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Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  690 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Seventy-five years after he came to life, Superman remains one of America’s most adored and enduring heroes. Now Larry Tye, the prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of Satchel, has written the first full-fledged history not just of the Man of Steel but of the creators, designers, owners, and performers who made him the icon he is today.

Legions o
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ebook, 432 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Random House (first published January 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,766)
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Kerry Nietz
I've been a Superman fan most of my life. Read the comics, seen the movies, watched the television shows, and even have a few Superman shirts in my collection. That to say, I doubtless know more than the average person about Superman and his legacy. That's why this book appealed to me. I was curious what it would have that I might have missed...

Quite a bit, really. This work is the most definitive telling of the Superman history that I've seen so far. Everything from his early beginnings until t
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Tony
SUPERMAN: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero. (2012). Larry Tye. ****.
Here, in one place, is everything you ever wanted to know about the superhero who has been around for 75 years now. The author traces this icon from his humble beginnings as the brainchild of two young men from Cleveland, Jerry Siegel, the writer, and Joe Shuster, the illustrator. It tells of how their idea was ultimately stolen from them by several shysters, who in turn were ripped off by bigger and bigg
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Kelly Knapp
Nov 03, 2012 Kelly Knapp rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Superhero buffs, history buffs, young men, anybody
Recommended to Kelly by: Goodreads Firstread giveaway
Nicely detailed and carefully researched. I loved reliving some precious moments with one of my favorite heroes.

Watching Superman evolve, I did not notice many of the changes. they were too gradual. However, reading about them opened my eyes. For example, I never noticed that Dean Cain played Superman as the alter ego. In all the comic books and early movies, Kent is the alter ego, placing emphasis on Superman.

Nor did I notice the way that Superman evolved with the political climate of the worl
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Rick
In his unique history of the iconic character, Larry Tye delivers an insightful biographical account from the perspective of the creators, publishers, and stars behind Superman. Beginning with Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel in Cleveland through the character's re-birth as part of DC's recent 52 remake, Tye analyzes and reveals many fascinating behind-the-scene aspects such as why Superman didn't fight oversees during World War II, the complex origins of kryptonite, and the stories behind the v ...more
Larry Zieminski
Larry Tye’s new book is a comprehensive history of Superman, from his creation by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to the ongoing legal battle by his heirs over the rights of the beloved hero. This is a history of the Superman franchise, but not a history of the Superman comic book character. Tye isn’t interested in explaining/detailing the twists and turns in the comic books (except for the Death of Superman storyline, which affected his public image and DC Comics’ profits).

I really enjoyed this bo
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Michael
There are plenty of books about Superman, but few (if any) like this one: a full fledged biography of not only the character but those important (and not-so-important) figures surrounding his creation, subsequent zeniths and nadirs, and everything in between right up to the production of the 2012 Superman film. We learn more than we wanted to know about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, both of whom, frankly, do not come across as sympathetic characters. Sure, in comparison to modern comic creators, ...more
Bandit
This was an exhaustive uncredibly detailed account of the lives of Superman and men and women responsible for his creation and success. As a result it was a fairly dense and at times laborious read, but an absolute must for any Superman fan such as myself. The author says in the afterward that he sold the idea for this book was to treat its subject as real as he is to so many in their hearts, as a sort of a bio for a fictional character that has become such an important part of american and by e ...more
Andy Shuping
Coming on the heels of Grant Morrison’s Supergods, Larry Tye gives readers a history of the quintessential supergod--Superman. One of the oldest, and definitely one of the most long running comic heroes, Tye presents the history of Superman in a new way. Coming from an outside perspective (an author who wasn’t even aware that Smallville existed), Tye writes as a biographer telling the story of the men and women that shaped Superman’s history, that gave rise to who he was and is. Tye put a great ...more
Erik Moloney
Seventy-five years after he came to life, Superman remains one of America’s most adored and enduring heroes. Now Larry Tye, the prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of Satchel, has written the first full-fledged history not just of the Man of Steel but of the creators, designers, owners, and performers who made him the icon he is today.

