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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The TV show Alcatraz recreated the "Bullitt" car chase
The story is fast paced and the author keeps you interested. I also read the bio by Marshall Terrill. Details in one book are just mentioned briefly in passing in the other one. If you are a Steve McQueen fan you probably will enjoy both. Both authors rely on others accounts and news articles in the past to tell their stories.

This book spends time detailing...
Published on November 21, 2011 by LD

versus
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rehashed trash and riddled with mistakes
Author Marc Eliot makes a lot of promises to readers that he offers "original material, rare photos and new interviews" but this is just a smokescreen for another "cut and paste" job. It's nothing more than a retread of other previous McQueen bios.

This offering is also riddled with mistakes, some of them pretty glaring. On page 6 he cites McQueen's birthplace...
Published on November 1, 2011 by Hamzy1973


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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rehashed trash and riddled with mistakes, November 1, 2011
By 
Hamzy1973 (Taos, New Mexico) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Steve McQueen: A Biography (Hardcover)
Author Marc Eliot makes a lot of promises to readers that he offers "original material, rare photos and new interviews" but this is just a smokescreen for another "cut and paste" job. It's nothing more than a retread of other previous McQueen bios.

This offering is also riddled with mistakes, some of them pretty glaring. On page 6 he cites McQueen's birthplace as Green Grove, Indiana. It's Beech Grove. On page 16 he writes the Boys Republic in Chino was founded by socialite Margaret Fowler. That honor goes to William George and his wife Esther Brewer. On page 21, Eliot declares McQueen was stationed at Camp Pendleton in the Marines. He couldn't be more off. McQueen was stationed almost 3,000 miles away in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. A famous mugshot of McQueen in the photo section says it was taken in 1966; the incident, which made national headlines, occurred in 1972. It's senseless mistakes like these that give the impression the author is out of touch with the subject matter and never left the confines of his home office to do research.

Eliot pads out the photo section with mostly publicity stills, lobby cards and movie posters and it's doubtful he interviewed more than a handful of people, some of whom have been interviewed countless times.

What's laughable is that Eliot insinuates in the author's notes that this is perhaps the definitive McQueen biography. This lazy, half-hearted attempt would have been the worst but Eliot is author Darwin Porter turned in a more putrid account.

Don't waste your time on this rehash trash.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I WAS HOME, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?, November 15, 2011
By 
Richard Masloski (New Windsor, New York USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Steve McQueen: A Biography (Hardcover)
I am half-way through the disturbing reading of "NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author" Marc Eliot's take on the life and career of Steve McQueen.

Why is this author a NY Times best-selling one? This is my first encounter with the work of Mr. Eliot - and so far this book seems to be a trimmed down retread of Marshall Terrill's vastly superior STEVE MCQUEEN: PORTRAIT OF AN AMERICAN REBEL. I understand Mr. Terrill came out recently with an updated version of his 1993 book. I wish I had purchased that instead of this book which is modelled on the skeleton of that better bio - except that this one has left off all the muscle and meat and so it never comes alive. Plus Terrill's book is by far the better illustrated.

As to this book, however. I can't stand when too many authors nowadays slap a book together, rush it through lazy proof-readers who - if they even exist - aren't worth spit, and then just sit back on their prior credentials and start counting the dough. Others in their reviews here on Amazon have pointed out some of the many errors in this hack job. Here are a few to add to that list:

On page 128, in his synopsis of SOLDIER IN THE RAIN, Eliot claims Jackie Gleason's character is killed in a bar-room brawl. He isn't.

On page 163 Eliot comes down fairly hard on the inaccuracies "in both time and place" in THE SAND PEBBLES, claiming that the movie plays "fast and lose with the facts." (Actually, the charge Eliot levels at this film apply quite spectacularly to his own negligence when it comes to facts!) "The movie takes place ten years earlier than the novel," says Eliot. "The book version of THE SAND PEBBLES is set in 1926," he further contends. The trouble is this: BOTH the movie and novel take place in 1926!!! Our un-astute historian goes on to argue about the only battle between the U.S. Navy and Asians as having taken place in 1937 and it was actually between Americans and Japanese - and he goes on to try to explain why the film switched the nationality of the attackers and....the point is he incorrectly and overly attempts to explain things that are not germaine to either the book or the movie and misses one major point that has its source within the film. Richard Crenna's Captain Collins (which, contrary to Eliot's pointless point, does NOT owe much to Bogart's Capt. Queeg in THE CAINE MUTINY) explains that history only becomes viable "when it goes down on paper." In refering to the earlier that day almost-mutiny aboard San Pablo he says "What happened today has not gone down on paper yet. It is not history until it goes down on paper." Enough said here.

