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Publisher's Summary

Inspired by the critically acclaimed Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?, an intimate and vivid look at the legendary life of Nina Simone, the classically trained pianist who evolved into a chart-topping chanteuse and committed civil rights activist.

From music journalist and former Spin and Vibe editor in chief Alan Light comes a biography of incandescent soul singer and black power icon Nina Simone, one of the most influential, provocative, and least understood artists of our time. Drawn from a trove of rare archival footage, audio recordings, and interviews (including Simone's remarkable private diaries), this nuanced examination of Nina Simone's life highlights her musical inventiveness and unwavering quest for equality while laying bare the personal demons that plagued her from the time of her Jim Crow childhood in North Carolina to her self-imposed exile in Liberia and Paris later in life.

Harnessing the singular voice of Miss Simone herself and incorporating candid reflections from those who knew her best, including her only daughter, Light brings us face to face with a legend, examining the very public persona and very private struggles of one of our greatest artists.

©2016 Alan Light (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Alan Light has written an electrifying, humane, and dimensional biography of one of my favorite artists in the entire world. I learned so much about a woman I admire, the woman whose fiery piano and voice is a powerful reminder of what artists are meant to do! What Happened, Miss Simone? captures how unique and real she was...." (Alicia Keys)
"A spellbinding portrait of a musical genius, a woman both ahead of her time and of it. In What Happened, Miss Simone?, Alan Light resurrects the High Priestess of Soul with profound sympathy and masterful storytelling." (Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, author of Mo' Meta Blues and Something to Food About)
"Nina Simone was an overwhelming artist, piano player, and singer - the kind of artist that I loved and admired." (Bob Dylan)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

I love the story an Adenrele Ojo is the best !!!!!

I love the story of nina simone well written, Adenrele Ojo is a excellent narrator..

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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all things about this book were fabulous

The honesty is jolting. The beautiful, talented, and gifted woman portrayed here is flawed and stunning. The author gives you a real look at a complex life lived. I loved Ms. Simone before this book . I absolutely adore her after experiencing this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating read

Fascinating read by a good narrator. I enjoyed learning more about Nina Simone. I was curious about her relationship with our former prime minister and I wish she could have been helped more with her emotional/mental health challenges.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Loved It!

This book moved me to create a playlist so I could refer to songs as Iistened. I've admired the persona of Ms. Simone through her song. I had no idea she endured as much as she had. She was incredibly blessed to have so many people who never stopped showing her love. Her daughter is a real champion in my eyes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very good account of Ms. Simon's life she was so

very gifted but she never received the love she needed
so she was not capable of giving love to her daughter
she was suffering and being abused her whole life.