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Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye [Hardcover]

David Ritz
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mar 1985
}In this intimate biography of the Prince of Soul, David Ritz provides a candid look at a star and a friend. Ritz had been working on Gayes story for several years before the singers tragic death, and had conducted a series of extraordinary interviews in which Gaye discussed his deepest secrets. Drawing from these interviews, Gayes life is recounted in his own words and the words of those who knew him best: his family, friends, and colleagues. What emerges is a full-scale portrait of a charming but tortured artist, a brilliant singer with a divided soul. Here is Marvins story, from his early years as an abused child in the slums of Washington, D.C., through his rise to the top of the Motown industry, his fall from grace, and his comeback, to his death at the hands of his own father. But it is also the story of his music, and the music of Black America over the past four decadesfrom gospel to doo-wop to soul to funk. The result is an epic tale whose cast of characters includes Diana Ross, Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder, among others.The definitive biography of an enormously gifted and sensitive man, Divided Soul takes us deep into the life and music of one of Americas most soulfuland most troubledsingers. }
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill (Mar 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070529299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070529298
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,099,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
Marvin's father-Marvin Pentz Gay, Sr., the third of thirteenth children-was born on a farm along Catnip Hill Pike in Jessamine Country, Kentucky, on October 1, 1914. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I carried this book with me for two weeks before plucking up the courage to get reading. The sombre, painful picture of Marvin on the cover, looking at the North Sea from Ostend and the inevitable sad ending making me hesitate - with and without good reason.
Ritz's book proved excellent fast paced reading and dug deep in the torment and paranoia Marvin felt from his first brush of success to his untimely death at the trigger finger of his lifetime nemesis, his father.
The book was gripping - as any good and great that Marvin achieved soon morphed into bad and poor in his own mind and into his acts of masochism that followed.
Although, being of course a huge Marvin fan, the book was rarely a pleasureable read it projected a truth and reality that was believable of a musician who's genius in undisputable.
Four stars - great!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Being a great fan of the late Marvin Gaye, I thoght that Divided Soul was a true work of great quality. Not only does it reveal the struggles and battles that Marvin had within himself but it shows the true nature of terrible side of success and life. This book opens the mind in that it shows Marvin behind the scenes and out of the public eye. Marvin Gaye was and always will be remembered as an innovator, leader, and genious with one downfall......a truly DIVIDED SOUL. This is one of the most interesting books that I have read in that it captures your full and total attention from the very beginnig. Marvin was full of life, love, and confusion and yet only needed love to be shown to him....a price to pay for success! This book will make you look at yourself and be humble!! The world lost a great soul the dya that Marvin Penz Gaye died!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I've just finished _Divided Soul_ and it gave me an insight into Marvin's rollercoaster world that I had never dreamed he endured (and caused). The book is simultaneously informative, candid, and sad. At times, Marvin's behavior is so arrogant that I had to quit reading. Yet, I found myself crying at the end as I read the final seconds of Gaye's all too brief life. Ritz is a keen observer who gives fair and objective accounts of such prominent figures in Marvin's life as Berry Gordy and Anna Gaye. This book has definitely opened my eyes to the divided soul of the beautiful Marvin Gaye.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
"Divided Soul" thoughtfully illustrates the life of Marvin Gaye through the eyes of an objective and perceptive observer.

Author Ritz reflects Gaye's life with honesty and candor. Ritz had been Marvin's biographer and friend for many years, and the countless hours they spent together shows through in the very personal and in-depth look into the life of Motown's most popular and controversial male artist.

This book offers very interesting candid insight into Marvin Gaye's life from birth to his untimely death, and is highly recommended reading.

Review by Son Dexter
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book about an even greater musical genius. 14 Aug 1999
By A Customer
David Ritz did a wonderful job at portraying one of the greatest entertainer of all time. He was able to recount all of Gaye's troubles and how this reflected with Gaye's brilliance as a musical genius. It was so sad and tragic to read Gaye's unending strugle with his inner demons, his fear of performing and of his own self, who never really was ever content with his life, dispite all that he'd accomplished. Ritz recounted all this in a masterful way and evokes images that is tragic, sad and at times brilliant, just like Marvin Gaye's life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truely a Divided Man 27 Aug 1998
By A Customer
One of the best biographies around concerning the highs and lows of the music business. Marvin story mirrors the struggle for expression found in the 60s which culminated in the all-time classic album "What's Going On". Sadly, Marvin also mirrors the decadent decline of 60's idealism into 70's excess and drug addiction. But wow, what a singer, and what a complicated man. Ritz captures the tangled complexity and thus the appeal of Marvin and his music.
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