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Barbara Leaming's Marilyn Monroe is a complex, sympathetic portrait that will forever change the way we view the most enduring icon of America sexuality. To those who think they have heard all there is to hear about Marilyn Monroe, think again. Leaming's book tells a brand-new tale of sexual, psychological, and political intrigue of the highest order. Told for the first ti Barbara Leaming's Marilyn Monroe is a complex, sympathetic portrait that will forever change the way we view the most enduring icon of America sexuality. To those who think they have heard all there is to hear about Marilyn Monroe, think again. Leaming's book tells a brand-new tale of sexual, psychological, and political intrigue of the highest order. Told for the first time in all its complexity, this is a compelling portrait of a woman at the center of a drama with immensely high stakes, a drama in which the other players are some of the most fascinating characters from the worlds of movies, theater, and politics. It is a book that shines a bright light on one of the most tumultuous, frightening, and exciting periods in American culture. Basing her research on new interviews and on thousands of primary documents--including revealing letters by Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan, John Huston, Laurence Olivier, Tennessee Williams, Darryl Zanuck, Marilyn's psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson, and many others--Leaming has reconstructed the tangle of betrayal in Marilyn's life. For the first time, a master storyteller has put together all of the pieces and told Marilyn's story with the intensity and drama it so richly deserves. At the heart of this book is a sexual triangle and a riveting story that has never been told before. You will come away filled with new respect for Marilyn's incredible courage, dignity, and loyalty, and an overwhelming sense of tragedy after witnessing Marilyn, powerless to overcome her demons, move inexorably to her own final, terrible betrayal of herself. Marilyn Monroe is a book that will make you think--and will break your heart.


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Barbara Leaming's Marilyn Monroe is a complex, sympathetic portrait that will forever change the way we view the most enduring icon of America sexuality. To those who think they have heard all there is to hear about Marilyn Monroe, think again. Leaming's book tells a brand-new tale of sexual, psychological, and political intrigue of the highest order. Told for the first ti Barbara Leaming's Marilyn Monroe is a complex, sympathetic portrait that will forever change the way we view the most enduring icon of America sexuality. To those who think they have heard all there is to hear about Marilyn Monroe, think again. Leaming's book tells a brand-new tale of sexual, psychological, and political intrigue of the highest order. Told for the first time in all its complexity, this is a compelling portrait of a woman at the center of a drama with immensely high stakes, a drama in which the other players are some of the most fascinating characters from the worlds of movies, theater, and politics. It is a book that shines a bright light on one of the most tumultuous, frightening, and exciting periods in American culture. Basing her research on new interviews and on thousands of primary documents--including revealing letters by Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan, John Huston, Laurence Olivier, Tennessee Williams, Darryl Zanuck, Marilyn's psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson, and many others--Leaming has reconstructed the tangle of betrayal in Marilyn's life. For the first time, a master storyteller has put together all of the pieces and told Marilyn's story with the intensity and drama it so richly deserves. At the heart of this book is a sexual triangle and a riveting story that has never been told before. You will come away filled with new respect for Marilyn's incredible courage, dignity, and loyalty, and an overwhelming sense of tragedy after witnessing Marilyn, powerless to overcome her demons, move inexorably to her own final, terrible betrayal of herself. Marilyn Monroe is a book that will make you think--and will break your heart.

30 review for Marilyn Monroe: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joe Valdez

