Peter's latest book, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BETTY BOOP: THE 100-YEAR HISTORY OF AN ANIMATED ICON, will be released by Applause Books on November 15, 2023. It's now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.
Peter's previous book, CRAZY MAN, CRAZY: THE BILL HALEY STORY, which Peter co-wrote with Bill Haley Jr., was released by Backbeat Books in 2019. The new and revised edition of Peter's 1979 book THE STORY OF MOTOWN was released by Rare Bird Books in 2018. His previous book, SUPER FREAK: THE LIFE OF RICK JAMES, was released by Chicago Review Press in 2017. His book MARY WELLS: THE TUMULTUOUS LIFE OF MOTOWN'S FIRST SUPERSTAR, the first biography of Mary "My Guy" Wells ever written, was released in 2012, and his book THE LOST SUPREME: THE LIFE OF DREAMGIRL FLORENCE BALLARD was released in 2008.
Benjaminson was born in Washington, D.C., and was a reporter and City-County Bureau Chief for the DETROIT FREE PRESS from 1970-76. While at the Free Press, he wrote the book INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING, with David Anderson (Indiana University Press, 1976 and Iowa State University Press, 1990), the first how-to book in that field. It was in print for 20 years.
In 1979 he wrote THE STORY OF MOTOWN (New York: Grove Press), the first U.S. book ever written about the Motown Record Company. From 1979 to 1981 he was a reporter for the ATLANTA JOURNAL and the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. He taught journalism at Binghamton University, New York University, and Columbia University from 1981-91. In 1984, he wrote DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON: AMERICA'S NEWSPAPER GIANTS STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL (Andrews, McMeel) the first and only book ever written about the death of afternoon newspapers in America's big cities. In 1992, he wrote PUBLISH WITHOUT PERISHING (National Education Association and National Writers Union), and in 1997, SECRET POLICE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATION (Barricade Books).
From 1991-1994 he was the spokesman for the NYC Department of Investigation. He was Assistant Editor of THE CHIEF-LEADER newspaper in New York City from 1994-1998 and the spokesman for the NYC Correction Officers Benevolent Association from 1998-2003. In 2003 and 2009 he was the spokesman for Members for Change in NYC Teamsters Local 237.
He lives in New York City.
The Life and Times of Betty Boop: The 100-Year History of an Animated Icon
Although Amazon.com is now selling more than 3,000 commercial products bearing Betty Boop's image, including calendars, tote bags, coffee mugs, and books about how young women can be more like Betty, no one has ever published a book about Betty herself.
The first biography of a major American cultural symbol ever written, The Life and Times of Betty Boop describes Betty Boop's incredibly active romantic and family life as revealed in her numerous comic strips, comic books, cartoons, and movies since 1930.
Award-winning author Peter Benjaminson details the creation of Betty Boop, based on two African American female entertainers who were the human models for Betty's character. He explores the many alterations of Betty's appearance, attitudes, and behavior over the years. Benjaminson also reveals the stories of the women who provided her with a speaking and singing voice, along with the backgrounds, intentions, and careers of Betty's numerous creators and animators.
The Life and Times of Betty Boop indulges in the controversies surrounding the character, including her adventures with Felix the Cat (a four-year daily comic strip production).
Benjaminson illuminates social trends that have kept Betty popular for nearly a century, including her recent transition from a helpless sex object to a feminist icon and her massive popularity with young American women.
Crazy Man Crazy: The Life of Bill Haley2019
The Story of Motown (New and Revised Edition)2018
Super Freak: The Life of Rick James2017
Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown's First Superstar2012
The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard2008
Secret Police: Inside the New York City Department of Investigation1997
Publish Without Perishing1992
The Story of Motown1979
Awards and Recognition
- Peter won the Jim Andrews Communicator Award in 1984 for his book DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON: AMERICA'S NEWSPAPER GIANTS STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL.
- His book MARY WELLS: THE TUMULTUOUS LIFE OF MOTOWN'S FIRST SUPERSTAR, was greeted with a glowing full-page review on the front page of the book section of the WALL STREET JOURNAL, America's largest-circulation newspaper, on November 18, 2012.