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Publisher's Summary

Fifty years after her death, Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe still beguiles the world, her image enthralling millions. Many books have attempted to explain her allure and tell her story, but none has succeeded as well as this work by acclaimed biographer Donald Spoto.
Spoto’s exhaustive research uncovers a conspiracy of silence, allowing him to present the facts, free from often-repeated myths and speculation. Granted access to more than thirty-five thousand pages of formerly sealed files containing letters, diaries, appointment books, and other intimate papers, he also interviewed nearly two hundred people who had never before spoken on record. From the papers of Marilyn’s psychiatrist and her medical files to recently declassified government documents, the truth emerges and provides a moving, often shocking picture of the real Marilyn Monroe - including her connection to the Kennedys and the bizarre, horrifying truth about how she really died.
©1993 Donald Spoto (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"This is a book that wound up teaching me a great deal about Hollywood, the social history of California, the movie business, the trials of female actors in American show business, and the life of a woman who has been so mythologized that often the real woman is obscured from actual view." (Erica Jong for Washington Post Book World)
"Spoto has given Monroe the treatment she deserves. At last she emerges not as a goddess but as a human being in this extraordinary volume." ( Daily Telegraph)
"Provocative!" ( Entertainment Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 02-10-13

The Definitive MM biography

What made the experience of listening to Marilyn Monroe the most enjoyable?

The fact that it was unabridged. I think the narration is quite good, but I would have preferred to hear the actual author's voice.

What other book might you compare Marilyn Monroe to and why?

The biographies of the Queen, the Kennedys, and Diana, Princess of Wales by Sally Bedell Smith. Sally Smith, like Donald Spoto, knows how to research and pen a proper biography, unlike hatchet hacks like Kitty Kelley and Christopher Anderson who rely too much on gossip, printed tabloid reports, and unsubstantiated or incredible sources for their books.

Which character – as performed by Anna Fields – was your favorite?

Marilyn Monroe herself. She would have wanted this fair and balanced account of her life written before Norman Mailer (1972) and Anthony Summers (1985) brought sensationalism into their versions, which clearly distorted her legacy and damaged the legend of Monroe. Mailer did not mince words when he admitted forty years ago that he wrote a semi-fictional biography because he needed the money. After that all MM biographers, except for Spoto, did the same. No wonder Spoto was the only one granted access to her private letters and documents. He has done full justice to her memory and once and for all cast permanent doubt on the many lies told about this heartbreaking icon. She deserved nothing less.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

If anyone wishes to know the real truth about Marilyn, this is the biography to read or listen to.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By bookbug on 12-24-12

The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe

Monroe's life is full of mystery, from her birth to her death. Donald Spoto tries to solve this mystery, but I don't always agree with his conclusions. For example, was Monroe's psychiatrist responsible for her death? Was Robert Kennedy completely innocent of an affair with Monroe? This is Spoto's conclusion. However, I'm glad this audiobook finally made it to Audible. Narration is fine, not great. The afterword gives some thoughtful reflections on the Monroe "cottage industry" that was primarily started by Robert Slatzer and others.This book will keep you thinking about the unanswered questions of Monroe's life and death, even if you don't agree with the author's conclusions.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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