    Published in 1998, this biography of "Marilyn Monroe" is entirely devoted to her celebrity, with very little insight into Norma Jeane Baker or her childhood. The first several pages are more devoted to Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller's visit to L.A. in 1951 than the tragic sex symbol, who author Barbara Leaming refers to as "Marilyn" or "Monroe" throughout. The subject remains blurry in closeup. There is detail about her film deals and work habits, her drugs and reasonable conjecture about why she Published in 1998, this biography of "Marilyn Monroe" is entirely devoted to her celebrity, with very little insight into Norma Jeane Baker or her childhood. The first several pages are more devoted to Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller's visit to L.A. in 1951 than the tragic sex symbol, who author Barbara Leaming refers to as "Marilyn" or "Monroe" throughout. The subject remains blurry in closeup. There is detail about her film deals and work habits, her drugs and reasonable conjecture about why she was a drug addict, but it's written like a high school term paper; no direct quotes, all library research. The author didn't tell me anything Wikipedia couldn't about Norma Jeane Baker.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    4.5 Stars! This book is named Marilyn Monroe but it should've been called Marilyn & Arthur, because its mostly about her relationship with her 3rd and last husband Arthur Miller. Arthur Miller is my least favorite of Marilyn's men and seeing as all of her relationships were toxic and horrible this should tell you how truly awful Arthur Miller was. I mean Joe DiMaggio physically abused Marilyn and yet he still managed to treat her better than Arthur Miller. Marilyn and Arthur met in 1951 but they 4.5 Stars! This book is named Marilyn Monroe but it should've been called Marilyn & Arthur, because its mostly about her relationship with her 3rd and last husband Arthur Miller. Arthur Miller is my least favorite of Marilyn's men and seeing as all of her relationships were toxic and horrible this should tell you how truly awful Arthur Miller was. I mean Joe DiMaggio physically abused Marilyn and yet he still managed to treat her better than Arthur Miller. Marilyn and Arthur met in 1951 but they wouldn't become a couple until 1955. Arthur Miller was married at the time and as would become a pattern despite pursuing her, Arthur Miller would of course hold Marilyn 100% responsible for breaking up his marriage. She was a temptress and he was a helpless victim. Arthur Miller always seemed to be the victim, even when he was being emotionally and mentally abusive. Marilyn Monroe suffered from mental illnesses. What those illnesses were we may never really know but it seems likely that Bi- Polar Disorder may have been one of them. Arthur Miller knew that Marilyn was mentally fragile and he still continued to push alcohol and pills on her and belittle her intelligence. Arthur Miller was fuckboy, who thought he was better than Marilyn MOTHERFUCKING Monroe used her for her money and then wrote a shitty mean spirited play about her after she died. Overall this book gave me a deeper understanding of the last 5 years of Marilyn's life. I highly recommend this book!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    For not really knowing anything about this star other than her name and, of course, the famous grate photo and the "happy birthday Mr. President". I even knew about Madonna's video that copied her (pink dress, diamonds...YOU KNOW THE ONE :D) I thought this was an interesting bio. I was amazed to see just how much she fought to be a star, to act and how unsure and scared she was. She always seemed to show everyone how strong she was, but as the book points out, it was all just acting. And she was For not really knowing anything about this star other than her name and, of course, the famous grate photo and the "happy birthday Mr. President". I even knew about Madonna's video that copied her (pink dress, diamonds...YOU KNOW THE ONE :D) I thought this was an interesting bio. I was amazed to see just how much she fought to be a star, to act and how unsure and scared she was. She always seemed to show everyone how strong she was, but as the book points out, it was all just acting. And she was pretty good at it. But, I thought the book got a little bogged down in the details. It started to feel a lot like "and then this happened and then this and then this". I started to disconnect with her story and just think "c'mon, get on with it." I'm glad I read it though, very interesting story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    nine

    this is the book that took me away from my own psycho-traumatic experiences in life and helped me to understand, escape and focus more on the aspect of cognitive psychology and how the past has definitive effects on various personas. i read this book not because it was, "marilyn monroe's story!" but because of the way author barbara leaming had told her story: living through the eyes of the one who lived it at the time. from this book, i learned how to be more empathetic in certain situations, a this is the book that took me away from my own psycho-traumatic experiences in life and helped me to understand, escape and focus more on the aspect of cognitive psychology and how the past has definitive effects on various personas. i read this book not because it was, "marilyn monroe's story!" but because of the way author barbara leaming had told her story: living through the eyes of the one who lived it at the time. from this book, i learned how to be more empathetic in certain situations, and also probably gained more patience. very weird, but true.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bianca

