Keith Badman

Teoksen Marilyn Monroe: The Final Years tekijä

8 teosta 198 jäsentä 2 arvostelua

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Keith Badman is the author of several highly acclaimed pop-culture books, including The Beatles: After The Break-Up, The Beatles: Off the Record, Good Times Bad Times: The Definitive Diary of the Rolling Stones 1960-1969, and The Beach Boys (which was endorsed by the group's legendary Brian Wilson).

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Badman, Keith



This is billed as a book that dispels the myths and conspiracy theories about Marilyn Monroe's death. On the whole it seems to do that and yet there is a lack of sources - no footnotes for any of the assertions - despite the author casting doubt on previous books or persons who claimed to know MM.

One of the problems I had with it was that despite the author telling us that his subject was a great actress - which he does more in the section dealing with the coverup at her death and the aftermath - he doesn't actually show that. In fact, to me her ability was trivialised and the book concentrated more on her spending on food, booze, clothing and other items. There were a lot of itemised bills, which were possibly included to add versimilitude but I would have found it more convincing if there had been attributed sources for the various statements.

The other issue that he downplays all the very serious sexual abuse to which MM was subjected, both as a child - it seems that because the boarder who took her into his room didn't actually rape her it was actually not a big deal. Similarly, her being subjected to photographed sexual abuse at the Cal Neva Lodge, at the hands of some associates of his, is trivialised as mistreatment.

A big part of the book is to mostly exonerate the Kennedy brothers from any link to her death. If the various facts about their being in completely different places during most of the alleged meetings are correct then it seems that this is mostly gossip - he does agree a one-night stand happened with the President - though it is alleged that his brother talked too frankly to her about state matters which then made her a person of interest to the security services.

For anyone not convinced that her death was accidental, produced by taking drugs prescribed for sleep disorders by two different doctors - which in combination were fatal - as he narrates, the material about the bugging of her house and alleged visit by Robert Kennedy on the day of her death in response to her, it seems, not seriously meant threats to reveal all at a press conference in retallation for their unkindness, might point the other way. It could be argued that the book should consider these various alternative explanations and use facts to discount them rather than pick one option and steer everything towards that, especially given the lack of cited sources.

All in all I can therefore only rate this as an OK read, that is, 2 star.
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kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
A terrific primary source -- but definitely not for those who are unfamiliar with the Beatles and their story. This isn't a biography, it's transcriptions of interviews with the boys and those around them, snippets of news releases and news stories, and transcribed appearances on television or radio shows, all presented in roughly chronological order. Badman provides (rightly) only a minimal guiding track, stepping in only to gloss a name or straighten out a disparity in dates. What he won't do is try to straighten out or explain events or stories, because -- with the advantage of hindsight -- watching the key players try to explain everything themselves is part of what makes this so fascinating.

Even if you're a hardcore Beatles fan, there's lots in Badham's book to like, and much that's probably new to you. For one thing, you'll get a better feel for the kind of mind-numbing, eye-glazing interviews the Boys had to sit through, especially early in their career. We've all seen the interviews compressed to their soundbites for documentaries, but Badham lets us see what gets edited out in the interest of time -- mainly one stupid question after another ("Do you get dandruff with all that hair?") which the Beatles, for the most part, answer gamely until around 1966, when John Lennon finally unloads on a reporter for asking "What do you want to do when you grow up?" ("Why are you being so horrid?" one reporter sulkily asks Lennon afterwards.)

But it's not just the media that bumbles through interviews; sometimes the Beatles do, too. I was surprised by how non-responsive or rambling their answers could sometimes be -- particularly from Paul McCartney, who could obviously make his charm go a long way, but when you read his remarks on the page, they don't always make a lot of sense. You can also see the Boys reverting to "talking points" for many questions, answering questions the same way, even when cornered individually.

Badham also reproduces several documents I'd never seen before: the original lyrics for "Yesterday" (as "Scrambled Eggs"), filed when Paul was simply trying to get the song down on paper with placeholder words; the various press releases from Apple as the wheels were coming off (and when is someone going to write a history of Apple?); a snippet from a 1969 newspaper floating John Lennon as the lead role in the upcoming Jesus Christ, Superstar.

Finally, reading interviews and press releases from That Moment In Time -- when they had no way of knowing what was coming -- the end of the Beatles really isn't all that obvious. All four of them continue to speak relatively well of each other in interviews (except for George when speaking of Paul) and indicate that they are still interested in working together if the right project comes along. It's no wonder fans were so shocked when McCartney finally announced he was leaving the group (months after Lennon had already privately left) -- there was little indication of disarray or disagreement in the press, not even from the Beatles themselves.

There are places in the book where some interviews or television appearances have obviously been misheard or transcribed incorrectly (at one point, someone describes a crowd of people at an airport as looking like "a sea of hands" from above, when it was probably "sea of ants") but such errors are easy to overlook in this goldmine of a Beatles book. Highly recommended -- but, again, not for those who are unfamiliar with the Beatles story going into it.
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brianjayjones | Jun 17, 2009 |

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