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Bruce Lee: A Life

Category: Book
By (author): Polly, Matthew
Subject:  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Entertainment & Performing Arts
  SPORTS & RECREATION / Martial Arts & Self-Defense
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: June 2019
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 656
Size: 8.37in x 5.50in
Our Price:
$ 27.00
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*"The first noteworthy treatment of its subject-and a definitive one at that...Fascinating narrative threads proliferate" (The New York Times Book Review).

The most authoritative biography-featuring dozens of rarely seen photographs-of film legend Bruce Lee, who made martial arts a global phenomenon, bridged the divide between Eastern and Western cultures, and smashed long-held stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans.

Forty-five years after Bruce Lee's sudden death at age thirty-two, journalist and bestselling author Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee's life. It's also one of the only accounts; incredibly, there has never been an authoritative biography of Lee. Following a decade of research that included conducting more than one hundred interviews with Lee's family, friends, business associates, and even the actress in whose bed Lee died, Polly has constructed a complex, humane portrait of the icon.

Polly explores Lee's early years as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father's struggles with opium addiction and how that turned Bruce into a troublemaking teenager who was kicked out of high school and eventually sent to America to shape up; his beginnings as a martial arts teacher, eventually becoming personal instructor to movie stars like James Coburn and Steve McQueen; his struggles as an Asian-American actor in Hollywood and frustration seeing role after role he auditioned for go to a white actors in eye makeup; his eventual triumph as a leading man; his challenges juggling a sky-rocketing career with his duties as a father and husband; and his shocking end that to this day is still shrouded in mystery.

Polly breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and argues that, contrary to popular belief, he was an ambitious actor who was obsessed with the martial arts-not a kung-fu guru who just so happened to make a couple of movies. This is an honest, revealing look at an impressive yet imperfect man whose personal story was even more entertaining and inspiring than any fictional role he played onscreen.
Review Quote*"The first noteworthy treatment of its subject-and a definitive one at that...Fascinating narrative threads proliferate." -The New York Times Book Review
Review Quote*"Bruce Lee: A Life by Matthew Polly is the first in-depth account of Lee's journey from a street-brawling teenager to a global icon…Lee's charisma, ambition and relentless appetite for combat leap off the pages." -CNN
Review Quote*"Spirited celebration of the life of 'the Patron Saint of Kung Fu,' a stalwart of pop culture whose career is due for a revival....Students of martial arts, film history, and the 1970s alike will find much to enjoy in Polly's homage." -Kirkus Review
Review Quote*"This thorough, well-sourced biography from Polly is an engrossing examination of the life of a martial arts movie star and his shocking, early death....In what is certainly the definitive biography of Lee, Polly wonderfully profiles the man who constructed a new, masculine Asian archetype and ushered kung fu into pop culture." -Publisher's Weekly, starred review
Review Quote*"The first authoritative biography of the martial arts teacher and movie star, who died mysteriously at 32 but whose films, like Enter the Dragon, still thrill decades later." -Los Angeles Times Book Review
Review Quote*"It's difficult to imagine a more comprehensive account of Bruce Lee's short but influential life than this one....Polly charts the course of Lee's life in careful, precise detail. His admiration for Lee comes through on nearly every page, but this no hagiography: the author doesn't skim lightly over Lee's drug use or infidelity, nor does he shy away from the sordid circumstances surrounding Lee's death. A fascinating story of a remarkable figure in popular culture, this is the biography Bruce Lee's legion of fans have been waiting for." -Booklist
Review Quote*"Matthew Polly's 'Bruce Lee: A Life' is proof that dogged research and sharp insight lie at the foundation of any successful biography. Its 600-plus pages suggest a definitive work to satisfy Lee's fans and spark curiosity in a new generation." -Associated Press
Review Quote*"Matthew Polly's new biography is long overdue but does Hong Kong's most famous son proud....The writer vividly describes how Lee mastered and advanced various martial arts forms, and he exercises a pleasing biographical rigour, with extensive notes and citations, as well as a 14-page bibliography....engaging, enthusiastic and empathetic." -South China Morning Post Magazine
Review Quote*"This book succeeds in capturing [Lee's] energy and achievements, a volley of incident that rarely lets up… Stories whirl past with nunchaku-like speed…Polly's narrative rarely loses its ripped-and-shredded shape…For anyone curious about Lee's legacy, it's a roundhouse kick of a biography." -Sunday Times of London