    I only read the first half of celebrity bio's until they get to be who I know them as.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    This was an interesting and detailed account of Marilyn's career in Hollywood (rather than her earlier life). The information is taken largely from primary texts and the information is incredibly detailed. The result is a retelling of events that occurred and an insight into the reasoning behind the events. Even if you haven't seen a Marilyn Monroe movie, you know who she was and you are familiar with the iconic image from the movie The Seven Year Itch (white halter dress getup). The name is syno This was an interesting and detailed account of Marilyn's career in Hollywood (rather than her earlier life). The information is taken largely from primary texts and the information is incredibly detailed. The result is a retelling of events that occurred and an insight into the reasoning behind the events. Even if you haven't seen a Marilyn Monroe movie, you know who she was and you are familiar with the iconic image from the movie The Seven Year Itch (white halter dress getup). The name is synonymous with beauty and charisma. But the real Marilyn-Norma Jean-struggled with depression, alcohol and substance abuse, self esteem, paranoia, and chronic fear that she would not be taken seriously. What came across in the book was that Monroe was needy and mentally unstable. Monroe surrounded herself with people who she thought would help her become a serious actress. It seemed that most people in her life wanted something from her, in particular her dramatic coaches. I felt quite sorry for her by the end. Marilyn, while bringing on much of the illness herself, did have a few very painful things to overcome. First, she was always living in fear that she would go insane like her mother who was institutionalized for most of Marilyn's life. Second, she suffered from endometriosis, a condition in which the lining of the uterus attaches to other stuff in the abdomen, and grow, causing pain, irregular bleeding, and, in severe cases, infertility. Several times Marilyn had to take time off to undergo gynecological surgery Third, she had a series of emotionally and physically traumatic miscarriages during her marriage with Arthur Miller. Not to mention the amount of pressure put on Marilyn to perform and do well from production companies, directors, and foremost, herself. Marilyn was a beautiful and troubled woman. I would like to have had more details on Marilyn's constant sickness and early childhood. However the book is already more than 400 pages. So, I guess the early childhood and constant illness is another book completely.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Thirty-six years after Marilyn Monroe's death (at the age of 36), Leaming, prolific celebrity biographer, picks through the bones and neuroses of the ultimate Hollywood icon. More than 200 books have been written on the subject; only a few biographies (namely, Donald Spoto's revisionist Marilyn Monroe: The Biography) have managed to humanize the fragile actress, who has long since been subsumed by her own mystique. Leaming's relentlessly morose and stand-offish portrait, by contrast, places Monr Thirty-six years after Marilyn Monroe's death (at the age of 36), Leaming, prolific celebrity biographer, picks through the bones and neuroses of the ultimate Hollywood icon. More than 200 books have been written on the subject; only a few biographies (namely, Donald Spoto's revisionist Marilyn Monroe: The Biography) have managed to humanize the fragile actress, who has long since been subsumed by her own mystique. Leaming's relentlessly morose and stand-offish portrait, by contrast, places Monroe on a downward spiral from birth. Beginning in 1951, the book backtracks briefly, skimming over her childhood, early marriage, status on the party-girl circuit and early screen debut. Relying on letters, memos, other biographies and a paper trail from Twentieth Century-Fox, Leaming relays the precise dates when Monroe signed contracts, called in sick, filmed for half a day, etc. It's an approach that does little to explain Monroe's dynamc screen presence, her warmth and charm. The absence of new interviews here is most noticeable in passages detailing Monroe's marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller. Both husbands remain enigmas on the page. However, secondary characters (such as Lee and Paula Strasberg and longtime agent Charles Feldman) are often vividly etched. If Monroe enjoyed any good friendships or happy experiences making films, they're not presented here. Leaming's real contribution is the coverage of the HUAC blacklisting trials and its effects on the men in Monroe's life. As interesting as these details may be, however, they overwhelm the book and, even worse, shove Marilyn from the spotlight.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Great read for anyone who wants to learn more about Marilyn's amazing achievements and also the darker side of her fame. Not the most elegantly written book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    I Loved the parts about Marilyn, I learned so much about her. I just didn't care for the many parts that strayed away from her. Other than that I think people should really read this!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena Llamandra

