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Starman: David Bowie - The Definitive Biography [Hardcover]

Paul Trynka
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Mar 2011
David Bowie - famously described as rock's greatest chameleon - has lived an extraordinary life. From his early years in post-war, bombed out Brixton to a troubled later childhood in Bromley, to the decadent glamour of Ziggy Stardust to his controversial Berlin period, Bowie's life has been filled with drama. One of our most fascinating stars, his story has never been satisfactorily told until now. Paul Trynka has interviewed over two hundred friends, ex-lovers and fellow musicians in order to write the definitive biography of Bowie. The result is a compelling, intimate and revealing book that will appeal to Bowie's millions of fans around the world.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (3 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847442382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847442383
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Fascinating (The Times)

Sharp, elegant and convincing (Mojo)

The most complete and compelling portrait of Bowie's life ever assembled (Rolling Stone)

The diamond dog's bollocks . . . boasting countless new interviews with key players . . . the first Bowie book to get as close as possible to the essence of the man (Record Collector)

Superb (Mail on Sunday) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

David Bowie is one of our greatest icons. This is the definitive biography. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I enjoyed Paul Trynka's warts and all bio of Iggy Pop and this is an equally worthy assessment of his mentor, peer, friend and inspiration, the uniquely talented boy wonder from Bromley. David Bowie's rise from the Mod psychedelic blues rock scene of late 1960s London to "voice of a generation" is already the stuff of legend. Trynka tracks the various phases of Bowie's chameleon-like career with some impeccable research.

I was particularly interested in his 70s period where he rose from a young hustler pushing songs down Tin Pan Alley, thirsting after fame at any cost and competing with his peers like Marc Bolan for pop success, to eventually eclipsing the latter with three of the greatest rock records of all time "Hunky Dory", "Ziggy Stardust" and "Aladdin Sane", thereby not only launching androgynous 70s glam rock but also inspiring genres to come later like punk, new wave, the 80s new romantics and even Brit Pop.

The book is particularly good on the mid 70s phase of Bowie's career when, after killing off Ziggy Stardust and the glam catsuits, he flirted with American soul and collaborated with art rockers like Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. Trynka offers a lot of interesting anecdotal details about the darkest period of Bowie's life, his heavy cocaine use, flirtation with fascist imagery, periodic dabblings in black magic and corporate management bust ups, including with his svengali like manager Tony Defries. All this shaped his highly experimental Berlin albums like "Station to Station" and concided with highly acclaimed forays into acting e.g in Nick Roeg's cult sci fi classic "The Man Who Fell to Earth" and "The Elephant Man" on stage, generally regarded at the time as a revelation of another side to the man's talents.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
By Stephen Lloyd VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I liked this book a lot. When a biographer chooses an artist of Bowie's standing and stature as their subject expectations will be high.

Let's be honest, prolific and successful musicians who have reached Bowie's age have volumes of biographies on the shelves. It must be increasingly difficult to inject anything new into the story particularly when a lot of the main players are no longer with us. Without input from the man himself any new book should rightly be judged on the quality of the writing and in the analysis of the career.

In my opinion Trynka has served his subject very well indeed. I have read most of the significant Bowie texts and there were still some anecdotal details within `Starman' I had previously been unfamiliar with. Trynka documents his research in some detail, chapter by chapter, so there is good indication here that he's done his work.

As a Bowie biography `Starman' is easily up there with the cream on the bookshelves. True, it does not contain the minuscule detail evident in the Pegg and Cann publications but they are in fact reference books not biographies and it is unfair to make comparison.

The reader's expectations of a biography are entirely different to that of a reference manual. One provides a flowing informative narrative (story!) whilst the other is an informative, accessible document to be perused whenever required for detail and verification.

As far as I'm concerned this is a book which I have no hesitation in recommending to the hard core Bowie fan as well as to the marginally interested. For those who care, Trynka's book on Iggy `Open up and bleed' is also worthy of your hard earned cash. Again, the research and quality of the writing readily drawing you in.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well balanced and very well written 26 Mar 2012
By Spooky
Have just finished reading Starman. What a totally fabulous book, superbly written. I felt that the whole flow was pitched correctly, it neither fawned to the man's obvious talent, nor derided his flaws as a human being (being a human being has its flaws for everybody, after all)

Cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic addition to Bowie literature 21 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read just about everything on David Bowie and followed his career for almost 40 years, and I still discovered new things in this great book, which I couldn't put down.
Well-written, without flannel to fill it, and the author clearly cares about and loves the subject.
There have been several books on Bowie that seemed like cut'n'paste jobs or simply repeated what us fanatics had already read elsewhere, but not Paul Trynka's book.
Excellent and, for DB fans and those with just a bit more than a passing interest, this will prove a revealing, insightful read.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly the definitive biography 20 Mar 2011
I was a massive Bowie fan from Space Oddity onwards, and carried Ziggy Stardust around South London in my damp and excited teenage hand, like some Christian convert with their first copy of the Bible. So, many decades later, I started this book with a sense of expectation, hoping to learn a few more secrets about one of our greatest musical talents. I'm pleased to say it delivered everything I hoped for and more.

I think this is an exceptionally well researched and brilliantly pieced together biography. Trynka has a very lucid style, and a great angle on Bowie; outlining his unique ability to steal and completely transform unlikely musical sources, to create new personas in an idiom which had, hitherto, been the province of close knit bands or solo artists. Bowie defied all categories, because of his rare intelligence and his mercurial nature. He really was a completely new phenomenon for the time, which was why he was so magical to those of us who loved him and were transformed by his work.

If Bowie read this biog, I hope he would approve, because I feel Trynka has been fair to the man, and although, obviously a fan himself; has also been honest about his human frailties.

A really excellent read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy!
Another definitive biography of Mr Bowie, but worthy of a space on your bookshelf!
Published 3 days ago by APBrown
1.0 out of 5 stars DREADFUL
This is a book for trainspotters, the trainspotters guide to David Bowie. Lists and lists and more lists, facts and figures pages of dullness. Read more
Published 5 months ago by SugarPuffLips
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read
I think this is the most detailed and complete David Bowie bio I've ever read - a must for any fan!
Published 11 months ago by Simon Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read and some nice pix
I have only read up to just before the Ziggy era when he met his first wife, but its an interesting read and well written, and look forward to my train journeys to and from work... Read more
Published 12 months ago by June
5.0 out of 5 stars Teen age Bowie Fan Ziggy days
Seen the documentarys, but there was some info in this book that I did not know. ie John I'm only dancing and where the lirics came from. A must for Bowie music fans. Read more
Published 13 months ago by M Holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
Lots of interesting information about young Mr Bowie. Rare photos too, I recommend this book to all Bowie fans who need to know MORE about their hero
Published 15 months ago by Chris Carry
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This is an easy read. Always want to start the next chapter, which is a good sign.
Plenty of detail without getting bogged down in lists and statistics.
Published 16 months ago by A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT!
A facinating biography. Paul Trynka uses statements and storys of the friends and colleagues of Bowie to build a picture of a complex character and personality which develops as... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Patricia Jamieson
5.0 out of 5 stars really happy with this book
The delivery was fast & was really happy with the book. It was a present for my mum whos a big fan & would recommend it to anyone whos a fan or just enjoys a good read!
Published 20 months ago by zoŽ
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book something for everyone
It's a great read and for a change offers something new to the avid Bowie obsessed reader. It's chock full of tasty tidbits from Bowie's early years and through the 70's. Read more
Published on 15 July 2012 by Mr. C Coulson
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