One of the top box-office draws of the 1960s and '70s with now-classics such as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Bullit, Steve McQueen is renowned as one of the most exciting actors ever to come out of Hollywood. Now, in Steve McQueen: A Biography, best-selling author Marc Eliot gives unique insight into McQueen's life, from his films to his three marriages, many affairs, and struggles with addictions. This definitive biography, filled with original research and new interviews, will dazzle fans with its eye-opening portrayal of one of America's most memorable stars.
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“As Marc Eliot reminds us, Steve McQueen was just eight weeks older than Clint Eastwood. He might be alive still, as prominent, laconic, and anti-heroic a screen figure as Clint, and maybe even a notable producer and director. Eastwood has won just about every prize there is, and he has made the journey that probably appealed to him the most—from a working-class kid to a movie cowboy to one of the most esteemed figures and authentic stars remaining in American show business. Eastwood is an auteur and a respectable American. McQueen was none of those things…. [Yet] you can’t take your eyes off him. As an actor, he is more compelling and mysterious than Eastwood. “ (David Thomson, The New Republic)
“A fine biography that makes us feel like we know and understand its subject.” (Booklist)
“McQueen’s life and the cultural context Eliot explores make for a good read.” (Library Journal)
I was hoping to get a real sense of Steve McQueen. However, for the most part, this book is nothing more than a review of each movie. I recently finished David McCullough's book on the Wright Brothers, so the contrast between the two biographies is stunning.
I haven't read the print version but I really liked the audio version.
of course Steve McQueen. I also have respect for his 1st wife Neilie
1st time for Marc's books
I was very sad at the end of the book. I grew up the 1960's and Steve was definitely the "king of cool" I remember riding my bike and pretending I was "Hilts" in "The Great Escape" on his motorcycle.
I didn't realize until recently how Steve spiraled downward in the the late 70's most of it by choice.
I'm going through a Steve McQueen binge in my life now . I have bought all his movies and even the tv series "Wanted Dead or Alive" and presently reading a book by his 1st wife Neilie.
I'm all done with his movie except Junior Bonner which I can't find.
Retired systems analyst; Lover of music, art, travel, technology, birds, Caribbean, scuba; Favorite audiobook genres: mystery, biography, travel, humor, fiction
I did not think it was possible to make Steve McQueen boring but in spite of more than adequate writing, the author/narrator does not have an intereting voice. He drones on and you fall asleep fast...I have tried four times to get interested since I love biographies but I can't listen to this one...sorry.
“Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” - Edmund Burke
Traumatized Driven Loner
Most interesting: the author's attempt to describe Steve's outlook on life and the way he treated people based upon his traumatic childhood upbringing.
Least interesting: the story seems to be chronological, which is understandable to a point. But some of the events in Steve's life might have been explained with more flow, connecting each in relation to choices he made based upon his fundamental outlook.
The narrator (and author) was spot on in describing Steve's distorted views of women in general based upon the relationship of a mother who abandoned him. But Steve also mistrusted most of the male movie executives he worked with. Every bio I've read on Steve has him penned as "difficult to work with" on the set. While I don't disagree with this assessment...we never hear of the character flaws of studio personnel that Steve may have had to navigate throughout his career. There's always two sides to every story.
No. As mentioned, the story could have flowed more smoothly. I found myself asking my own questions about Steve after events were described. And, no offense to the author, but he should have hired a professional narrator.
Steve McQueen was dealt a lousy hand as a child. He could have easily gone down the wrong road (which he himself acknowledged). But, through a bit of luck and a lot of talent, he shot to the top of his profession. And unlike many people in that industry, he never forgot the unfortunate ones he shared time with before his stardom, e.g., the children and teens at Boys Republic. The author could have done more to mention Steve's generous and anonymous donations that were given to these boys regularly. And he didn't limit his generosity to just this institute. He would often purchase (again anonymously) gifts for entire neighborhoods of children when filming on locations. That is decency and character.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives only one.” (George R. R. Martin)
I don't know. I listen to biographies more often than I read them. I find listening to non-fiction to be easier than listening to fiction. So maybe it's better than the print version. I would say at least equal to it.
There were a bunch but I mostly remember the more negative aspects of his life and his battle with cancer.
I'll go with one - serviceable.
I don't know. I'm terrible at coming up with tag lines.
Steve McQueen does not come off good in this audiobook and that’s a bit of an understatement. He seems like a real bastard at certain points in the story. However, I also found it to be a fascinating tale.
If you like this audiobook check out ‘American Rebel’. Same author and a somewhat similar story – but at one point they diverge dramatically. Whereas Clint Eastwood’s star skyrocketed – though somewhat slowly over time – McQueen’s burned bright but burned out quickly.
I caught a few mistakes in the narration and the editing but only a few that I could remember and it wasn’t anything that detracted from the narrative. I think Marc Eliot did a good job with the telling of McQueen’s tale but I would rather someone else have narrated the book. He does a serviceable job. It’s not bad in anyway but the listening experience could have been better with a more skilled narrator.
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