Legions of fans from Boston to Buenos Aires can recite the story of the child born Kal-El, scion of the doomed planet Krypton, who was r
...more
Steven Zanine
Larry Tye's exhaustively researched history of one of the most recognizable literary characters in the world can be commended for its success in teaching the stories behind the creation and ongoing mythos of Superman. In fact, Tye presents an eye opening account of Siegel and Shuster's (Supes creators) ongoing and seemingly endless battles to obtain what they felt was their rightful fortune. Legally, they had very little ground to stand on, having sold the copyright to Superman for a mere $130 n ...more
Erik Moloney
Seventy-five years after he came to life, Superman remains one of America’s most adored and enduring heroes. Now Larry Tye, the prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of Satchel, has written the first full-fledged history not just of the Man of Steel but of the creators, designers, owners, and performers who made him the icon he is today.

Legions of fans from Boston to Buenos Aires can recite the story of the child born Kal-El, scion of the doomed planet Krypton, who was r
...more
Sally Hannoush
Well, this is the book to read if you are a Superman fan. Everything is in here and more. Not only do we get the history of this most famous superhero but a very thoughtful view of our own life and culture. The symbolism is a huge part when comparing ourselves to the life of the iconic figure. I'm not sure if we just get entertainment from books, movies, comics, figures, screen writers and T.V. shows, and so on because subconsciously there is more to it. While I greatly respect and was informed ...more
Nick
Easy to read, this history of the Superman character and franchise covers a lot of familiar ground, but Tye includes fascinating details about the lifelong bitter search for adequate compensation by creators Seigel and Shuster, the financial juggling of the Salkinds for the first Superman film, and much more.
Larry Friedman
I saw this author speak to my synagogue congregation and I came away thinking the book was more about the cultural and religious context in which the two young men who created Superman got their inspiration. That is certainly in the book but it is only a chapter or two. There is one chapter dedicated to the religious imagery in the Superman story and that is interesting. But, the book is far broader in scope. For many readers, that may make it more interesting. Rather than analyze whether Superm ...more
Bob Garrett
Once upon a time, books about comics and super heroes tended to be authorized works aimed at nostalgic adults. As such, they were typically glossy, coffee table publications chock full of colorful images and lavish praise. Now that several generations have grown up with comic book heroes, both the characters and the comics medium are increasingly seen as a vital part of American pop culture. They've become more mainstream and are taken more seriously, and so, we're now seeing more serious and sc ...more
Shawn  Stone
One of the first and longest enduring heroes, Superman has spanned cultures and generations to remain the embodiment of many young boys hopes and dreams. Tye’s book provides the fascinating back story of the man-of-steel’s genesis from the minds and pens of two very un-Superman-like Jewish immigrants, to the icon that continues to attract new fans today.

Tye is thorough in his coverage detailing Superman’s early influences together with his Hebrew and biblically inspired mythos, his influence as
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Phillip Lozano
Generally well-written, but curiously dry and plagued with omissions and easily-correctable errors.
Adam
It was a great telling of the history of the character and the people/companies that brought him to the masses. It of course delves heavily into the litigation Shuster/Siegel brought against DC, but almost more interestingly it puts it's fingers on the pulse of American society at the height of comics. I never really knew about the U.S. censoring comics for a while after WWII. Very interesting. It loses speed near the end as Tye goes I think to far into the current emanations of Superman. A bit ...more
Jack Clemens
This is a survey of The Man of Steel. It covers all the facets of the character's reach: comics, radio, television, film. The book really picked up for me in the last third when it began talking about the Superman that I know, the one of my generation.

The author also brings up interesting societal questions regarding the Man of Steel and shows how many groups see the hero specifically for them, be it a person of Jewish, Christian, agnostic, or even atheist disposition.

