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The Final Years of Marilyn Monroe: The Amazing True Story Hardcover – Illustrated, 25 Sep 2010
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About the Author
Keith Badman has written biographies on the Beatles and The Beach Boys: An awesome piece of scholarship a bible' NME; Much nearer the truth' The Beatles' official biographer, Hunter Davies
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This isn't because the book is short on facts! The author has been astonishingly thorough in searching out detailed information on the last months in the star's life. For instance, when Marilyn flew by plane the book includes the flight numbers, tells us where there were stop-overs (if there were any), tells us when the flight touched down (to the minute), and who was there to meet her, sometimes even the cost of the ticket.
In extraordinary detail we are frequently told exactly what she wore, who did her hair and when, (and emphatically told who didn't do it), we are told the colour of her phones and the length of the phone wires, we are told about her front-door, what sort of nails decorated it (and name of the man who hammered them in), which company supplied a hire-car, how much the ride cost (and sometimes the name of the driver), exactly what Marilyn ordered from wine-merchants and delicatessens and precisely what the bills came to, and even the dates the bills were paid, and if they were paid by cheque....and...
For really devoted fans of Marilyn all this is fascinating information, simply because these facts are a link with Marilyn. However -interesting though all this detail may be- it didn't give me fresh understanding about Marilyn's identity, her nature as a human being, about her inner-self. And that's what REALLY interests me in a biography.
Other aspects of this book are more alarming. Alongside well-researched circumstantial detail, the book also includes a lot of freely-admitted supposition and surmise: what "probably" happened. This sort of thing -speculation- makes you feel uneasy. An enormous amount of sensational guesswork about Marilyn's personal life has developed over the years. It has grown across the known facts about her, and almost smothered the reality.
I am waiting for a study of Marilyn's life which relates ONLY the confirmed facts about her (and if this leaves gaps in the narrative because known facts are not there, then that's how it should be.) There has been far too much speculative comment about Marilyn and we can't see the wood for the trees. In this book for example, there is a horrifying description of imagined events at the Cal-Neva Lodge involving Marilyn: this description is exploitative and highly speculative, it does not merit inclusion in any serious work.
There are other kinds of mistakes. I'm no Hollywood expert but I know that the Cameraman who photographed Marilyn in "Something's Got to Give" was no less a person than William Daniels, the most respected cinematographer in the business (who photographed nearly all of Garbo's films). When the author refers to "Harry Daniels" as the cameraman, it made me wonder how much he knows about the movie business, and how many other mistakes there might be.
Again, he states with complete assertion that Marilyn never had an affair with either of the Kennedy brothers - and the 'research' for this is from one man who was also in the Donald Spoto book. ONE MAN. Sorry but I need a little more convincing than that.
Do yourselves a favour people - buy th excellent 'The Assination of Marilyn Monroe' and in one of the final chapter the auther (who has done his homework) speaks to a man who was actually there the night Marilyn died.
The author's research is meticulous and, drawing on documented evidence, quickly dispels some of the myths which have grown up about Marilyn's early childhood, her relationship with the studio executives, and of course with the Kennedy brothers. He examines the circumstances leading up to and following Marilyn's tragic death with a solid foundation of research and documentary evidence.
Overall a well written, well rearched book which is worthy of a place on the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in the life and death of this movie icon.
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on my 3rd read ...for any Marilyn fans out there it is a must have ...Read more