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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth Taylor Revealed
In the book The Life of Elizabeth Taylor, Alexander Walker captures the extraordinary beauty's life in every way. Fans will absolutely love this book. It is a thorough in depth biography filled with more than 30 amazing photos of Elizabeth throughout the years.
It starts from the beginning of her life in London where her mother's strong willed attitude pushes...
Published on March 3, 2003 by Laura

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Love Liz, But Not This Book
First things first: I think Elizabeth Taylor was a wonderful woman. My dislike of this book has nothing to do with her or her life. I continue to be inspired by her ability to thrive, no matter the odds. What I'm not inspired by is this book. To me, Walker's writing is melodramatic and repetitive. In the first third of the book, I felt he tried too hard to shoehorn...
Published on June 30, 2011 by Jennifer Wiltz


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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth Taylor Revealed, March 3, 2003
By 
Laura (Allen Park, MI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Elizabeth: The Life of Elizabeth Taylor (Paperback)
In the book The Life of Elizabeth Taylor, Alexander Walker captures the extraordinary beauty's life in every way. Fans will absolutely love this book. It is a thorough in depth biography filled with more than 30 amazing photos of Elizabeth throughout the years.
It starts from the beginning of her life in London where her mother's strong willed attitude pushes Elizabeth forward. Alexander focuses on her success in many movies such as National Velvet, A Place in the Sun, and Cleopatra. The Oscar winning performance she gave in Butterfield 8 and the two academy awards that made her a legend are depicted.
Along with all the positive aspects of her life also came the long downfalls that have intrigued us over the years. Elizabeth's eight marriages are uncovered along with her conniving personality that broke apart other people's marriages. Her obsessions of jewelry, clothing, and sex are exposed. The truth behind her ongoing drug and alcohol abuse is revealed. Elizabeth's suicide attempt at age 29 along with the 73 total hospitalizations throughout her life is publicized. This book shows us the real Elizabeth outside of the glamour. The dramatic experiences with facing the public with the on going scandals and personal tragedies is drawn out for the readers.
This book gives a true insight in Elizabeth Taylor's life. From the high points to downfalls, her life is captured by Alexander Walker to its fullest. Elizabeth's life has been an often-tragic fairytale that people have followed throughout the past 50 years.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diamonds and divas, January 10, 2007
This review is from: Elizabeth: The Life of Elizabeth Taylor (Paperback)
Elizabeth Taylor is a hard person to biograph -- she's been awash on controversy since her teens, and became infamous for her luxe lifestyle and many husbands. So it's an especial credit to Alexander Walker's "Elizabeth," which manages to be fair without fawning.

Taylor was the daughter of American Anglophiles, who moved to Hollywood during WWII. Her mother Sarah (an ex-actress) managed to get her into films, and the rest is cinema history. She seamlessly made the transition from cute child star to teen idol -- right before marrying abusive hotel heir Nicky Hilton.

He was the first of several husbands -- crooner Eddie Fisher, her late soulmate Mike Todd, Brit actor Michael Wilding, a congressman, and most famously Welsh actor Richard Burton. And her tumultuous life was full of gems, health problems, love affairs, and high drama in all she did.

Alexander Walker seems to have a liking for beautiful, legendary actresses with personal problems, so it's inevitable that he would have written about Taylor. The difficult part is balancing her positive and negatives, without either fawning or dragging her through the mud.

And Walker does an excellent job -- Taylor is not a vixen or a harpy, nor is she an angel. Instead, he studies her personality, with its tendency to replace one love with another, as well as seeking a controlling personality to make her feel secure. Whether it's adultery or financial problems, he doesn't judge so much as lay out the facts so readers can judge for themselves.

Best of all, Walker puts a wealth of detail in here. There's plenty of information about her movies, including lesser-known ones like "Cynthia," and Walker describes scenes that mirror or reflect Taylor's talent in detail. He also frames her story with info about the audiences of the times. He even includes unedited, outraged letters sent in after Taylor got involved with Fisher.

