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Icon: The Life, Times, and Films of Marilyn Monroe Volume 1 1926 to 1956 [Paperback]

Gary Vitacco-Robles
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 27.00
Price: 24.30 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Mar 2014
Goddess...Legend...Icon... You thought you knew her...but never before like this. Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) survived a childhood marked by abuse, neglect, & chaos to become a psychological, cultural, & spiritual phenomenon of the Twentieth Century. Her remarkable life, brilliant film career, & posthumous legend have been deconstructed in over 600 biographies. Psychotherapist & author Gary Vitacco-Robles reframes & redefines the fascinating woman behind the iconic image through an analysis of her psyche and an appreciation of her film & stage performances. After a decade of meticulous research, Vitacco-Robles offers a treasure trove of facts comprehensively documenting each year of Monroe's inspiring life within the context of her tumultuous times & through her relationships with literary, entertainment, & political figures. Monroe is resurrected a half-century after her tragic death in this detailed & sensitive biography which intelligently explores her passionate desires: to be loved, become a serious actress, & have a family. Based upon interviews, diaries, & personal files--and void of sensationalism--Icon: The Life, Times, & Films of Marilyn Monroe dispels many myths & reveals the ultimate truth about Hollywood's most charismatic, beloved, & enduring star.


Product details

  • Paperback: 788 pages
  • Publisher: BearManor Media (6 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593935544
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593935542
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,035,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gary's latest Marilyn tome 31 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
another great book by Gary on our beloved Marilyn, waiting patiently for Vol 2 ( end of summer '14?). my only slight criticism is that the prose could have been better proof-read, some silly basic grammatical errors that just take the edge off of an otherwise engrossing read!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor 18 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I couldn't believe there was not a single photograph inside. I wish I hadn't purchased it and will probably give it to a charity shop!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compassionate, Complete and Moving Biography 18 April 2014
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962, yet she has remained alive in the minds and hearts of people throughout the world ever since. While 600 books have been published about the actress, Gary Vitacco-Robles’ biography, Icon: The Life, Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe, is a prodigious achievement that could easily doom the efforts of all others to obscurity.

Meticulously research, Vitacco-Robles digs for all the details; i.e. Marilyn’s attire, choices in reading, housekeeping habits — the minutia that is part of her day-to-day existence. The result is that the reader experiences Monroe almost as if she draws breath, steps out of the pages and comes into the house to chat.

With a sturdy, straightforward prose style, the author takes a balanced, compassionate, approach to his subject. He begins with Ms. Monroe’s great-grandparents and traces her lineage through her out-of-wedlock birth to a mother who was hospitalized off and on throughout her life due to mental illness. Marilyn is shunted from household to household as a child. By the time she attains age 16, she is a ward of no less than 12 different caretakers. The impact of being abandoned, rejected, and abused is beyond calibrating.

Vitacco-Robles, a psychotherapist, reports objectively about the damage done Marilyn during her nightmarish childhood. About one of Marilyn’s early successes, he writes:

"The little girl who had never been told she was pretty and who bathed in the dirty water left behind by others, now commanded attention. There was no turning back."

At another critical point in the text, he observes:

"Marilyn compensated for her lack of parental support by endearing herself to motherly and fatherly figures who could help her attain her dream of becoming an actress . . . Acting had now become more a religious calling to Marilyn, and like spirituality, it provided her with purpose and meaning."

The author offers clear insights as Marilyn matures and confronts her demons. He avoids the jargon of his profession and debunks many of the unsubstantiated claims of others. Marilyn, it turns out, did go into psychoanalysis very intensively at one time. In addition, she began working with Lee Strasberg in Actor’s Studio where she was required to delve deeply into her own emotional past to give power to her performances. She eventually gives up on her therapy sessions because she decides that they are not good for her. Strasberg and his wife, however, nurture her to her strongest film achievements.

The book is filled with quotes from the greatest stage and screen actors and directors of the era testifying to Marilyn’s power and sensitive delivery in her roles. She was, and often still is, seen only as a dumb blond, a sex symbol, but the author breaks through this stereotyping to depict Marilyn Monroe as an incomparable artist.
The author reminds his readers of the prevailing cultural values of the times. These references provide a backdrop of relevance to his subject’s struggles and triumphs. He presents a synopsis of all of the films in which Marilyn appeared, even those in which she had bit parts, and for good measure provides much more detail on each in an addendum. He takes the time to draw poignant thumbnail bios on many Hollywood personalities – actors, directors, producers, hairdressers, coaches – helping readers viscerally grasp the impact of Marilyn’s interactions with the people around her.

The book takes Marilyn’s story up to 1956, a year in which she goes over the top and finally achieves the recognition her hard work and extraordinary talent have earned. The author reports on Marilyn’s three marriages, giving a studied, objective view into each. Her first marriage to James Dougherty was arranged by her legal guardian when she was only 16 years of age. He abandoned her for the merchant marine. Then along came Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper, who was physically abusive, controlling, and jealous. The reader is treated to a good dose of adolescent behavior on the part of DiMaggio and Sinatra as the latter goads the ballplayer into breaking into an apartment one night where they expect to find Marilyn in bed with another. The author adds credence to his reports by using the testimony of friends close to Marilyn in writing about such incidents.

Nitpicking, the text is nearly flawless except in the handling of some proper names. Bennett Cerf is correct; not Bennett Cert. Bob Fosse; not Fob Fosse. And finally, is Miller’s home on “Goldmine Road” or “Gladmine Road?”

This review covers only volume one which ends with the marriage between Arthur Miller and Ms. Monroe, an event that surprised many at the time but makes perfectly good sense once those unacquainted with both parties grow to know them better. The second volume, according to the publisher, is due out at the end of the summer, 2014. Vitacco-Robles has written a monumental, definitive work on one of greatest actresses and enduring public personalities of all time. The next volume will carry Marilyn’s story forward to her untimely death in 1962. Readers have every right to expect that the same balanced, compassionate treatment will follow the actress through to what ultimately must be viewed as a horrible tragedy.

This review was initially written for bookpleasures.com.

John J. Hohn Author of the novel "Deadly Portfolio: A Killing in Hedge Funds"
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful book! 20 May 2014
By Chris Kawryga - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even if you have read every piece of information about Marilyn Monroe you must read this book. The details given in this biography are unbelievable. They bring so much realism that while reading this book the "movie star" becomes a real person, one you feel you know personally. The book has such a warm and comfortable flow that you just can't put it down. Due to the author's profession we gain new (and sad) insight to Marilyn's young years. I am anxiously awaiting Volume II. The author has done his subject proud.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating read! 12 May 2014
By C. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is full of great information without a lot of the bull that plagues many MM bios. I love the psychological insight into Ms. Monroe's character. The author knows his stuff. Its obvious that the book was meticulously researched as the details are very interesting. I would recommend this as a good place to start for those new to MM. I would have given this book 5 stars but the spelling errors and typos were distracting. But despite this, Icon is an enjoyable and thought provoking read. Marilyn is presented here in an honest way. The detail provided about her life, makes her seem so accessible and relatable. Looking forward to the next installment.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book.... 2 April 2014
By Shauna L. Bradley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It was one of the most touching and honest look at Marilyn Monroe's life..I couldnt stop reading it... I cant wait for Volume 2
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