    My second Monroe book. After reading "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe" by Taborelli this paled in comparison. The book skimmed through her early years in just a few pages, which was a huge minus for me. Also it raced over her marriage with Joe Di Maggio and was extremely chaotic and lacked a proper time system. The marriage with Miller was looked into in much more depth but a lot from Millers perspective and not as much Marilyn`s... too much political descriptions for my liking relating to Millers My second Monroe book. After reading "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe" by Taborelli this paled in comparison. The book skimmed through her early years in just a few pages, which was a huge minus for me. Also it raced over her marriage with Joe Di Maggio and was extremely chaotic and lacked a proper time system. The marriage with Miller was looked into in much more depth but a lot from Millers perspective and not as much Marilyn`s... too much political descriptions for my liking relating to Millers supposed association with Communists. The Kennedy affair was skimmed through in just a few pages as well. I really struggled getting through it all due to the huge chaos that was going on in this book. Yes some parts were enjoyable and it was a nice educational addition to the picture of what was Marilyn really about, but overall I would not recommend it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Janis Mills

    I think I learned a lot more about Arthur Miller reading this book. Rather horrid that he based not one but two plays on his life with two of his wives. Very calculating and I think his decision was conscious.I also learned more about her motivation in engineering her career rise to a modicrum of respect and her plunge into the party scene with the Kennedy/Sinatra that marked her period of deep depression and self loathing. It was a good read but not a great read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Beautifully written and totally engrossing from page 1. I loved it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Schibley

    People just don't get tired of hearing about Marilyn - this book was very good.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Camilla

    A story worth reading Her life was told in such a way that you learned more about her in her truth. The truth was learning to see yourself and love yourself with all your flaws was just as important.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Granado-Law

