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Icon: The Life, Times, and Films of Marilyn Monroe Volume 1 1926 to 1956 (Hardback) (Anglais) Relié – 6 mars 2014

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Amazon.com: 18 commentaires
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Compassionate, Complete and Moving Biography 18 avril 2014
Par John - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962, yet she has remained alive in the minds and hearts of people throughout the world ever since. While 600 books have been published about the actress, Gary Vitacco-Robles’ biography, Icon: The Life, Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe, is a prodigious achievement that could easily doom the efforts of all others to obscurity.

Meticulously research, Vitacco-Robles digs for all the details; i.e. Marilyn’s attire, choices in reading, housekeeping habits — the minutia that is part of her day-to-day existence. The result is that the reader experiences Monroe almost as if she draws breath, steps out of the pages and comes into the house to chat.

With a sturdy, straightforward prose style, the author takes a balanced, compassionate, approach to his subject. He begins with Ms. Monroe’s great-grandparents and traces her lineage through her out-of-wedlock birth to a mother who was hospitalized off and on throughout her life due to mental illness. Marilyn is shunted from household to household as a child. By the time she attains age 16, she is a ward of no less than 12 different caretakers. The impact of being abandoned, rejected, and abused is beyond calibrating.

Vitacco-Robles, a psychotherapist, reports objectively about the damage done Marilyn during her nightmarish childhood. About one of Marilyn’s early successes, he writes:

"The little girl who had never been told she was pretty and who bathed in the dirty water left behind by others, now commanded attention. There was no turning back."

At another critical point in the text, he observes:

"Marilyn compensated for her lack of parental support by endearing herself to motherly and fatherly figures who could help her attain her dream of becoming an actress . . . Acting had now become more a religious calling to Marilyn, and like spirituality, it provided her with purpose and meaning."

The author offers clear insights as Marilyn matures and confronts her demons. He avoids the jargon of his profession and debunks many of the unsubstantiated claims of others. Marilyn, it turns out, did go into psychoanalysis very intensively at one time. In addition, she began working with Lee Strasberg in Actor’s Studio where she was required to delve deeply into her own emotional past to give power to her performances. She eventually gives up on her therapy sessions because she decides that they are not good for her. Strasberg and his wife, however, nurture her to her strongest film achievements.

The book is filled with quotes from the greatest stage and screen actors and directors of the era testifying to Marilyn’s power and sensitive delivery in her roles. She was, and often still is, seen only as a dumb blond, a sex symbol, but the author breaks through this stereotyping to depict Marilyn Monroe as an incomparable artist.
The author reminds his readers of the prevailing cultural values of the times. These references provide a backdrop of relevance to his subject’s struggles and triumphs. He presents a synopsis of all of the films in which Marilyn appeared, even those in which she had bit parts, and for good measure provides much more detail on each in an addendum. He takes the time to draw poignant thumbnail bios on many Hollywood personalities – actors, directors, producers, hairdressers, coaches – helping readers viscerally grasp the impact of Marilyn’s interactions with the people around her.

The book takes Marilyn’s story up to 1956, a year in which she goes over the top and finally achieves the recognition her hard work and extraordinary talent have earned. The author reports on Marilyn’s three marriages, giving a studied, objective view into each. Her first marriage to James Dougherty was arranged by her legal guardian when she was only 16 years of age. He abandoned her for the merchant marine. Then along came Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper, who was physically abusive, controlling, and jealous. The reader is treated to a good dose of adolescent behavior on the part of DiMaggio and Sinatra as the latter goads the ballplayer into breaking into an apartment one night where they expect to find Marilyn in bed with another. The author adds credence to his reports by using the testimony of friends close to Marilyn in writing about such incidents.

Nitpicking, the text is nearly flawless except in the handling of some proper names. Bennett Cerf is correct; not Bennett Cert. Bob Fosse; not Fob Fosse. And finally, is Miller’s home on “Goldmine Road” or “Gladmine Road?”