It is a fair book too. It
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Todd
The more I read, the more I liked the book. I appreciate Superman but have never been a fan yet I found this history of the Man of Steel to be fascinating. It covers his origin and to as recently as the "upcomming" Man of Steel movie. This book, though enlightning and well researched, did not make me want to run out and buy huge numbers of Superman comics, it did give me an appreciation of the character and opened my mind up to what his appeal is. This book is not merely about the printed incarn ...more
Julie
This was truly fascinating. This book is sort of like the biography of Superman. I always love to learn the inspiration for the creators of iconic pop culture or works of art. The creators (just kids, 9th grade) took their own life experiences and mixed it up with all the best traits of the super heroes they loved. In the beginning, they were not sued by the creators of the superheroes they borrowed from because they were just kids and were making peanuts. The creators of Superman were ripped of ...more
Jason Bergman
I enjoyed this quite a bit. Larry Tye's book covers the complete history of Superman, starting in the earliest days with Siegel and Shuster, and going all the way up to last year's New 52 reboot. It's good that it doesn't attempt to cover just the early days, because that material is well covered by Gerard Jones' Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book. Instead we get lots of great anecdotes about the radio, television and film versions of Superman, plus of course, all ...more
David Brzezinski
This is not just the history of a superhero, but of a media goliath. Superman's history is followed from his early inception in the early 20th century to the recent brutal legal battles for the copyright of the Man of Steel of the 21st.

Superman: A Biography does not pull any punches. It does not favor the creators of Superman, nor does it favor the publishers. What it does is pull the curtain back on what was going on behind the scenes of the rise of what would become a media empire in his own r
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Jim
Not having read any histories of the Superman comics, it seemed like this one provided a nice overview. It was interesting, if a bit dry (but I think that's how I tend to view histories and biographies). Some of the readability is weird, as the timestream jumps around. For example, in the chapter about the 70s Superman movie, Tye starts talking about the awards it has won, then goes back to the beginning, walking through the making of the movie, then discusses what one of the creators did before ...more
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye is the story of the history behind the world's most beloved and enduring hero. Initially created as a villain in 1933, later revised as a hero by Jerry Siegel and drawn to resemble movies star Douglas Fairbanks Sr. by Joe Shuster (Clark Kent was molded after Harold Lloyd) .

I got this book from the local library, when I took my kids there a few weeks ago my son spotted it on the "New Books" shelf, grabbed and proudly p
...more
Ramie
So I'll be honest, I had no idea what to expect of this book. Yes, I did read the description. See, it's tough considering yourself a real fan of something that is considered a bit geeky like comics, but not one so fanatical that you can give people every little detail. It means that when books like these come out you never know if they'll be some dumbed down that it's just the basic stuff that yes, even you know -- with not one surprising little thing in it. Or so detailed that it is tedious an ...more
Stephanie Burkhart
Tye pens an engaging, well researched comprehensive history of the Man of Steel - Superman. Tye shows us the spark of inspiration shared by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster and how the two were drawn together to give Superman substance. Tye also gives the reader a peak into Superman's media history and the actors who portrayed him.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster were two youngsters who toiled for years working out the details of Superman. Jerry lost his dad at a young age and was inspired to create t
...more
Brad Hodges
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the debut of Superman, one of the most recognizable fictional characters in the world, ranking right up there with Mickey Mouse and Sherlock Holmes. In honor of the anniversary I read Larry Tye's "biography" of the character, Superman: The High Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero.

I've never been a big Superman guy. I was more of a Marvel Comics guy or, if it were a DC hero, I preferred Batman. Superman was too bland and uncomplicated for me. But
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Danie
I have read other books, non-fiction books, about not just the character of Superman, but his creators and other behind the scene helpers as well. Still, this book was so amazingly dense. Not in an entirely bad way or good way, just a very dense way. And, that denseness made it into a very slow read for sure.

First to the good. It's a really good history of almost all things Superman. It didn't just highlight the comics, or just the TV/Radio Shows or whatever. Although it sort of slid over all th
...more
Ryan
First I want to thank Random House for sending me a copy of the book during a Goodreads giveaway. Now for my review. A very readable book on the history of one of America's strongest and longest lasting heroes. The book provides contextual history in a way that makes you reconsider the shaping of Superman and provides an understanding for the progress his story has made over the many log decades he has entertained people all over the world. The only reason I would not give it 5 stars is that whi ...more
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