    All through the 80s I read Marilyn biographies, yet I never found one that so deeply delves into just how much havouc and trouble Marilyn stirred up. For example, during movie production. I always thought, "well, yes Marilyn was difficult, but she showed up and did the job." In this work, the author actually has the Fox studio archives, Arthur Miller's papers, MM's Agent's daily planner/notes - daily records of events that she researched extensively to include - there are even the logs of what t All through the 80s I read Marilyn biographies, yet I never found one that so deeply delves into just how much havouc and trouble Marilyn stirred up. For example, during movie production. I always thought, "well, yes Marilyn was difficult, but she showed up and did the job." In this work, the author actually has the Fox studio archives, Arthur Miller's papers, MM's Agent's daily planner/notes - daily records of events that she researched extensively to include - there are even the logs of what time Marilyn would show up to work. If you've read other MM bios and want to fill in a lot of details to your knowledge, this is a good choice. Anyway, I just finished reading it today and it is very heartbreaking. Makes you want to do something to stop the destruction. I had just finished my makeup for work this morning and it came to Marilyn's death (I listed to it on audio) and I burst out crying. Some reviewers mention Arthur Miller and how he didn't help her. I think Arthur Miller was naturally inward/introverted and he may have closed down as a way to protect himself rather than be swallowed whole. With some people, there is simply nothing you can do to help them. The more you might try and help, the more stress you bring yourself. Rather than self-destruct in all that madness he endured, he shielded himself. He survived. According to this book, Marilyn treated him like crap - it was hard to read. I kept begging her to please grow up! She couldn't rise above her own insecurities and immaturity to respect that she had a marriage that might have been good for her. It was all about her spotlight though she bravely aided him in the HUAC trials and tribulations. As for her marriage - she didn't put in the effort to make it work. Read this book if you want to see more of her treatment of him. Here he was this man who wrote Death of a Salesman, and right in front of everyone she would criticize him screaming at him to "get my coat" etc while his admirers stood around shocked. She was aweful to him during her affair with Yves Montand. Very embarassing. It is aweful for anyone to be treated this way and with such disrespect. How could she demand respect when she behaved so miserable towards others? How could anyone give her respect while she didn't give it? Marilyn still had a lot to learn about mature relationships. I don't care what her sad excuse is. I've loved Marilyn since the early 1980s as a child but this analysis had me cursing her selfish immaturity - it seems she thought only of herself. I was exasperated with her! She didn't pull herself up and take responsibility for her behavior and her damaging of so many others. This book made me look harshly on her. I know I've read biographies in the past where Marilyn was used and abused - they never really went in depth into how much Marilyn used and abused others as well. Marilyn wasn't a shy shrinking violet - it took guts, courage, manipulation and a ton of ambition to become Marilyn Monroe. She was special and one of a kind but I just wanted to slap her out of it and force her to be happy and satisfied.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    A twentieth century icon whose life remains fascinating and endlessly mysterious, even more than forty years after her death, "Marilyn Monroe" still grabs our attention as no other star of her time. In Leaming's portrait (published in 1998), I learned a lot that I hadn't gleaned from any other tome about this captivating star. One thing remains true through all the books on the subject, however: Marilyn had a sad and lonely childhood; struggled in her adulthood; and died tragically, still chasing A twentieth century icon whose life remains fascinating and endlessly mysterious, even more than forty years after her death, "Marilyn Monroe" still grabs our attention as no other star of her time. In Leaming's portrait (published in 1998), I learned a lot that I hadn't gleaned from any other tome about this captivating star. One thing remains true through all the books on the subject, however: Marilyn had a sad and lonely childhood; struggled in her adulthood; and died tragically, still chasing the demons that plagued her all the days of her life. Fearing abandonment and a repeat of all the other losses she suffered throughout her life, she often sabotaged herself and became the kind of person people would turn away from. Needy, frightened, paranoid—these traits all could describe her. And in her effort to gain the love, the respect, and the attention of others, she often pushed away the very things she desired. She did, however, show a determination and a unique ability to capture her audiences, which kept her a valuable asset for the Hollywood system for a long time. Unfortunately, she also trusted and depended on the wrong people, who seemingly basked in her dependency. Even her psychiatrist, at the end, played right into the abandonment drama she feared the most. In this book I learned a lot about the whole industry/studio system and the drama that unfolded around stars like Marilyn. More than I wanted to know, actually. Sometimes these tedious and unending details took away from the star and her life. I did enjoy details about the people she met, the relationships, and her homes: always part of that elusive thing she sought. This was the saddest story of Marilyn that I've read, and I applaud the author's research and efforts. However, for the reasons I mentioned, I'm giving the story 3.5 stars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    4 STARS "hirty-six years after Marilyn Monroe's death (at the age of 36), Leaming, prolific celebrity biographer, picks through the bones and neuroses of the ultimate Hollywood icon. More than 200 books have been written on the subject; only a few biographies (namely, Donald Spoto's revisionist Marilyn Monroe: The Biography) have managed to humanize the fragile actress, who has long since been subsumed by her own mystique. Leaming's relentlessly morose and stand-offish portrait, by contrast, plac 4 STARS "hirty-six years after Marilyn Monroe's death (at the age of 36), Leaming, prolific celebrity biographer, picks through the bones and neuroses of the ultimate Hollywood icon. More than 200 books have been written on the subject; only a few biographies (namely, Donald Spoto's revisionist Marilyn Monroe: The Biography) have managed to humanize the fragile actress, who has long since been subsumed by her own mystique. Leaming's relentlessly morose and stand-offish portrait, by contrast, places Monroe on a downward spiral from birth. Beginning in 1951, the book backtracks briefly, skimming over her childhood, early marriage, status on the party-girl circuit and early screen debut. Relying on letters, memos, other biographies and a paper trail from Twentieth Century-Fox, Leaming relays the precise dates when Monroe signed contracts, called in sick, filmed for half a day, etc. It's an approach that does little to explain Monroe's dynamc screen presence, her warmth and charm. The absence of new interviews here is most noticeable in passages detailing Monroe's marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller. Both husbands remain enigmas on the page. However, secondary characters (such as Lee and Paula Strasberg and longtime agent Charles Feldman) are often vividly etched. If Monroe enjoyed any good friendships or happy experiences making films, they're not presented here. Leaming's real contribution is the coverage of the HUAC blacklisting trials and its effects on the men in Monroe's life. As interesting as these details may be, however, they overwhelm the book and, even worse, shove Marilyn from the spotlight. 32 pages of photos not seen by PW." (From Amazon) I loved this biography on Marilyn Monroe. Barbara Leaming is a great biographer of the classic stars.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    A highly thought provoking biography of one of the worlds most glamorous women. The writer has obviously studied her subject well, and compares her research to other well known biographers, almost like a thesis would attempt to do. Focusing primarily on the height of Monroe's fame, and her involvement with senior governmental figures, the author does not attempt to paint Monroe as a holier than thou character. She acknowledges Monroe's personality defects, whilst still expressing sympathy for th A highly thought provoking biography of one of the worlds most glamorous women. The writer has obviously studied her subject well, and compares her research to other well known biographers, almost like a thesis would attempt to do. Focusing primarily on the height of Monroe's fame, and her involvement with senior governmental figures, the author does not attempt to paint Monroe as a holier than thou character. She acknowledges Monroe's personality defects, whilst still expressing sympathy for the young actress. It comes across as a psychological profile in parts, which is certainly intriguing. Whether or not I, as the reader, are a believer in conspiracy theories in general (and therefore, an almost certain believer in the murder theory) is somewhat irrelevant. The author promotes what she, as an accomplished researcher, believes whole heartedly. That can only be applauded, as she attempts to shy away and avoid getting drawn into sensationalist theories, which often opens up a can of worms for the impartial reader. An ideal beginners biography for anyone wishing to learn more about the rise and fall of one of the most successful actresses of the 20th century.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jack Herbert Christal Gattanella

