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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to take another look.
If you ask me Richard Burton is one of the finest actors ever to grace stage or screen but he seems to have been largely forgotten about as an actor and best remebered for his private life....
Indeed what made him a must see on the screen was in part due to the off screen image but how much of that was really him..Here in this book we find out.....

Melvin...
Published on 24 Jan 2009 by Amazon Customer

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fair Biography , not suitable for everyone
Before Buying this biography on amzon I looked at the other reviews.The reviews made my decision to buy this biograpy , but i must admit that the book did not live up to my expections. Being a Richard Burton fan for many years and having a wide knowledge of his work and his personal life i felt that this biography could have been much better.Although I acknowlegde that...
Published on 2 Sep 2010 by OceanRebekah


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to take another look., 24 Jan 2009
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If you ask me Richard Burton is one of the finest actors ever to grace stage or screen but he seems to have been largely forgotten about as an actor and best remebered for his private life....
Indeed what made him a must see on the screen was in part due to the off screen image but how much of that was really him..Here in this book we find out.....

Melvin Bragg wrote this only a few years after Burton sadly passed away in 1984 so memories were still fresh and rose tinted views really hadn't come into effect to much....
The book offers us the early life ,the first footsteps onto the stage,the film career,Hollywood,Liz,life after liz and sadly the aftermath of his death...
Every aspect of his life is represented well by Bragg,,i must say myself i really enjoyed the 1950's..Here you can get a taste for the theartre life back then and the fire which Burton had in him to be the best.
The main focus of the book though is the acess Bragg had to Burtons's diaries...What a rare insight we have into the world only a few of us will ever hget to live...It is wonderful,sad,funny and touching to read.

I bought this book 4 years ago and i always go back and read it once a year...I can't recommend the book enough and would love it to come out again ..perhaps with a new chapter on how Burton is remembered today... A reaprasing of his work is long overdue...
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good biography of one of Britains best actors, 23 Nov 2001
This book is one of the best biographies i have read. The only real let down is the style of the author. Mr Bragg tends to tell the reader everything that is going to happen before it actually does. All very well giving us a taste od whats to come but there is a limit.
The true star of this work is Richard Burton himself and his writing within it. Apparently he always wanted to be an author and the journals he wrote were to form the basis of an autobiography. From his own modest work one gets the impression that he was an incrediably well educated man with a gift for languages. Also a fantastic reader polishing off many books in a very short space of time.
I was impressed with the actor i had seen on screen but knew nothing about. It left me wondering if Liz Taylor's life has ever been complete since.....
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich: The Life of Richard Burton, 8 Aug 2010
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Still reading but nearly there. An excellent book and Mr Bragg has shown what an exceedingly good writer he is. It is a shame Mr Burton is no longer with us, I have certainly seen him in a new light - such a clever man in his own right and admired by many, shame the drink got in the way too often and he certainly adored Ms Taylor. I never new she suffered so much in her younger life too. I recommend this book to all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor Richard Burton - Trapped in a Elizabeth Taylor's Web, 15 July 2012
By 
John Fitzpatrick (São Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've read this book several times and always found Burton's own journals and notebooks more interesting than Bragg's rather plodding narrative with its cliché references to Burton as a Welsh chieftain storming down from the mountains to dazzle the English with his Celtic genius.

Burton was pretty good at being all things to all men. He combined the role of anti-establishment figure with that of a millionaire who was also a dining companion and house guest of aristocrats and high society types, the husband of the most glamorous movie star of her time, and the owner of a plane and plush homes.

His stage performances of classic plays were balanced out by money-spinning, pot-boiling action films and there was something vulgar about the way he and Elizabeth Taylor acted out their private lives on the front pages.

Despite this, his notebooks reveal an observant, intelligent and well-read man who seems to have become trapped in a web spun by Taylor. Life with her and her assorted children, dogs and hangers-on must have been hellish.

He writes lots of effusive comments about her which I suspect were put there for her to read and which are difficult to take seriously.

It is a pity that these journals have not been published as a separate volume.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 17 Aug 2010
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A detailed and in depth look at the early part of Burton's life. The book focuses on the 50s & 60s when Burton's star was in the ascendency and in the middle section takes a lot from his own diaries ('notebooks') which give a fascinating insight into the private and public life of this amazing character. Bragg has done a great job editing and appending the autobiographical stuff and does so in an insightful and sensitive way.

I would thoroughly recommend this for anyone interested in Burton himself, or more widely in the theatre and film world of the post-war era.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine biography of a supreme artist and tortured soul, 20 May 2012
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As a long time fan of that Welsh baritone voice and all round artistic genius of Richard Burton I found this book a compelling read. Bragg clearly wrote the book from a perspective of reverence and respect for the man and it is noteworthy that he avoided the usual temptations of the biographer to get into too much salacious detail about Burton sowing his wild oats in the early Hollywood days and the later amorous adventures when his marriage to Liz Taylor ran into trouble in the mid 70s.
Instead, the book stands as a well documented celebration of the scale of the man's talent as one of the finest British thespians of the 20th century, as well as his literary intellect and passion for the English language. Of course, Burton was a legendary hellraiser and the impact of all that high living, self indulgence and alcohol on his health (especially through the Taylor years) is well and truly laid bare, not least in Burton's own post-1969 notebooks to which Bragg was given access and which are generously quoted throughout.
Here was a bright boy from the Welsh valleys who was talent-spotted and groomed for stardom by good friends who cared about him (and he repaid them with generosity for years), blew everyone else away on the West End stage with his magnetism and charisma, made millions of dollars and spent them, married, loved and acted with a supreme Hollywood actress for 10 years, drank like a fish, smoked like a train, made some great films as well as several turkeys, was nominated for an Oscar 7 times without winning, and dined with the Duke of Windsor, Maria Callas and Robert Kennedy.
And yet he seemed to be only truly happy when he was on a stage, working with the likes of Gielgud, Olivier, O'Toole and Guinness (sometimes downing vodkas to steady his nerves before curtain time) and reciting Shakespeare sonnets and Dylan Thomas poems with his rugby buddies down the pub.
The young Burton arrived in Hollywood in the early 50s and was once invited to an A list party in Beverley Hills where, as usual on such occasions, everyone had to do a turn. He stood up and recited Hamlet's soliloquy in fluent Welsh. Hollywood's royalty watched him in stunned silence.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mabon, 18 Feb 2012
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Great service received less than 24 hours after ordering. Book in excellent condition. Melvyn Bragg's account of Richard Burton is a detailed and fascinating account of this great actor's life. Recommend to any Burton fan
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fair Biography , not suitable for everyone, 2 Sep 2010
Before Buying this biography on amzon I looked at the other reviews.The reviews made my decision to buy this biograpy , but i must admit that the book did not live up to my expections. Being a Richard Burton fan for many years and having a wide knowledge of his work and his personal life i felt that this biography could have been much better.Although I acknowlegde that this biography was written many years ago,I felt it was just made up of Richards Diary entries with little information inbetween. I also felt that there was a very bias view towards his realtionship with Elizabeth Taylor. Making Elizabeth appear like a villian who pressured Richard to make bad choices. Having said that I think it is a fair biography but not suitable for Hardcore Richard and Elizabeth Fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 13 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Rich: The Life of Richard Burton Ebook (Coronet Books) (Kindle Edition)
A very interesting and well written biography. What a tortured soul RB was. The extracts from the notebooks are particularly revealing. Would highly recommed. It.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unmissable, 27 April 2014
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A stunning biography of a complex and unforgettable man, written from the head and heart of another such man -
a work of huge research and love. Thank you,wouldn't have missed it for worlds.
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