I had never bothered to purchase biographies on my idols before, and the reason was simple: being true spawn of the MySpace generation, I naively thought that all the information you could possibly want was out on the web someplace, so buying books would be just a foolish waste of money. My opinion changed, however, when I discovered this book.
I was browsing Amazon for Bowie-related merch and found this. The online excerpt was what grabbed me--its narration of the turmoil Bowie expressed around the last 'Ziggy' concert very much shocked and interested me. Someone was selling a used copy for two dollars--an offer even an utter cheapskate such as myself couldn't resist--and I ordered it.
Being a rabid David Bowie fanatic, I relished the author's inclusion of fact after fascinating fact. It must have taken at least several years to compile the information. Eye-opening anecdotes about virtually every phase in Bowie's life, including often-neglected ones such as his youth and beginning stabs at releasing music, make this a highly informative read. Sandford goes into great detail on Bowie's cocaine-induced mental breakdown in the mid-seventies, which included behaviors as bizarre as repeatedly tracing swastikas on a fog-covered window, and repeatedly acting out the plot of "Rosemary's Baby."
I'd recommend this to just about anyone interested in learning about the man behind the phenomenal Bowie albums; however, the book tends to go back and forth between time periods, and the author generously applies the 'miscellaneous facts' element, which may bore readers who are more interested in a cohesive, story-like outline of Bowie's history.
Oh, yeah--there are several pages' worth of photographs included, several of which were taken when he was a boy, which readers might find interesting. All in all, a very well-constructed biography that deserves an honored place on any rabid Bowie fanatic's bookshelf.