This review covers only volume one which ends with the marriage between Arthur Miller and Ms. Monroe, an event that surprised many at the time but makes perfectly good sense once those unacquainted with both parties grow to know them better. The second volume, according to the publisher, is due out at the end of the summer, 2014. Vitacco-Robles has written a monumental, definitive work on one of greatest actresses and enduring public personalities of all time. The next volume will carry Marilyn’s story forward to her untimely death in 1962. Readers have every right to expect that the same balanced, compassionate treatment will follow the actress through to what ultimately must be viewed as a horrible tragedy.

This review was initially written for bookpleasures.com.

John J. Hohn Author of the novel "Deadly Portfolio: A Killing in Hedge Funds"
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The one book every student of Marilyn Monroe must read. Perfection. 8 septembre 2014
Par Mary Sims - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
As one who has read more Marilyn biographies in the last three decades then I can remember, and was sure "I'd read it all", what a surprise to be wrong.
Icon is an incredible book and I most highly recommend it to every level of Marilyn fan/student.
Gary begins her story at the beginning, told with truth and respect from start to finish.
The book gives the reader insight to Marilyn's psyche so we understand who she was, and how she became that way. You understand how much strength it took at times just to be Marilyn Monroe.
Each of her films and co-stars are also given their due. I recommend when finishing the chapters of her movies to sit down and watch it then as soon as you are able. Anyone will get so much more from them this way.
Other noteworthy films of the times are also profiled with how they fit into Marilyn's story, such as Picnic, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Brothers Karamazov, and more.
There were so many little moments detailed from her life in this book. And speaking as someone who loves any new detail in the life of Marilyn Monroe, Icon was a treasure and pleasure to read. Here are the stories that make the reader feel connected to her and the person that she was. Gary Vitacco-Robles writes Marilyn's life story beautifully. He tells it honestly, without drama or shock value that so many biographer's depend upon to sell their books.
Icon rightly deserves a prime spot next to my other favorite biographies by Michelle Morgan, Fred Lawrence Guiles, and Donald Spoto. I believe this book, and its companion Vol 2 will make its mark in any Marilyn library as the definitive go-to book of her life. Marilyn was done proud.
I always looked forward to opening the book and getting a couple more pages read. It was my Summer of 2014 read. Can't wait for Vol 2, bring it on!!

Mary Sims,
Owner Immortal Marilyn
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A MUST for any serious student of Marilyn! 17 novembre 2014
Par John - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I have just finished reading Icon: The Life, Times And Films of Marilyn Monroe Volume I - 1926 to 1956, by Gary Vitacco-Robles and I can say with absolute truthfulness - it does what it says on the cover!

As a long term collector and reader of books about Monroe - I am always looking forward to a good new Marilyn read, unfortunately on many occasions I have been disappointed. I'm thrilled this has not been one of those occasions!

Firstly I will say what this book is not… this book is not a quick read, it's a hefty 634 pages, discounting notes and bibliography etc (I'm told Volume II weighs in at around 1,000!)

It's not a photo book - if you want a book with photos I suggest books such as Milton's Marilyn, An Evening With Marilyn by Douglas Kirkland, and the Last Sitting by Bert Stern. I could go on and on - there are many great photographic books out there - this is not one of them!

What this book IS, is a wonderful documentary of Marilyn's life, times and films. Accurately and painstakingly researched, the Author sets before us a chronological view of events, flirting on the periphery of the lives of other people who stepped into Marilyn's timeline. For example, I learned that George Sanders, who worked with Marilyn on All About Eve committed suicide in 1972, leaving behind a suicide note that actually made me sad but at the same time laugh out loud. He truly endeared himself to me, I just understood! His caustic wit was sharp to the end.

Whilst you read this book, you find yourself walking through Old Hollywood - step by step, experiencing not just Marilyn but Marilyn's experiences!

For me, what sets this apart from many previous biographies is that it is more 'whole' that the evidence is solid and traceable - this Author has done the leg work!

There is no over sentimentality in this book, whilst there will always be a bias when a book is written by someone who is so obviously also a fan of his subject, this is a book about a real woman who lived, breathed, made mistakes and achieved amazing heights both personally and professionally.

Unfortunately, there is one negative observation that I do feel I have to mention in this review - there seems to have been a serious issue with proof reading/copy editing - there are numerous typos, grammatical errors etc - I have heard via the grapevine that this has been addressed in reprint - but my book is absolutely peppered with copy mistakes.