Page 163 again: It is San Pablo and NOT San Pueblo as Eliot writes it twice. And where he gets the notion that the San Pablo - er, in his take San Peublo - is "known to the Chinese as the 'Sand Pebbles'" is completely beyond me. Richard Attenborough's character explains early on that it is the sailors who are, indeed, the Sand Pebbles.

Page 164: Eliot writes that "Holman's final words are 'I was home, how did this happen?'" Thank God Eliot didn't write the movie script! The actual last words of the mortally wounded McQueen as Jake Holman are "I was home. What happened? What the hell happened?"

Page 243-244: In the space of one long, stinking-to-high-heaven-with-factual-flatulence paragraph our flimsy author completely manages to mangle the story of the genesis of Sam Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH. There is not one fact in the twisted nonsense Eliot offers us about this matter that is correct. And what makes this especially egregious is that listed in Eliot's sources is David Weddle's outstanding biography of "Bloody" Sam entitled IF THEY MOVE...KILL 'EM! (Weddle's book, by-the-way, is an excellent example of how all biographies of film stars and filmmakers should be written.) If Eliot truly used Weddle's book as reference...how could he have gotten the story of how THE WILD BUNCH came to be so shamefully wrong? One is left with the obvious conclusion that Eliot did NOT even read his source materials - or if he did then he skim-read or was incapacitated in some way. One can only guess in what way. Suffice it to say, contrary to Eliot's Alice in Wonderland account of things, THE WILD BUNCH never began as THE DIAMOND STORY! I could not make this stuff up if I tried.

I am sure I will encounter more lazy writing as I complete my reading - but add the above to what others have mentioned in their own reviews and the point is this: how can we trust our esteemed, New York Times bestselling author if he cannot make certain of the things he is writing about BEFORE the book goes to press and sits on shelves waiting to be purchased??? Is it so much to ask??? With regards to Holman's last words alone, would it have broken Eliot's fingers to pop a DVD of the movie in to make certain of what those last words were before he writes them and they become history when finally published? Can't he read the opening title card of the same film and read that it clearly states the film is set in 1926 - and NOT the ten years earlier mis-informed nonsense that he spews forth in his footnote on page 163. It is a sad day when an author's footnote...needs a footnote to correct the errors in the original footnote! Also in this same footnote Eliot ponders if the Yanay incident has perhaps inspired the fictional attack on the San Pueblo (sic). In the very next sentence he goes on to now refer to the attack as having happened on the U.S. Panay! Which is it??? Footnote please!

The bio of the author on the inner back flap informs us that the author "divides his time among New York City; Woodstock, New York; Los Angeles; and the Far East." Bully for him. I am glad that all of the money he has made via his writing has enabled him to live in luxury at four different locations across the globe - while most folks struggle to keep but one roof over their heads! - but all I ask is that he and all authors that write faster than they think...please, please light somewhere when you write a book. Review it. Check it over painstakingly before you publish. Fine-comb it - and have truly professional people double-check it for you before it goes to print. Before it hits bookstore shelves. Before we, the public, shell out hard-earned money for YOUR work! Respect us - as much as we wish to respect you. By your work...we shall know you. Buy your work...and we shall know you as well.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Houston, we have a credibility problem, November 9, 2011
By 
AbigailTrower (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Steve McQueen: A Biography (Hardcover)
I'll give this to Marc Eliot, he is consistent as an author for he has made an equal number of errors in his other books as he does in "Steve McQueen." But don't take my word for it, look at what other Amazon reviewers had to say about Eliot's sloppy work:

Paul Simon: A Life
Something So Wrong, January 14, 2011
By Dave Blanchard (Cleveland, Ohio) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Paul Simon: A Life (Hardcover)
Almost everything in this book, including every quote from and reference to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, comes from previously published material (dutifully cited by the author), which means Marc Eliot didn't so much write this book as type it. And what becomes clear is that he isn't much of a typist. Thus, the question becomes: If Eliot made that many mistakes in the simple process of transcribing the words and ideas of other writers, how well can we trust his conclusions as to what might have motivated Paul Simon throughout his life and his career?

Jimmy Stewart: A Biography
Too Bad, April 25, 2011
By BetsyBooth - See all my reviews
It's a shame that such a good actor could have such an awful book written about him. As other reviewers have stated, there are bizzare innuendos and silly deductions, not to mention grammatical errors, but I didn't really notice them for I spent more time trying to decipher what the author was saying (or trying to say, for that matter). It is hard to trust the validity of the biography when such falsehoods and simple mistakes are made. Truly terrible!

