The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

J. Randy Taraborrelli, Author Grand Central $26.99 (560p) ISBN 978-0-446-58082-3

After half a century of Marilyn Monroe books, beginning with Maurice Zolotow's interviews of her for his 1960 biography, it's hard to imagine any revelations about the actress, but Taraborrelli—who's written bios of Grace Kelly, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra—tackles that problem with what he refers to as “fresh research.” For instance, thanks to files released in 2006 under the Freedom of Information Act, Taraborrelli details the “truly extraordinary” three-page document in which an unnamed FBI agent described the “romance and sex affair” between Monroe and RFK. Rather than the usual bibliographic listings, Taraborrelli cites only a few key books. Instead, he itemizes 30 pages of interviews explaining how he contacted sources close to the subject (e.g., approaching Dean Martin in a restaurant; talking with the historians he calls “the true experts”). In addition to interviews with everyone from Janet Leigh to Secret Service agents, Taraborrelli read the unpublished notes and interviews of reporters from the 1950s. As Taraborrelli brushes away cobwebs of myth and rumor, his remarkable research and fluid writing captures Marilyn's élan, sensitivity, desperation and despair with a haunting intimacy. (Aug. 25)

Reviewed on: 04/20/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
Genre: Pick of the Week
Hardcover - 976 pages - 978-0-446-50541-3
Hardcover - 560 pages - 978-0-283-07068-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-60788-255-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-446-55095-6
Compact Disc - 7 pages - 978-1-60024-651-7
Ebook - 978-0-283-07118-8
Paperback - 559 pages - 978-0-446-19818-9
Open Ebook - 443 pages - 978-1-59995-743-2
Show other formats
Discover what to read next