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Bowie: Loving the Alien [Hardcover]

Christopher Sandford
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Nov 1996
A biography of rock musician David Bowie, which charts Bowie's eccentric lifestyle from his deprived and manic childhood, through top international stardom, androgyny and drug addiction, to critical acclaim as both a musician and an actor.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (7 Nov 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316879789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316879781
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 310,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Perceptively written. (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

A compelling and compulsive read for anyone interested in contemporary music, which I found very difficult to put down. (HULL DAILY MAIL)

Well reseached... paints a more complete picture than we have had before. (SUNDAY TIMES 'CULTURE')

Sandford has the edge. Plus he appears to have uncovered the true inspiration for the character of Major Tom, a revalation worth waiting all these years for. (THE LIST) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Christopher Sandford has followed, reviewed and written about rock music for 20 years. His biographies of Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Kurt Cobain and David Bowie have won him widespread critical acclaim. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a silly book... 20 July 2004
Unfortunately, this comes off as rather sensationalist... the author enjoys dwelling on emotional episodes and makes a fair amount of historical error... It's no Strange Fascination. It does, hoewver, have a brilliant set of centre photos, some of which I have yet to see elsewhere.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way Beyond Ziggy 13 Feb 2001
Of all the Bowie biographies ever penned, this is by far the best. Sandford avoids the trap of creating a huge mystical aura around his subject, neither does he become steeped in theory with regard to Bowie's numerous alter-egos. Instead we have a book that provides a concise chronologue of characters and experiences that shaped and inspired the most versatile artist in the rock realm. The struggle to gain recognition (far longer than many would imagine) the volatile first marriage and the significant peaks and troughs with long time musical cohort Mick Ronson are covered in depth. Influences such as Iggy, Reed and Warhol are given suitable credence and the insight into Bowie's relationship with his institutionalised half brother Terry Burns is particularly fascinating. A truly compelling read for fans and detractors alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh! 6 April 2013
By Lynne
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is full of factual inaccuracies and a HUGE ammount of what appears to be wild speculation and flights of imagination (far too numerous and tedious to mention)

The author claims that when he was young, David was "friendless" "a loner" "a bully" and "a fighter" at school (he also says at one point he was dirty and unkemt!!!) In all the books I have read about Bowie (many!) I have NEVER heard him described as any of these things.Basically his description of him at school is that of a strongly disliked, dirty, bully who liked to brawl in the street. Many, much better biographies, contain comments from his school teachers and school reports, which report that he was always pleasant and polite and very clean and neatly turned out and quite shy. He also had many friends, some of whom he reamined close to as an adult. These are facts which can easily be checked, how the author of this book missed this, I cannot comprehend.

He makes wild claims and attribes them to the likes of " a woman who used to pass him in the street when he lived at Haddon Hall" and numerous other unnamed individuals. He also quotes multiple sources, "who wish to remain nameless" , who claim one night stands with David and gives lurid details of his sexual prowess.

Throughout the book he portrays David as a mentally unstable (he even claims David was under the care of a psychiatrist at one time, but, conveniently, cannot back this statement up with any facts whatsoever) disorganised, cry baby and a deluded idiot. He also states, as fact, that David is "telepathic". A skill he apparently inherited from his mother!

I have absolutly no idea why this author chose to write a biography about someone he so clearly dislikes and who's work he is unimpressed by.

This is a ridiculous book and the worst, by a mile, bio of David Bowie I have read.
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By Mark
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There must be tons of other biographies of this amazingly interesting artist that are more generous and well-written than this sensationalist and speculative biography that focuses many times on Bowies sex-life and cocaine-habits. Even though understandably the partying is a pretty large part of his life, I'm sure there's lot's more than mere mentions of his involvement in diverse artistic endeavours.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars be surprised - very good Rock biography 21 April 2006
I'm no big fan of Bowie, though I do own a few albums. I was interested in reading the book as it is a chronicle of a lost time, when you could have a long career in music if you played the game the right way.

This book portrays the seventies very well, and Bowie's meteoric rise. In this day and age of one hit wonders and boy bands it is very interesting reading of an artist's career at the height of their creative powers.

This book is never slow and plodding, and is not a sycophantic fan book. The details are laid out quite logically and pragmatically, yet there is still a febrile story telling quality that conjures strong images of what it must be like to be David Bowie.
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