Bruce Lee: A Life by Matthew PollyBruce Lee: A Life by Matthew Polly

Bruce Lee: A Life

byMatthew Polly

Hardcover | June 5, 2018

see the collection Celebrity Biographies

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“The first noteworthy treatment of its subject—and a definitive one at that...Fascinating narrative threads proliferate.” —The New York Times Book Review

The most authoritative biography—featuring dozens of rarely seen photographs—of film legend Bruce Lee, who made martial arts a global phenomenon, bridged the divide between Eastern and Western cultures, and smashed long-held stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans.

Forty-five years after Bruce Lee’s sudden death at age thirty-two, journalist and bestselling author Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life. It’s also one of the only accounts; incredibly, there has never been an authoritative biography of Lee. Following a decade of research that included conducting more than one hundred interviews with Lee’s family, friends, business associates, and even the actress in whose bed Lee died, Polly has constructed a complex, humane portrait of the icon.

Polly explores Lee’s early years as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father’s struggles with opium addiction and how that turned Bruce into a troublemaking teenager who was kicked out of high school and eventually sent to America to shape up; his beginnings as a martial arts teacher, eventually becoming personal instructor to movie stars like James Coburn and Steve McQueen; his struggles as an Asian-American actor in Hollywood and frustration seeing role after role he auditioned for go to a white actors in eye makeup; his eventual triumph as a leading man; his challenges juggling a sky-rocketing career with his duties as a father and husband; and his shocking end that to this day is still shrouded in mystery.

Polly breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and argues that, contrary to popular belief, he was an ambitious actor who was obsessed with the martial arts—not a kung-fu guru who just so happened to make a couple of movies. This is an honest, revealing look at an impressive yet imperfect man whose personal story was even more entertaining and inspiring than any fictional role he played onscreen.
Title:Bruce Lee: A LifeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:656 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inPublished:June 5, 2018Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1501187627

ISBN - 13:9781501187629


Rated 1 out of 5 by from SUBSTANDARD BOOK “Bruce Lee, A Life” by Matthew Polly contains a lot of errors, biased commentaries and ridiculous claims (Jewish ancestry, death by heatstroke, etc.). I do concur with some reviews that the occurrence of errors is as high as one per page. Also, I found it irritating and unbecoming that Mr. Polly included so many verbatim conversations (seems like every page), the book read more like a fiction than a biography. This is a perfect example of reputable publisher such as Simon & Schuster is capable of producing lousy books.
Date published: 2019-03-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from FULL OF ERRORS I can’t recommend this book for several reasons. I agreed with the reviews of Dublin-based Irish Times and Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. The former called it a ‘Door Stopper’ while the latter called the book’s controversial claim of Lee’s death due to heatstroke bizarre. About 10% into the book, I had already found 21 factual errors and 16 contextual inaccuracies. I stopped counting after that. This ‘Door Stopper’ quip refers to the book’s size (656 pages), which is a result of the author’s liberal way in material selection and his fairly loose standards in fact-checking, evident in the level of errors and inaccuracies. Too many sidetrack stories with questionable relevancy were included, and most narrative was artificially stretched with unimportant details. The book is also filled with quoted dialogues but provided no substantiation as to the truthfulness of the spoken words – they’re no better than just documented hearsay. This book is a good attempt to provide a comprehensive biography of Lee, but poorly executed.
Date published: 2018-11-11

Editorial Reviews

"Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life...Bruce Lee: A Life breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and delivers a complex, humane portrait of the icon." —Entertainment Report