A 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.
Matthew Polly’s Bruce Lee: A Life represents the first deep dive into the childhood, career, and legacy of the actor, and it’s difficult to imagine a future biographer putting together a more definitive or entertaining take on the subject. When he wasn’t acting, young Bruce Lee was a troublemaker and prankster. Stories like one in which he and a friend sought revenge on a theater owner — the climax of which involved an explosion and a bucket of feces — are alternately amusing and horrifying … That Lee accomplished so much in such a brief life and…reading Matthew Polly’s Bruce Lee, one finds a life far richer and more fascinating than his movies could convey.
Polly's book is far more than the mere filling-in of a lacuna; this is an intensely engrossing biography ... Polly runs a bright, fast-paced, almost chatty prose line throughout the book, filling his accounts with action and dialogue of a novelistic type ... Underneath its flashy readability (a readability aided by the fact that Lee's personal life often showed distinct similarities to his movies – he's always ready to fight, physically, with co-stars, directors, purported rivals), Bruce Lee: A Life is grounded on a staggering amount of research ... Every aspect of Lee's personal and professional life is laid out in such exacting detail that it scarcely seems possible the book could ever be supplanted as the definitive life. Readers who've been waiting for such a life – and readers who didn't know they were – will find Polly's book irresistible.
Matthew Polly’s muscular biography of Lee could feel like a tragedy ... Yet despite his death, this book succeeds in capturing his energy and achievements, a volley of incident that rarely lets up ... Polly is, however, as keen to unpick myths as make them and he dedicates a chapter to the day Lee died ... This isn’t a subtle book, but for anyone curious about Lee’s legacy, it’s a roundhouse kick of a biography.