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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that gives due credit to a master
Bruce Thomas author of the book has gone to extreme lengths to make this book a good read. He has succeeded, this book is a masterpiece in its own right, not just because of the subject matter but because of the way the story of an important person has been told. After reading this book i felt i had a little more knowledge and insight on not only the master himself but...
Published on 22 Jan. 2002 by jimmy.dodger@btopenworld.com

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but "recycled"
This is a good biography to read on Bruce especially if you have not read much of the other Bruce Lee biographies. If you are a hardcore fan and have read most books on Bruce then you will probabaly detect that most material in this book is just recycled 'old' material from other books, magaiznes and documentaries etc. This means theres not much new of interest to the...
Published on 23 Jun. 2009 by JO BLOGS


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that gives due credit to a master, 22 Jan. 2002
This review is from: Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit (Paperback)
Bruce Thomas author of the book has gone to extreme lengths to make this book a good read. He has succeeded, this book is a masterpiece in its own right, not just because of the subject matter but because of the way the story of an important person has been told. After reading this book i felt i had a little more knowledge and insight on not only the master himself but the history of cinema. (Both Hong Kong and Hollywood) Bruce Lee faced many put downs in his career, there was, for instance, the racism in the Hollywood studio system that kept him away from the big screen in the first place. When he finally reached an extraordinary amount of success in Hong Kong, America finally decided that he might be worth the investment.
From this book you will discover what actually drove Bruce to become what he was, a perfectionist. Someone who was always working, thinking or fighting. Agood read with lots of information.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well balanced account of Lee's life and work, 22 Feb. 2002
This review is from: Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit (Paperback)
The authour is a musician by trade and has an insight into the price of fame, a theme which runs throughout this book. Split into three sections the book outlines Lee's life, his relationship with women and his fighting spirit.
Lee's biography has been told and re-told many times but Thomas is not afraid to portray Lee as a somewhat tragic figure. Always looking to be accepted but never really achieving world wide fame until after his death. At times his self confidence spills over to arrogance and Thomas deals with Lee's complex character in a well researched and balanced way. However, it is the role of Lee as a martial artist and his rejection of traditional methods which led to the creation of Jeet Kune Do, which is more interesting.
One draw back is that many of the quotes attributed to Lee and others are widely taken from many videos available, but as a single volume account of the life of one of cinemas and martial arts true icons the book is an excellent starting point for anyone looking into the life of a man who died 30 years ago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent biography, 6 Aug. 2008
By 
Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit

I remember being a fascinated 7 year old boy reading in a magazine about Bruce Lee only to see in the paper a few weeks later that he was dead. Hard to believe today but his death reached notoriety of `Elvis' proportions in the 70s and that controversy has helped cement Bruce's fame in the collective psyche for all these years, often for all the wrong reasons.

It is, therefore, puzzling that 35 years later there is still only one REAL biography of Bruce Lee. And this is it. Due to the controversial nature of Lee's martial arts, and some would say his death, most books about him fall into the `Marylin/Elvis/Hendrix' category of here-say, conjecture and sensationalism or deal with only specific times or areas of Bruce Lee's life.
This book, however, avoids all the pitfalls and concentrates on the facts. It is a wonderfully written book, obviously written with love and admiration but not, one hastens to add, any degree of sycophancy. Whilst it may be measured and discreet the author doesn't flinch from the more awkward aspects of Bruce's character nor his sometimes volatile and unpredictable relationships.

Bruce Thomas' updated version of Fighting Spirit not only surpasses his original it exceeds it in everyway without losing any of the sincerity or honesty of its predecessor. It concentrates equally on Bruce's early life and subsequent path to fame as it does on his development as a marshal artist

It is a cautionary tale of one mans obsession with his art and his desire to spread marshal arts and its philosophy to the west whilst coupled with a burning desire for fame and fortune. It is also an excellent analysis of the sometimes contradictory nature of Bruce's character.

There are a lot of the `missing details' of Bruce's final months and as always the ending of many of our heroes is largely more straight forward and less sinister than many people would care to believe. It is sad that there is something about the common human nature that cannot accept that our heroes are fallable and that only sinister, machievellian or supernatural endings may befall them. However, as in most cases, we are finally allowed to consider the facts (that have always been there to those who wish to look) and see that Bruce's death was in fact preventable in many ways, if not by more timeous action on the part of others then, in the initial instance, by more judiscous attention to his own well being by himself.

Whilst ultimately a very sad tale of a spectacular life cut short in its prime the book manages to inspire respect and awe at both Bruce's commitment and talent and also to give an insight into the creation of a new style of marshal art and the philosophy that goes along with it. In depth explanations of Bruce's root training and the true meaning of jeet kune do (in reality a marshal art which complements and adds to the training of other accomplished marshal artists rather than something that can be seen as an entity of itself.) are provided in a complimentary and clearly explained way which I am sure Bruce would have approved of himself.
Thomas' comparisons between music and JKD are enlightening and help a lay person understand why it was so controversial and at the same time so revolutionary. It also shows clearly that there where marshal arts before Bruce Lee and marshal arts after and that things have never quite been the same since.
I can find only one criticism and that is that the book is probably too short, although I'm sure that non prolific book readers will find the page count fine and anyway maybe Mr Thomas will come back and make additions in the future?

