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GEISHA: The Secret History of a Vanishing World, by Lesley Downer. London: Headline Books, 2000, 370 pp., 20 British pounds.

A common question asked about geisha is: Do they or don’t they? Their attraction seems balanced between artistic prowess and sex appeal, but just how often is the latter properly appreciated, when and by whom? This and many other questions regarding the geisha are satisfied in this remarkable history of the world of flowers and willows.

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