Cary Grant: A Biography
Terrible, September 5, 2011
By R. McCannon (Georgia) - See all my reviews
I bought this book long before I became a classic movie fan, and long before I became the Cary Grant fan that I am now, he being my favorite actor. If I could turn back time, I would never have bought this book at all. And if it weren't for the pictures that are in the book, I would burn it. I've discovered since reading this book that there are too many errors. One large glaring one is when Elliot is talking about when Cary received his Honor Academy Award. In this part Elliot says that Cary puts on his glasses and reads from notes . . . you can find this clip on youtube, and as you will see never once does he put on glasses or read from any notes. And there are many more such errors, even grammatical and spelling errors. Please, Dear God, do NOT waste your money on this, especially if you are just being introduced to Cary.

To The Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles
Reads like a textbook, October 30, 2008
After reading Don Felder's whiny autobiography, I thought this might provide some objective views on the Eagles. It does for the most part, but there are glaring errors throughout that any person with cursory knowledge of the Eagles will see immediately.

And if you listen to this interview [..])Eliot continues his campaign of misinformation. He tells listeners that McQueen was in the Navy (he was in the Marines); that he was nominated for an Oscar in "Bullitt" (it was "The Sand Pebbles") and that is first wife Neile was much older than McQueen (she was three years younger). If this guy is a New York Times bestselling author, then I have some swamp land here in Louisiana I want to sell you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just OK, January 23, 2012
This review is from: Steve McQueen: A Biography (Hardcover)
While there is some interesting facts on McQeen here, like others have said, lot's of errors. Regarding LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER....Tom Bosley did NOT play Natalie Wood's father. He played her boyfriend. Hershal Benardi played her father. Did Eliot even SEE any of McQueens films? Also nothing said about the release or business of his last film THE HUNTER. Eliot makes it seem like TOM HORN was McQeens last film. He even states that fact. Another error. Please Mr. Eliot, if you write anymore bios, get ALL the facts right, or DON'T WRITE A BOOK...Period.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The work of Steve McQueen, November 5, 2011
This review is from: Steve McQueen: A Biography (Hardcover)
This Steve McQueen biography can be an interesting perusal of his life through his work. There is little mentioned of his personal life except a bit about his youth and through the biographies of 2 of his wives, Neile Adams and Ali MacGraw. There are some quotes from Steve, and his friends/coworkers, mainly concerning relating to his work.
The book has a limited number of pages about his life before show business, but the main substance relates to his work in motion pictures, why and how he chose the roles he did.

There is a confusing recounting of the early stages of the movie `The Great Escape'. The author writes the prison camp, Stalag LuftIII was just outside Munich, then a few pages later states it was in Poland. He also claims the officers in the prison knew about D-Day and planned the escape to help divert German forces. The diversion is an historical fact, but it is never explained how these prisoners could have been aware of the date of D-Day???
The most surprising omission to me was that in the beginning of the book where Steve's time in the marines is recounted the author tells of McQueen being assigned to "scrub and repair asbestos-laden pipes". Nowhere is this referred to when he is diagnosed with mesothelioma.

One can see the business technicalities of the film industry in this biography. We also read of the many faults, the drug use and drinking and the violent tendencies at times, of McQueen to his wives and others; but we also are made aware of McQueen's extraordinary talent. There are some questions about the accuracy of what has been written in this book, but we do learn about the essential times and life of Steve McQueen.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars USA Today Review- Correction, November 3, 2011
This review is from: Steve McQueen: A Biography (Hardcover)
I felt compelled to publicly mention the reviewer for USA Today is incorrect. Steve McQueen was not married twice, but three times. Neile Adams, Ali MacGraw, and Barbara Minty were his wives. I know it's been over 30 years since his death, but you'd except a national publication of this calibar to get their facts right. As for the seven children, that is pure hearsay, with no solid proof from the author. Unless you can back something up, don't bother mentioning it.

