By Rachel Shteir
240 pages; Yale University Press
"Think of her as the Dorothy Parker of undressing," writes culture historian Rachel Shteir of Gypsy Rose Lee, the arch queen of self-revelation, in Gypsy: The Art of the Tease. The pseudosocialite in long white opera gloves peeled away pretensions, changing how Americans thought about striptease—less as a vice, more as "an ironic diversion." That her star rose during the economically catastrophic '30s was no accident: Her demure flirtation—as sly a construct as her breakaway gowns—was not only sexy but wickedly funny, a tonic for the worst of times.