The Root Recommends: 'Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters'

New biography dishes on the life and times of singer and movie star Ethel Waters.


In Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters, writer Donald Bogle examines the life of Ethel Waters, a legendary singer and actress who made a name for herself singing in Harlem nightclubs in the 1920s.

The blues singer is most remembered for her rendition of "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" and her Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress for her role in the film Pinky. If not for Waters, there wouldn't be a Diana Ross or Gladys Knight. Among the most interesting details in the book are revelations about her relationships with other black female stars of her time, including Josephine Baker and Lena Horne. For more information on Heat Wave, click here.

Previous recommendation: The Fab Five.

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