passion and convenience than on truly consciousness of their condition. I have read various biographical articles which also highlight aspects of this. I wonder if anything different can be said about her. It was ok. Honestly when I read this book long time ago I was shocked for so many things I didn´t knew or expected about the life and character of Eva Perón.The book portrayed her as an ambitious person with little true concern for her "descamisados" or a concern mostly based on passion and convenience than on truly consciousness of their condition. I have read various biographical articles which also highlight aspects of this. I wonder if anything different can be said about her.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy Stoltman

    It was pretty good. The writing was pretty boring, but the subject was interesting as hell though. I wanted to read this because of the play Evita. Of course I wanted to know the real Eva Peron. I just couldn't figure out if she was happy with her life or not. But the part that really bothered me was what happened after she died. If it was true, It was very evil what happened. Desecrating a corpse. WTF is WRONG with people? It was pretty good. The writing was pretty boring, but the subject was interesting as hell though. I wanted to read this because of the play Evita. Of course I wanted to know the real Eva Peron. I just couldn't figure out if she was happy with her life or not. But the part that really bothered me was what happened after she died. If it was true, It was very evil what happened. Desecrating a corpse. WTF is WRONG with people?

  16. 4 out of 5

    genn

    this book is very detailed and specific. i like the random facts that i'm learning as i go about geography, argentina, words..... Also, the author does a good job of telling all of the possible versions of eva peron's life. An added benefit is the song don't cry for me argentina usually starts playing in my head whenever i pick up the book! this book is very detailed and specific. i like the random facts that i'm learning as i go about geography, argentina, words..... Also, the author does a good job of telling all of the possible versions of eva peron's life. An added benefit is the song don't cry for me argentina usually starts playing in my head whenever i pick up the book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marcella

    This book is a translation of the original Spanish publication. It does a decent job of keeping you engaged and wanting to know more about who Eva Peron was. The author also allows you to get to know Juan Peron and his politics. I am certain his wife's causes had much to do with cementing his enduring popularity and influence in Argentinian politics even though she died at such a young age. This book is a translation of the original Spanish publication. It does a decent job of keeping you engaged and wanting to know more about who Eva Peron was. The author also allows you to get to know Juan Peron and his politics. I am certain his wife's causes had much to do with cementing his enduring popularity and influence in Argentinian politics even though she died at such a young age.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Sweeney

    The translation is very poorly done and there's a lot of sidebar analysis done by the author who is not very impartial. She references her imprisoned father at one point although it's never fully clear whether he was imprisoned under Peronism. Despite these issues, I learned quite a bit about Argentine history, politics, etc. The translation is very poorly done and there's a lot of sidebar analysis done by the author who is not very impartial. She references her imprisoned father at one point although it's never fully clear whether he was imprisoned under Peronism. Despite these issues, I learned quite a bit about Argentine history, politics, etc.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Salvatore Leone

    This book is quite detailed but a lot of the details are ones I've never heard before, there is not a lot in the way of providing sources for the information, and that bothered me. I'll be looking for another bio of her. This book is quite detailed but a lot of the details are ones I've never heard before, there is not a lot in the way of providing sources for the information, and that bothered me. I'll be looking for another bio of her.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline J

    After having seen the musical and having been to Buenos Aires, I decided to find out the reality behind the legend/myth of Evita. This was very interesting, thorough and easy to read. It seemed quite balanced not deifying her nor villifying her.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    I naively expected to enjoy this based solely on the fact that I enjoyed the movie, Evita. It turns out her life was much more depressing when written in black & white. It also turns out that I did not enjoy her story nearly as much as I expected.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Suprenant

    Solid biography, my first on Evita. Ortiz does a good job of showing all the facets of her personality - psychotic desire to be loved included. She gets a bit caught up in lavishing attention on inconsequential characters, but a highly worthwhile read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    I usually love biographies but I was not impressed this book. It did not come off as well written. I am assuming that is based on the translation and not truly the fault of the original author. There were historical facts about Argentina and the time period but truly a dull read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    This English translation is unreadable. It's artless and very confused. Like talking to a historian who may have once knew all the details, but is now half-senile and recounting the story to you in an incoherent jumble. This English translation is unreadable. It's artless and very confused. Like talking to a historian who may have once knew all the details, but is now half-senile and recounting the story to you in an incoherent jumble.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    The author is so very descriptive. I'm looking forward to learning more about her. The author is so very descriptive. I'm looking forward to learning more about her.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Ellen

    A no holds barred look at the life of Evita, including theories that she slept her way to the top. I read it while in Buenose Aires, which made it all the more interesting.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Read this in 1998. I love the person Eva Peron - a woman leader for the people of Argentina.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Easy to read and interesting. I usually read fiction, but this is worth reading.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary Newcomb

    Eva Peron is a fascinating woman with a confusing personal history. This book did a good job of portraying that, against the backdrop of intriguing Argentina.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Whimsical

    Fascinating! She shattered the glass ceiling....A strong and driven woman...

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