This is yet another biography which is equivalent to a tabloid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Glaring errors of fact and perspective!, April 17, 2013
I stopped reading this work after page 72 when I turned to Amazon Reviews to see if any had the same opinion of this work as I have and boy was I correct!
Where Eliot got the "Magnum 45" of Dirty Harry, I don't know seeing as Eliot had written a bio of Clint Eastwood? How could Steve's wife drive a Ford Mustang to see Luella Parson's in the late 1950's when the Mustang wasn't even around?
But more grievous is his characterization of McQueen's film Le Mans as a failure. Certainly at the time of its first run, it was deemed a commercial failure but since then it has universally been recognized as THE finest film about car racing ever filmed. Filmed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Steve actually driving a camera car during the actual race at speeds well over 200 mph down the Mulsanne Straight. There is no CGI, just actual professional race car drivers and I include Steve among them, racing during and after the actual race to provide the footage for the best depiction of what it is like to race cars or as Steve says during the film, "a Professional Blood Sport". Frankenhiemer's Grand Prix was more of a commercial success at the time of release helped by its Cinerama format but it's star has mostly faded by 2011, the date of this book.
I'm going to find a better book about Steve McQueen to read and will not try to read any other Marc Eliot works.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Time or Money, December 12, 2011
This review is from: Steve McQueen: A Biography (Hardcover)
I could rant about this book, but it wouldn't be worth the effort to describe the inaccuracies which pepper this book. Having read the previous reviews, others have done it better and more thoroughly than I would have or could have. Read their reviews and you'll know what I'm referring to. That said, it rankles me to no end when an author rips off the work of other writers and can't manage to get names, places, and dates right. It is more frustrating when a subject has been beaten to death and there are no new insights or information that can be added to enhance the reader's understanding of the subject. It seems to me that this book does nothing to enhance the legend of McQueen who was a dynamic actor and a commanding public figure.
I'm not a McQueen expert and I haven't read all the books that have been published about him, but I've read enough to know that this book lacks originality and contains nothing new. It isn't even that well written.
I recently read Marshall Terrill's book on McQueen and enjoyed it. I appreciated its accuracy and attention to detail. I also retained a lot of the material covered in it so it was not hard to find mistakes in this book. By comparison, this book is messy and tedious. While not as dreadful as Darwin Porter's questionable outing of McQueen, this book is more on par with the work of biographer David Bret in terms of general sloppiness. In many ways it reminded me of the way Bret conducts his research or what I often consider 'non research'.
For the McQueen fan this book might seem worthwhile, but to a casual reader such as myself this was a waste of time and money. I learned nothing new or useful and felt ripped off and let down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Run Away, December 11, 2011
By 
Michael P. Henighan (Castro Valley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Steve McQueen: A Biography (Hardcover)
To quote from Lady and the Tramp "What a dog." Mr. Elliot seams more intent continue he work on Clint Eastwood then do a good job on Steve McQueen. The short summary of the book Steve was a jerk on every movie set and slept with everyone. The story is full of errors and time errors. Stay away from this mess.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A High School Kid Could Write A Better McQueen Biography, November 3, 2011
This review is from: Steve McQueen: A Biography (Hardcover)
Your time and money are better spent elsewhere. There's absolutely nothing new or revelatory here and the book is plagued by innumerable errors throughout. Far from entertaining, I found myself cringing with disgust at the author's blatant disregard for accurate and truthful reporting.

For example, the boat in Steve's only Oscar-nominated film The Sand Pebbles is referred to as the "San Pueblo." (p. 163) It's really the San Pablo. The author refers to Neile supposedly arriving in a "Ford Mustang convertible" for an interview with Hedda Hopper during the filming of Never So Few (p. 67). Never So Few was shot and released in 1959. The Ford Mustang debuted in 1964. That's not just sloppy journalism, it makes me suspect the author simply "invented" details and events along the way.

Eliot couldn't even get the date of Steve's death correct. Depth is entirely absent in this "biography", and it seems the author could only be bothered with the most superficial account of various events in Steve's life. In fact the entire book reads like a high school kid's term paper rushed to completion. Only most high schoolers probably would have written in a more lucid manner.

An example of the author's "elegance." During the filming of Love with the Proper Stranger, Natalie Wood kept trying to seduce Steve. McQueen resisted her advances, but even if he would've been receptive, the author claims he couldn't have acted on it because "Throughout the production, Neile clung to Steve like a tick to a dog's neck." (p. 132) Yes, very classy and elegant writing.

Further, there's no wit to be found here, only a snide and condescending tone throughout. According to Eliot, Steve was up for the role of Superman in the 1978 film. "Steve was interested in the project - for the right price, of course - but when the Salkinds saw him in person they decided he was too old and fat to play Superman." (p. 297) Again, a teenager could've written with more tact.

Steve McQueen: The Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon by Marshall Terrill and Neile McQueen's My Husband, My Friend are far superior resources and both are enjoyable books. Avoid this one at all costs.
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Steve McQueen: A Biography
Steve McQueen: A Biography by Marc Eliot (Hardcover - October 25, 2011)
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