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Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century Hardcover – June 15, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (June 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006156284X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061562846
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Life outdoes movie melodrama in this raucous, intimate, dual biography of Hollywood's ultimate It Couple. As told by journalist Kashner (Sinatraland) and biographer Schoenberger (Dangerous Muse: The Life of Caroline Blackwood), the romance between the glittering Tinseltown diva and the sonorous, self-loathing Shakespearean reprises their co-starring movie roles: it has the passion of Cleopatra (the Vatican condemned their on-set adultery as erotic vagrancy), the riotous merriment of The Taming of the Shrew, the poisonous marital fights of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and a cast of thousands of paparazzi and shrieking fans. The well-researched narrative—the authors make good use of Burton's engaging love letters and diary entries—offers juicy details of his epic alcoholism and her towering tantrums, and is fascinated with the jewelry pieces, like the Taj Mahal diamond that Taylor famously extracted from Burton as tribute or penance. But from the binges and bling emerges a revealing portrait of the magnetic qualities—her vulgar warmth, his soulful virility—that glued the couple together. Here is that rare love story that holds one's interest beyond the wedding—and a reminder, after the thin gruel of Brangelina, of what a feast celebrity can be. Photos. (June 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Offering up "Brangelina" as the 21st century's lackluster answer to "Liz and Dick," critics likened the contemporary pair to I Love Lucy's Fred and Ethel Mertz. Those unfamiliar with "the brawling Burtons" will find juicy anecdotes in abundance here, but Furious Love rises above mere celebrity gossip by humanizing the mythic couple, taking readers deep into their A-list world of conspicuous consumption and private pain. Despite some repetitive, cliché-ridden prose, reviewers were still captivated by this powerful portrait of doomed love. Less successful, they noted, were the authors' attempts to connect Hollywood's emerging celebrity culture to the relationship, ceaselessly scrutinized by the tabloids. An "addictive page-turner" (Providence Journal), Furious Love is a behind-the-scenes tour of one of the most tempestuous romances of the 20th century.

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Customer Reviews

Furious Love is a biography about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
K. Michele
Extremely well written and detailed, the authors give a full picture of the lives, loves, and the celebrities of Taylor and Burton.
Samantha Glasser
I am about one third of the way through this book and find it a little too tedious.
Lynn D. Wright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Amy Leemon VINE VOICE on April 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Written with the cooperation of Elizabeth Taylor, who gave the authors 40 letters written by Richard Burton to her - including one she received a few days after his death - and his widow who gave them his diaries, this is probably the most realistic account of this couple that we are going to get. Elizabeth Taylor told the authors "I don't care what you write about me - as long as you honor Richard". Richard Burton does seem to be the most sympathetic character in this book.

After they met on the set of Cleopatra and fell in love, their lives were never the same. They sincerely loved each other but in the end, one of them was more destructive than good to the relationship. I ended feeling sorry for Richard Burton and thinking he would have been much happier wearing an old sweater and teaching at some university.

I'm glad I read the book. I now have a whole different view of an actor I've enjoyed for years.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By debra crosby on July 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up with a mother who was an avid film fan, and read Photoplay and Modern Screen magazines, enjoying the pictures alone until I was old enough to read the stories. I lived through the years of Le Scandale, as Richard Burton described his headline-grabbing affair with Elizabeth Taylor. My mother was horrified by their daring and, to many, immoral, hedonistic behavior and was appalled to read a quote by Ms. Taylor, asking "What are they saying about us now?" during the thick of things. However, I, as a young girl, couldn't get enough of the news of these two larger than life stars. I later grew into a movie fan myself and was constantly amazed by the talent that these two people possessed, as well as their propensiy for excess.

I therefore could not resist purchasing "Furious Love" and devouring it with a great deal of guilty pleasure. It is a book that is obviously sympathetic to Richard and Elizabeth, as they preferred to be called, and referred to themselves. They apparently hated "Liz & Dick," as they were called in the press, but seemed to understand that, under those names, they were a product and were also news. I enjoyed coming to see these two people as human beings, with all their faults.

It is the story of Burton, a frustrated writer and magnificent stage actor who made the uncomfortable transition to movies, where he guiltily enjoyed the money and fame that move brought him, and his insatiable love for Taylor, which he could not quench in spite of the guilt that also produced in him. He left his wife and children, caught up in a grand passion for the woman he was never able to forget.

Taylor and Burton lived life to its gaudy fullest, drinking and brawling their way around the world.
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71 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dickson VINE VOICE on April 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The scandal in the 1960s of the love affair and then marriage of Elizabeth Taylor, then the world's most famous movie star, and the great Welsh leading man Richard Burton, may have been the biggest celebrity story of the 20th century that didn't involve murder. The word "paparazzo" to mean a celebrity photographer was even coined in LA DOLCE VITA to describe the kinds of press agents Federico Fellini observed congregating around the two stars during their courtship in Rome on the set of CLEOPATRA, and for the next fifteen years their relationship was inescapably in the public eye, often crowding off the front page the great political events of the period. This new account of this relationship--in many ways a biography of both stars--is supplied by unprecedented access to Burton's diaries and private writings, and by the express consent of Ms. Taylor herself and also Burton's widow Sally; this is probably as close to the full story as we'll ever get to this famous marriage until after Elizabeth Taylor's death.

Even so, she seems to have allowed Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger pretty full much full rein in writing whatever they wanted about her and Burton, and though the authors seem (justifiably) taken with the Burtons' prodigious talents and their charisma, they also do not stint in describing their selfishness, excess, and even at times their cruelty towards one another and (particularly in Richard Burton's case) towards others outside their circle. Burton and Taylor took great pleasure on as living as largely as they could, and their incredible profligate spending, drinking, eating, and sex was not only reported constantly but was very much the basis for their relationship: they both loved such glamorous excessive gestures.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By SusieQ on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had a hard time rating FURIOUS LOVE (and almost as difficult a time finishing it), for two reasons. The first reason is, I've read all this before. Burton's rise from nothing - his constant philandering - the overwhelming pull of his love for Elizabeth Taylor - being torn between 'serious' work in the theatre or the quicker buck of the film world; the gradual fall into alcoholism and career doldrums. Taylor's early screen successes - her (generally unsuccessful, with the exception of Mike Todd) search for happiness in her first four marriages; the extravagance and mutual excesses of her life with Richard Burton which would eventually bring the lives together to an end. It's been written before. (And better, in some instances - especially with regard to Richard Burton. Read Melvyn Bragg's life of Richard Burton for a better book about his life.)

The second reason I had difficulty finishing the book -(which somewhat impinges on reason #1)- is this: for the umpteenth re-telling of the love affair and marriage of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to be *really* irresistible reading, the writing had better be crisp and the re-telling of the facts revelatory and fresh. Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger are, at best, pedestrian authors. Maybe it's something to do with the dual authorship, but the writing is lackluster. It's a cut above a tell-all, but only just (it maintains a respectful tone, probably due to the cooperation of Elizabeth Taylor and Sally Hay Burton with the authors). But, disappointingly, for a book about a "furious" love affair, the writing has no panache, no eloquence. Worse, despite Ms. Taylor's cooperation in sharing her thoughts, and Richard Burton's letters to her with the authors, the book has no poignancy.

Too bad Ms.
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