Because Icon is such a worthwhile and enjoyable read for anyone remotely interested in Marilyn and Hollywood - I cannot give it less than 5 stars - despite the typos - the content is superior to many books out there that have almost no typo mistakes in them but as Billy Wilder once said in relation to Marilyn not being punctual
'My Aunt Minnie would always be punctual and never hold up production, but who would pay to see my Aunt Minnie?'
The content of this book is where the value is - it's a well thought out, well researched and well written honest book. I've already ordered Volume II and can't wait for it to arrive!
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Superlative 16 septembre 2014
Par Donald R. McGovern - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Through the magic of electricity and TheMatrix, the author of "Icon" and I have become FaceBook friends and I must relate this to you first: he is an extremely nice fellow. Not only that, I believe he loves Marilyn just as much as I do and trust me on this—that is saying something.

I considered a whole slew of adjectives to describe Gary’s tome. Then I realized I only need to use one: superlative. The universe of Marilyn literature is vast and the number of biographies written about her is staggering. I haven’t read them all; but I have read more than a few and a few of those I’ve read more than once. Icon surpasses them all.

It's obvious that Gary assiduously researched Marilyn's life. The level of detail is such that Gary provides not only an accounting of the when the where and the how, he also creates what amounts to a Technicolor movie of an indelible woman. He describes the fabrics used to create her stylish gowns, the shoes and jewelry she wore; he even dedicates a few words to the undergarments she agreed to wear after her marriage to Joe DiMaggio, when she tried to be less provocative for Mr. 56. Your imagination will take over as you read and with little or no effort, you will see her unforgettable face, hear her unforgettable voice and her unforgettable laugh, smell the Chanel No. 5 she always wore, whether awake or asleep. Within the leaves of "Icon", Marilyn walks among us once again, vividly.

But more important perhaps than anything else, Gary eschews the lurid sensationalism that afflicts many “biographies” written "about" Marilyn, perhaps the most maligned and defamed female celebrity of all time. While he does not avoid the truth about the childhood Norma endured or how the impact of her traumatic experiences shaped the woman Norma became, his voice is always compassionate, never accusatory or judgmental. Also, by allowing the voices of many persons who knew or encountered Marilyn to be heard through quotations and touching anecdotes, Gary clearly reveals Marilyn’s humanity and kindness, her concern for the disadvantaged and the marginalized, her love for animals and her wonderful sense of humor.

The length of Volume 1 is intimidating but well worth the effort, even for a casual Marilyn fan. The languid cadence of Gary’s prose makes it easy to read and Marilyn’s story, her life, her triumphs and her failures, as Gary vividly recounts them, are so compelling that I found it difficult to put the book down. As far as the printing errors reported by some reviewers are concerned, they are minor and do not alter my opinion of Gary’s accomplishment one bit—superlative.

I can hardly wait for Volume 2.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
One of the best out there 9 novembre 2014
Par MarilynLover90 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Mr. Vitacco-Robles has written what is probably the most comprehensive biography on Marilyn. Her first 30 years are written about in astonishing detail and really make you get to know Norma Jeane/Marilyn Monroe. "Icon" is definitely for the Marilyn aficionado and is a must have. As someone who owns nearly 100 books on Monroe I must admit, I was not expecting something (even at 700+ pages) that would teach me something new. I was expecting something that would rehash what is already well known among her devout followers. Instead I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there is still much I have not learned. I haven't taken notes since Michelle Morgan's "Private and Confidential" and was overjoyed to find myself doing it again with "Icon". There are only a few books on Monroe that are worth their salt and this is one of them. I have started Vol. 2 and am beyond excited to finish it. On a side note, for those who have not purchased Vitacco-Robles' first book "Cursum Perficio", I highly recommend picking it up as well. Everything this man writes is well done, groundbreaking, and well thought out. While the price of his books may seem a bit high, they're all definitely worth it.

A word of warning, if you are looking for fictionalized accounts of her life this book is not for you. While others *cough* Lois Banner *cough* have written some slanderous things that are traced back to unreliable sources (ruining otherwise good books), Vitacco-Robles doesn't. He sticks to what is provable based off of dates, reliable sources, etc.

Buy this book for a comprehensive view of an Icon.
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