    Interesting not so much because of the person that was Norma Jean whatever, since she was a troubled kid and then became an even more troubled adult with a particular way of being very effective (if affected too?) on screen, but because the story of Monroe also makes a wonderful look at the film and theater world of the late 40's thru the early 1960's as the studio system hit the 'high and beautiful' wave before it broke and rolled back. So many people and films: Billy Wilder, Jane Russell, Howa Interesting not so much because of the person that was Norma Jean whatever, since she was a troubled kid and then became an even more troubled adult with a particular way of being very effective (if affected too?) on screen, but because the story of Monroe also makes a wonderful look at the film and theater world of the late 40's thru the early 1960's as the studio system hit the 'high and beautiful' wave before it broke and rolled back. So many people and films: Billy Wilder, Jane Russell, Howard Hawks, Joe Dimaggio, Arthur Miller (oh there's a lot of him, and he's actually a more vivid and sympathetic character than his sap of a wife), Elia Kazan, Laurence Olivier, John Huston, the Strasbergs, the list goes on and on. For a movie geek it's worth while to read it just for that, and maybe you'll get one or two interesting recommendations like I did (such as Niagra and Don't Bother Knocking, or whatever that movie is where she's the crazy babysitter).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jacqui

    Well written but very heavily reliant on published texts rather than original research, this one is sympathetic to Dr Greenson, the Commie (allegedly according to others) shrink. Seems to believe Marilyn uncomplicatedly committed suicide and makes literally no reference to the conspiracies or the (even I am semi-convinced) at the very least ambiguous last-day events and autopsy reports. However, taking her relationship with Arthur Miller as its central point, I do feel that this biog gets closer Well written but very heavily reliant on published texts rather than original research, this one is sympathetic to Dr Greenson, the Commie (allegedly according to others) shrink. Seems to believe Marilyn uncomplicatedly committed suicide and makes literally no reference to the conspiracies or the (even I am semi-convinced) at the very least ambiguous last-day events and autopsy reports. However, taking her relationship with Arthur Miller as its central point, I do feel that this biog gets closer to the elusive Monroe than most; her relationship with Miller was her last chance to leave the past behind and when she blew it, she irrevocably declined - I can believe that. Leaming also doesn't gloss over MM's desperate life on the starlet 'party circuit' and is very good on her creation (and often living within the paradigm of) 'the girl'.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie_ian_curtis