"Elizabeth: The Life of Elizabeth Taylor" is perhaps the best, fairest and most thorough biography of this living legend. Walker definitely hit the mark with this one.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Luminous Liz!, April 15, 2003
This review is from: Elizabeth: The Life of Elizabeth Taylor (Paperback)
I was mesmerised by this book. Of course, one often takes biographies with a grain of salt, but I was most impressed with the way that Taylor handled her career like a man -- how she was able to go on despite the pressures of her situation. The love story between Burton and Taylor shines through, and I think I understand a little more about love, even though theirs was a tumultuous one. She is a role model for people in the performing arts who turn their attention toward great and needy causes, and I respect her immensely. Also, the photographs in this book illustrate the fact that Liz was -- and still is -- the most luminous raven-haired beauty in Hollywood. Long may she rule as the last star of Hollywood.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, January 11, 2007
This review is from: Elizabeth: The Life of Elizabeth Taylor (Paperback)
I think this is the classiest bio written about Elizabeth Taylor I really enjoy Alexander Walker as an author and biographer He presents Elizabeth's life as true to life as possible without resorting to foul language or any degrading comments about her life. His writing style will not offend anyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Love Liz, But Not This Book, June 30, 2011
This review is from: Elizabeth: The Life of Elizabeth Taylor (Paperback)
First things first: I think Elizabeth Taylor was a wonderful woman. My dislike of this book has nothing to do with her or her life. I continue to be inspired by her ability to thrive, no matter the odds. What I'm not inspired by is this book. To me, Walker's writing is melodramatic and repetitive. In the first third of the book, I felt he tried too hard to shoehorn her mother's experiences and influences into Liz's life as guiding principles. These influences are definitely worth mentioning; however, these chapters read as if Walker was proving a thesis, not chronicling the upbringing of one of the world's most intriguing women.

The whole book feels unbalanced, as if Walker is only really interested in Liz's life through the making of Cleopatra. He's very detailed about her experiences as a child, in early films, through her reaction to Mike Todd's tragic death. After that point, the coverage gets spotty. I knew a little about Elizabeth Taylor's life before reading this book, and that little bit told me that she and Richard Burton had an electrifying love affair that changed both of them forever. In this book, Walker gives Burton short shrift. I got the feeling Walker dislikes Burton. He duly notes how Burton and Liz got together, their movies made together, their travels together, and the circumstances leading up to their marriages and divorces. But it seems like some fundamental acceptance of their affair was missing, as if Walker never understood why they stayed together for so long or what Liz saw in him.

For example, Walker printed in full several angry letters Liz's movie studio received when viewers found out about her affair with Burton. He also mentions numerous gushing magazine interviews Liz and Burton gave about each other, describing their feelings for each other--yet he does not quote more than a line from any of them. To me, these interviews are far more relevant to understanding Elizabeth than angry letters written by people who didn't even know her. When Burton wrote a book ("no, hardly that, a short story, a mere twenty-four pages including pictures," writes Walker) about Elizabeth, Walker dismisses it: "It became the burden that many a journalist interviewing him had to bear--hearing him laud Elizabeth to the skies, but in a way that implied how high his own stock stood as a lover" (283). One of the great love stories of the century, dismissed.

Burton notwithstanding, there are more problems at the end of the book. My edition is a revised edition, a 1997 update to the original, published in 1990. (Amazon sells the original 1990 edition, as far as I can tell, so if you do buy this version, you won't have this issue.) In any case, in the 1997 edition, you get two more chapters detailing the Fortensky marriage, with a word-for-word repeat of the three concluding pages of the 1990 edition. Sloppy work by the publisher, revealing how little care was taken with the book in the first place.

Overall, this book was useful for giving me more information about Elizabeth and her life. Unfortunately, I felt it was biased and spotty in terms of coverage. I'm looking forward to reading other bios of Liz for a more rounded picture of this remarkable woman's life.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Just Not That Great, March 30, 2014
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Unfortunately I found this book very disappointing. The book is boring and often repetitive. I enjoyed the first half but after the death of Micael Todd it just became extremely boring. Nothing is explained about her relationship with Richard Burton and I ended up just skimming through the last quarter of the book. I have read many biographies and have never come across one written quite this way. I actually have a coffee table book (Liz The Pictorial Biography by Larissa Branin) which is far more interesting. For a VERY GOOD review of this book scroll down to Jennifer Wiltz who hits the nail on the head with what's wrong the book. There are far better biographies written about Liz.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, October 29, 2013
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This is a great coffee table book for those of us who remember the beautiful and talented Elizabeth. Full of beautiful photos from all stages of her life and films.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great buy!, July 1, 2013
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I would recommend buying used hardback books. This was a great deal, for a used book the condition was great. Price great.I would recommend this seller with a 5 star rateing. Thanks !
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile for Taylor fans, January 22, 2013
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R.L. (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
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The author for the most part strikes that fine balance between liking his subject but still being fair and realistic in his assessment of her.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars slow reading, December 26, 2012
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It is a little boring and not a page turner, however it does have facts and dates if one is interested in that sort of thing.
I have read better books on this subject.
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Elizabeth: The Life of Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth: The Life of Elizabeth Taylor by Alexander Walker (Paperback - July 10, 2001)
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