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History for Kids: An Illustrated Biography of James Dean for Children

Narrated by: Tracey Norman
Length: 32 mins

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Publisher's Summary

"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." - James Dean

In Charles River Editors’ History for Kids series, your children can learn about history’s most important people and events in an easy, entertaining, and educational way. This concise but comprehensive audiobook will keep your kid’s attention all the way to the end.

It would be no exaggeration to say that James Dean has been more mythologized than any other actor in history, a development due more to his off-screen personality and conduct than the films he actually starred in. Much of Dean’s appeal derives from his humble and ordinary origins, and audiences are drawn to the romance of the Indiana farm boy who catapulted to the top of the motion picture industry in a single year - the same year that would see him die. 

Of course, James Dean remains well-known for being anything but humble and ordinary. As famous as his films are, Dean’s story is inextricably tied to his love for racing cars and his death in a high speed car crash. And though Dean was already wildly famous at the time of his death, there is no question that his death only enhanced his fame. One study found evidence of a "James Dean effect", which concluded that a star’s popularity benefits if the star dies young instead of living longer and losing luster. By dying young, Dean actually ensured that his name would remain famous, and his appeal has transcended generations.

For better or worse, the mythology surrounding him complicates any attempt to accurately depict his life, and it remains extraordinarily difficult to arrive at any cohesive understanding of many of the details of Dean’s life. While Dean’s fame will continue to live on, it is important to acknowledge that his star persona was formed in response to the era in which he came up. His film career illuminates 1950s Hollywood, a period that was rife with tension and change within the industry. Although Dean remains an American icon and culturally relevant, his popularity was also greatly tied to his own cultural epoch. At the same time, many cultural groups and fanzines have appropriated Dean as their own, making it that much harder to find the "true" details of Dean’s life. 

History for Kids: An Illustrated Biography of James Dean for Children profiles the life and legacy of the famous actor and rebel without a cause. Your kids will learn about James Dean like never before.

©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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