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Marilyn: A Biography. Hardcover – Import, 1973

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap; 1st Printing edition (1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340181044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340181041
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 9.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,823,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By MsCindyBooks on June 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read this book many years ago. In fact, it was the first book on Marilyn Monroe, that I ever read. I've given it 5 stars because at the time of my reading it, I enjoyed it very much. Like other reviewers, I loved the photos and the general layout of the book, but I wouldn't say this is a reliable biography of Marilyn. In fact, much of the information in this book has been proven over the years to be nonfactual, or unsubstantiated, and of course controversial. Nevertheless, it's entertaining if you treat it as a fictional novel (based on fact) rather than a true full account. Even though it was entertaining and the photos are breathtaking, I can't recommend this book to the reader who is interested in a factual narrative of her life. If you're still keen, then get it for the photography and take the rest of it with a grain of salt - unless of course if you're able to swallow the conspiracy theories that Marilyn's death involved the FBI and CIA or believe that sleazy Slatzer guy was once her lover.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Scott Coblio on July 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Norman Mailer's "novel biography" of Marilyn Monroe remains a classic and--to my mind--one of the only "must have" bios on the star. Worth the price of admission for the gorgeous photos alone (most of them exclusive to this book and not to be seen elsewhere), it's just the most literary and artful examination of its subject yet to be found. Even today, with literally hundreds of books on Marilyn available (many of them beautifully illustrated and well-written), Mailer's prose--literary and poetic--leaves his competitors in the dust, their bios encyclopedic by comparison. What's different about Norman's approach is his attempt to get inside her mind, and to try and trace the problems that plagued her as an adult back to their origins in her childhood. He practically creates a language of his own for her psychic interior world that literally changed the way I think about speaking, writing and critical analysis. Some of his phrases are so striking that I remember them by heart. (Ex: "A void in one's sense of identity is equal to a mental swamp where insane growths begin.")

Indeed, his use of language is so artful that even when he wanders off on tangents or revels too much in his own lust for his subject, the spell never wavers. "Marilyn" remains compelling throughout.

The original, pre-Taschen edition featured photographs by many artists including Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, Andre de Dienes, Milton Greene, Sam Shaw and others. There is also a full-page shot of one of her nude calendar poses. I'm not sure whether it was the grade of paper they used, the printing dyes or what, but the printing quality of this book is the best I've ever seen.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Johnson on August 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have been re-reading Norman Mailer's Marilyn- his take on the life of the legendary screen star Marilyn Monroe at a time when I have just viewed the American Masters documentary on the musical career of the singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell. And although there is no obvious connection between the lives or the talents of the two women there is a tale of two generations hidden here. Marilyn represented for my parent's generation, the generation that survived the Great Depression and fought World War II, the epitome of blond glamour, sex and talent. To my more `sedate' generation long straight-haired blond Joni represented the introspective, searching quiet beauty that we sought to represent our longings for understanding of a seemingly baffling world that we had not made. As the this book and the Mitchell documentary points out however they `represented' our fantasies they also shared a common vulnerability attempting to be independent women in worlds dominated by men. Such is the life of the great creative talents.

Mailer traces Monroe rise from poverty, the struggle to find herself, through to the rocky and some times sleazy road to stardom. As always with Mailer one gets his take on what the symbol of Marilyn meant to my parents' generation, and, let us face it, especially men. His portrayal does not evoke his preferred hipster, beat personality but its counterpoint in the 1950's the heyday of Marilyn's fame. Mailer also goes through Marilyn various affairs with men particularly the doomed marriage to the playwright Arthur Miller. Finally he gives some very interesting details on the behind the scenes drama in the creation of many of her well-known films. Marilyn, while she was alive, never drew my eye for the reasons that Joni Mitchell did.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book contains some of the best and last images ever taken of Marilyn. There are also quiet a lot of pictures taking on various movie sets, mainly "The Misfits". As highly as i recommend this book for the photography alone, i can not totally endorse the written part by famous writer Norman Mailer. He borrows heavily here from another biography and touches on the theory that Marilyn was murdered..all without any proof. One get's the feeling that the text borrows also a lot from the Authors imagination rather than fact. I would ordinarily give this book 5 Stars for the pictures and the oversized format. Also..GREAT COVER!
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