The Passion and the Paradox

Book - 2012
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"Last year J. Randy Taraborrelli wrote a bestselling book entitled The Secret Life of Marilyn. His is the most recent of dozens written since Marilyn's death in August of 1962 and yet the appetite for information about Marilyn is insatiable. No matter whether sensational or flawed, as most of these biographies have been, the fans always come out, in best-selling numbers. This time, with Lois Banner's An Uncommon Woman, Marilyn's fans won't be disappointed. This is no re-tread of recycled material. As one of the founders of the field of women's history, Lois Banner will reveal Marilyn Monroe in the way that only a top-notch historian and biographer could. Banner appreciates the complexities of Monroe's personal life in the context of her acheivements as an actor, singer, dancer, comedian, model, and courtesan. And the new information she unearths is revelatory. Banner's credentials opened doors and she has access to material no one else has seen, from the so called "Rosetta stones" of Monroe research (two large file cabinets filled with a trove of personal papers), to an interview with a member of the Kennedy secret service detail who shared what he witnessed for the first time, to facts and anecdotes about her childhood and her death and every stage of her life in between that were either missed or ignored or misinterpreted. Like her art, Marilyn's self was rooted in paradox: she was a powerful star and a child-like waif, a joyful, irreverent party girl with a deeply spiritual side; a superb friend and a narcisist; a dumb blonde and an intellectual. No biographer before has attempted to analyze--much less realized--most of these aspects of her personality. Lois Banner has"--
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2012.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781608195312
Characteristics: 515 p. :,ill. (some col.) ;,25 cm.

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Jul 25, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed Banner's biography of MM. Particularly since she presents all of her sources up front, cites them all in the back, and offers many theories of various mysteries in MM's life. She tell you what her best estimate is and acknowledges that some things can't be known with certainty. Additionally, she places the behaviors, attitudes, and happenings of Marilyn and the folks who touched her life in their historical context explaining why some things may have unfolded the way they did. She is compassionate and honest (not always the same thing!) in her descriptions of Marilyn, and gives her the due respect she deserves as a talented, smart, and deeply damaged woman. I would highly recommend this book.

145e Feb 21, 2013

Wonderful biography. Read it.

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