A book that's worth every penny whether you're interested in marshal arts or not. It will be going on my shelf next to Guralnick's bio of Elvis, Andersons Ché and Tony Fletchers Dear Boy .. it's THAT good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In-depth, 19 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit (Paperback)
This was really detailed and contained a lot of background information and interviews with people who knew or were around Bruce Lee. This is probably the clearest, sanest account of the man's life you'll get. Also has the best suggestion i've heard about how he died.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational..., 13 May 2008
By 
Stuart Smith "thecybermod" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit (Paperback)
I found this amazing book inspirational and very moving - I couldn't help but feel frustrated wondering how someone as special as Bruce, someone with such a pure soul, warmth, intelligence and thoughtful nature dedicated to achieving physical & spiritual perfection could be distracted and ultimately destroyed by the cheap, superficial tackiness of Hollywood and garish 60's & 70's US TV shows, a world that was so at odds with what he was all about and what he spent years training to achieve - a world that was so much beneath him. He went from a pure vision - the pursuit of superhuman skill as a martial artist, meditation and green tea - to smoking hash, drinking liquidised steaks for strength and stressing himself out to the point of illness trying to get film & TV ideas off the ground. He comes across as a genuine, really likeable guy - his story is so poignant but ultimately there is nothing tragic about Bruce Lee. He was so full of life, a firework that blazed across the sky for a short time and disappeared. This is the definitive portrait of Bruce Lee and I doubt very much that it could be bettered. It's a book that can actually change your life.
Hats off to both the Bruces (Lee & Thomas!)
-Stuart, Glasgow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Boss of Bruce Lee Biographies!, 19 Mar. 2009
I have read many biographies on Bruce Lee over the last 15 years and 'Fighting Spirit' by Bruce Thomas is by far the best and most believable. You can see his devotion to Bruce Lee, his obsession with the man, he has done his research and it shows, you trust the man who is writing on the page.

If you want to know as much as you can about martial arts greatest ever star, this book is the perfect way to start, you won't get everything from this book, but, you will get a fantastic insight into the mind of a very special man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, 7 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit (Paperback)
Bruce Thomas has perfectly captured the philosophy behind Bruce Lee's extraordinary ability in the martial arts and creating
'Jeet Kun Do'. Bruce Lee did this through studying the philosophy of various ancient Asian martial arts and combining them together to unintentionaly create 'jeet kun Do' which is still studied to the present day.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Clowntime is over..., 10 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit (Paperback)
In a recent article for The Daily Mirror Tony Parson's wrote that "not all the Chinese have a stake in the country's new found prosperity but every single one of them has a stake in the Beijing Olympics". A cursory glance in the year-view mirror reminds us that, up until these last few post-empire decades, the Chinese, viewed through these now dimming lens of colonialism, were rendered a nation of waiters, laundry workers and villains; so it's hardly surprising that this global scale event should be embraced so passionately with a view of saying to the world "Look how far we've come." But the true genesis of this particular brand of pan-cultural re-calibration had already taken place back in 1971 with a movie called Tang Shan Da Xiong (The Big Boss) and an actor called Bruce Lee.

To describe Lee as a cultural phenomenon is an understatement and inevitably legends are built on myths which grow more fantastic with every telling. His four completed works defined martial arts movies for all time and his unfinished opus Game of Death is basically the template for computer gaming which now, of course, informs much of modern action movie making; add `visionary innovator' to Lee's curriculum vitae.

This oft maligned icon has suffered much in death but has been redeemed somewhat by the sober and highly respectful biography `Fighting Spirit' from Bruce Thomas who is perhaps better known as the geeky and underrated bass player with Elvis Costello's Attractions. Thomas, as it turns out, is also a disciple of Lee's own fluid style of Kung Fu known as Jeet Kun Do (Way of the Intercepting fist) - clearly not a geek to be messed with.
Thomas' Fighting Spirit is the story of Siu Lung (Little Dragon) and his metamorphosis from child actor to teenage hoodlum; from martial artist to international superstar and media martyrdom at thirty two. It deals extensively with Lee's personal philosophy and the constant evolution of his art - and on reading Fighting Spirit you do come to appreciate that beyond the `chop socky' conventions of the movies which defines the form - Kung Fu is indeed an art.
Chapters examining Lee's philosophy inevitably verge into `ah Grasshopper' territory; "Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend." But much of Lee's impish humour comes through with the no less insightful "A punch in the mouth is a punch in the mouth."

As much as that now iconic image back in `89 of a lone student hindering the progress of a tank in Tinneman Square, the mise-en-scene that we most associate with China is Bruce Lee streaked with blood in a hall of mirrors from Enter the Dragon. As the political sturm und drang of the Tibetan conflict threaten to engulf the event, Parson's assertion that Olympiad 2008 is a demonstration of national pride and a chance to say to the world "You can't look down on us anymore" - the fact of the matter is - the world hasn't looked down on China since Bruce Lee.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, 18 Jan. 2008
By 
Mr. B. Doherty "Brendan" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit (Paperback)
I'm not an avid fan of reading and read this book as a fan of Bruce Lee, however I couldnt put this down. You really should read this book. I found Bruce Lee to be insightful and also found that the author found insight from Bruce's story which will also in return on the reader.

The Book I feel gives a well balance view of Bruce Lee's life and gave me a good account of what may have actually happened to the tragic end of such an amazing person.

Must read this book !!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but "recycled", 23 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit (Paperback)
This is a good biography to read on Bruce especially if you have not read much of the other Bruce Lee biographies. If you are a hardcore fan and have read most books on Bruce then you will probabaly detect that most material in this book is just recycled 'old' material from other books, magaiznes and documentaries etc. This means theres not much new of interest to the hardcore fan. However, if you are a new fan or a casual one then this book will be beneficial to you.
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Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit
Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit by Bruce Thomas (Paperback - 7 Feb. 1997)
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