She appears on, and in, a surprising number of books. The latest, which was just released and is set to be one of the big books of the summer, is Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone. The striking photo on the cover depicts Louise Brooks, the silent film star. Brooks (1906 – 1985) is also a supporting character in Moriarty’s finely told novel.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said there were no second acts in American life. Brooks is an exception. Back in the 1920s, at the height of her fame, Brooks was somewhat popular but never a top-ranked star. By the mid-1930s, when her career bottomed-out, she fell into an obscurity which lasted decades. Only since the 1970s has her celebrity reemerged and grown from small cult following to near mainstream recognition. Those that do not recognize her name almost certainly know her look.

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