    11Jan 2015 25 june 2015 reading this again i have to say this is the 'miller-heavy'version the fact that it starts in 1951 (as opposed to a chronological order) shows much. i.e writer deems the miller/kazan triangle significant.much of millers writing career in relation to his real life and MM during this time. arthur fans will like this book. however - excellent analysis of marilyns contract troubles with 20th, greene and MM Productions and of lee and paula expoliting her as we all know they did. le 11Jan 2015 25 june 2015 reading this again i have to say this is the 'miller-heavy'version the fact that it starts in 1951 (as opposed to a chronological order) shows much. i.e writer deems the miller/kazan triangle significant.much of millers writing career in relation to his real life and MM during this time. arthur fans will like this book. however - excellent analysis of marilyns contract troubles with 20th, greene and MM Productions and of lee and paula expoliting her as we all know they did. leaming sticks to the 'standard' story of eunice and the phone cord under the door @ 3am and passes over all other accounts (leaming has clearly decided suicide) but still a fabulous work.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rae Ganci Hammers

    This might be the best MM biography I've read. Leaming really digs in and gives enough psychological, social, and political context to really address the how's and why's of Marilyn's life. Her struggles with the studio, her calamitous marriages. The way misperceptions (by her and by others) did irreparable harm to her relationships with lovers and colleagues. I appreciated that Leaming choose to begin in 1950 and only call back to earlier years as needed. I feel like other authors have often spe This might be the best MM biography I've read. Leaming really digs in and gives enough psychological, social, and political context to really address the how's and why's of Marilyn's life. Her struggles with the studio, her calamitous marriages. The way misperceptions (by her and by others) did irreparable harm to her relationships with lovers and colleagues. I appreciated that Leaming choose to begin in 1950 and only call back to earlier years as needed. I feel like other authors have often spent so much time trying to paint a clear portrait of her childhood and early rise in Hollywood that they skim through the Miller years, which turned out to be both fascinating and devastating. Well researched, well written, and clearly articulated. Just excellent.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Krissys

