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Customer Review

295 of 310 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My New Favorite Book EVER, October 25, 2011
This review is from: Van Gogh: The Life (Hardcover)
I read biographies almost exclusively. So when I first saw the fascinating "60 Minutes" piece on the new VanGogh biography I thought to myself, why do we need another book on VanGogh? Lots of books, movies, pop songs, dormroom posters - even Starry Night on the start-up screen on my celphone. Haven't we had enough of Vincent Van Gogh? Turns out we haven't. This may not be the first source on Van Gogh that I've ever seen but it is the first time I've ever actually met him.

This book was the fastest, freshest 800 and some pages I've ever read. So often, a biographer forgets that his subject did not LIVE as a subject of a book. (Ok, Washington did, but still...) So we get research, information, quotes, blah blah blah. But in VanGogh: The Life, I could feel Vincent experiencing his life as vividly as I experience my own.

We walk WITH Vincent through his powerful, wrenching life with writing that is immediate, facts that are fresh - even a little surprise about the alleged suicide - told with a psychological accuity that obliterates that tired 'tortured artist' cliche which has passed for VanGogh biography in the past. And you get a bonus master class in art history to boot! All presented with such a complelling, almost novelistic narrative, that Vincent's demise arrives nearly as a tragic surprise. Because you wind up knowing this guy and actually rooting for him. I felt real suspense reading a book about a man whose life was generally known to me. But still you will weep at his deathbed with the only other person who ever cared about him.

Oh... and if you're a fan of grown-up words and luxurious sentences - and I am - then just read this book for the experience of literature. When's the last time you got to do that? A PLUS!!
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 15, 2012 12:10:08 AM PDT
birder4life says:
I read a lot of biographies too. Which ones do you recommend besides this one of Van Gogh?? I have read many of the Kennedy books (about 10) including "The Kennedy Curse", the Kennedy women and one about John F. Kennedy Jr. ( got me a little depressed). I also have read many books on Princess Diana. Also: Sinatra, John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown, Break on Through:The Doors, Grace Kelly ( two of her), Hilary Clinton, Ronald Reagan,Thomas Jefferson, Howard Hughes, John Paul Getty, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Hunter S. Thompson, Mia Farrow, Tatum O'Neil (first one, second one not good I heard), The Andy Warhol Diaries was very good (read years ago) also "Edie" by Jean Stein, Rolling Stones, and many Beatle books; there are many more I am forgetting that were good. Now the ones I couldn't get through "Hearst" the publisher, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Jimmy Buffet and others that were too boring to remember. If you have some favorites I'd like to know some if you have time. Thanks, Dolores

Posted on Apr 22, 2012 1:02:39 PM PDT
K. Wolf says:
Thank you for your great review...this was the exact book I was looking after also seeing the 60 minutes piece.

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 5:46:19 PM PDT
I agree. It is definitely the best book I have ever read, on any subject.

Posted on Jun 22, 2012 8:42:23 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 23, 2012 12:30:00 AM PDT]

Posted on Sep 7, 2012 5:26:47 AM PDT
nwh1774 says:
I went to write a review of this book, but realized you said exactly what I was going to say. I saw it on 60 Minutes, got it, and was engrossed from page 1 in a way unlike the other many 100's of biographies I have read. It is like you are there with him, walking with him. This is the most brilliantly researched book, ever.

Posted on Sep 8, 2012 1:24:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 8, 2012 1:25:02 PM PDT
BookFan says:
I fully agree with BioDevourer. This is one of the best biographies I have ever read. It is beautifully written and very thorough. Well done!

Posted on Nov 21, 2013 4:59:46 AM PST
Yes. In my humble opinion, one of the finest biographies ever written.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2014 9:46:39 AM PDT
Friend, I would suggest you 'Remebering Mr. Shawn of the New Yorker' by Ved Mehta.
Subhash Parihar, Kot Kapura, India
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