    I think Marilyn Monroe was one of those people that was way a head of her time for her generation. I think she is one of those women that will always be an idol for women and would have done fabulously for females in our own time. She was a girl that wasn't perfect or flawless, she was a full figured female and she was beautiful. She lived life through her heart instead of her mind and although that would eventually lead to her downfall, I think she was absolutely amazing. This novel describes w I think Marilyn Monroe was one of those people that was way a head of her time for her generation. I think she is one of those women that will always be an idol for women and would have done fabulously for females in our own time. She was a girl that wasn't perfect or flawless, she was a full figured female and she was beautiful. She lived life through her heart instead of her mind and although that would eventually lead to her downfall, I think she was absolutely amazing. This novel describes well how Marilyn grew into fame, burned bright before the silver screen and how her life was cut short way too soon.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Excellent biography In no way does this book deserve only 1-2 stars. I found this biography to be utterly engrossing from start to finish. Extremely factual and well researched. This is a fascinating and sympathetic portrait of Marilyn with deep insights especially of her marriages and career, and her time in New York at the Actors Studio. I can't praise this book enough but I believe it is over-priced on Kindle. I bought it when it was on sale and I would not have bought it for $12+. I really wo Excellent biography In no way does this book deserve only 1-2 stars. I found this biography to be utterly engrossing from start to finish. Extremely factual and well researched. This is a fascinating and sympathetic portrait of Marilyn with deep insights especially of her marriages and career, and her time in New York at the Actors Studio. I can't praise this book enough but I believe it is over-priced on Kindle. I bought it when it was on sale and I would not have bought it for $12+. I really won't pay that for any e-book. Hope you can find it when the price goes down as it's a great read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I decided to give this book 3.5 stars, 4 was too many but 3 seems too low. This is a very detailed, well researched biography about Marilyn. At times while reading this I wondered if the author is actually a Marilyn fan, this biography wasn't very personal about Marilyn...it almost just showed the business side at times. Now I feel like I know more about Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller then I ever intended to. There is a lot of good information about Marilyn thats worth reading if you're a big fan I decided to give this book 3.5 stars, 4 was too many but 3 seems too low. This is a very detailed, well researched biography about Marilyn. At times while reading this I wondered if the author is actually a Marilyn fan, this biography wasn't very personal about Marilyn...it almost just showed the business side at times. Now I feel like I know more about Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller then I ever intended to. There is a lot of good information about Marilyn thats worth reading if you're a big fan like myself, but if you just want a biography on Marilyn and only plan to read only one, I'd read "The Secret Life of Marilyn" or "Marilyn Monroe: The Biography" by Donald Spoto.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    It's hard to say exactly how to rate this one. For a book about Marilyn Monroe, the author chose the odd approach of focusing on the people around Monroe to try and illuminate her subject, rather than focusing on Monroe herself. There is a fair amount of pop psychology mixed with what is obviously the author's opinion, not fact itself. At times it feels more like a polemic against Arthur Miller than a Marilyn Monroe biography. The distasteful nature of Marilyn's life aside, the writing makes for It's hard to say exactly how to rate this one. For a book about Marilyn Monroe, the author chose the odd approach of focusing on the people around Monroe to try and illuminate her subject, rather than focusing on Monroe herself. There is a fair amount of pop psychology mixed with what is obviously the author's opinion, not fact itself. At times it feels more like a polemic against Arthur Miller than a Marilyn Monroe biography. The distasteful nature of Marilyn's life aside, the writing makes for a very mediocre volume.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    For a book about Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn herself speaks very little. The book opens with expectant men who hope to make use of her and ends with ex-lovers who have used her. That in itself seems to be the book's agenda: to portray a woman in the center of the (predominantly) masculine machinations of Hollywood, a victim who nevertheless propels herself toward destruction due to her chronic (and understandable) refusal to trust the best intentions of others. It's a compelling and sympathetic port For a book about Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn herself speaks very little. The book opens with expectant men who hope to make use of her and ends with ex-lovers who have used her. That in itself seems to be the book's agenda: to portray a woman in the center of the (predominantly) masculine machinations of Hollywood, a victim who nevertheless propels herself toward destruction due to her chronic (and understandable) refusal to trust the best intentions of others. It's a compelling and sympathetic portrait we are presented with, even as it doggedly marches on toward disintegration and downfall.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Graceann

    Please see my detailed review at Amazon Graceann's "Marilyn Monroe" Review" I go on at *great* length as to my problems with this biography. It is really the Arthur Miller story - it starts with their first meeting in 1951 and finishes with his staging of After the Fall in 1964. Her face sells the book, but it's really a bait and switch. Read the Amazon review to see what I mean. Please see my detailed review at Amazon Graceann's "Marilyn Monroe" Review" I go on at *great* length as to my problems with this biography. It is really the Arthur Miller story - it starts with their first meeting in 1951 and finishes with his staging of After the Fall in 1964. Her face sells the book, but it's really a bait and switch. Read the Amazon review to see what I mean.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I read this book in 9th grade. We had to do a book report on a biography and I chose to read about the life of Miss Marilyn Monroe. This book is incredible - it does an excellent job of giving readers a peek at the heart and soul of one of Hollywood's most famous leading ladies. If you're interested in the life of Marilyn Monroe, in old Hollywood or if you just enjoy biographies in general, I really recommend this read!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Erin Tanner

    I've read a lot of books about Marilyn and this one was very different. This novel I think talked more about the behind the scenes of her career and more about her emotional problems, rather than just her scandals. After reading this novel I feel a new sense of sadness for Marilyn. I wish there had been one constant person in Marilyn's life to let her know that she was good enough and didn't need to prove anything to anyone.

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