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

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  496 ratings  ·  140 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.
Hardcover, Large Print, 711 pages
Published July 8th 2012 by Thorndike Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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
Andrew 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
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
Phillip Lozano
Generally well-written, but curiously dry and plagued with omissions and easily-correctable errors.
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...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...more
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 -
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
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...more
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
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
David Fuller
ANY book that aims to tell the whole story of Superman should soar, not feel like it's suffering from kryptonite.

In this exhaustive bio of the enduring pop-culture icon who changes to fit the needs of his audience, Larry Tye may have bitten off more than he can chew.

Tye, a former journalist with the Boston Globe, tackled biography in his 2009 bestseller Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend. He's also written books on electroconvulsive therapy, the Jewish diaspora and public relation...more
Richard Thompson
A very enjoyable history of a cultural icon.

A huge cast of interesting (not necessarily likeable, but interesting) men and women have kept the Superman meme alive for more than eighty years in forms ranging from comic books, to radio, animated cartoon, movies and TV shows. Their stories and the story of the stories that they have created to keep Superman alive as a cultural being are fascinating.

And Maggee went to the Alberta College of Art just like John Byrne.

27. MemoryWalk: Harwin School. It...more
Everyday eBook
Aug 02, 2012 Everyday eBook rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Everyday by: Dr. Edward J. McNamara
"Look! … Up in the sky! … It's a bird! ... It's a plane! ... It's Superman!"

Whether or not you are one of those who can still recall that exciting opening line from the days of radio and TV, you will love the new "biography" of Superman by Larry Tye. The evolution of this greatest superhero is documented in well-written, comprehensive, and entertaining detail. From his inception in comics in 1938 to the more recent stories of Superman's adolescence in "Smallville," the book explores all the twis...more
First Reads Review - Superman The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye

So perhaps I should have known a little better than to sign up for a nearly-five-hundred-page non fiction book about Superman, but I'm a comic book fan and as such I thought it might be interesting. Also, free book. And while I don't regret reading this one, and learned a lot that I didn't know, especially about some more obscure parts of Superman's history, or at least parts that happened well befo...more
An excellent, well-researched history of a powerful and inspiring character; Superman!

Superman: The High-Flying History of the Man of Steel focuses on the creators, publishers, and cultural context surrounding the origin and development of the Man of Steel. Larry Tye wisely avoids trying to describe the major plot points from Kal-El's comic book stories and, instead, describes the shifts in storytelling or the additions/deletions to Superman's powers and/or backstory as different creative teams...more
I suspect that the author really needed an additional hundred pages for this rather excellent look at the genesis and history of Superman -- there's a fair bit glossed over, and a few errors that should have comics fans getting stroppy (he presents the Superman/Batman title as the first book to team up Batman and Superman together, which completely overlooks the various iterations of World's Finest -- though I can forgive him missing the current iteration, as the book would have been in producti...more
Being the wife and best friend of comic book nerds, I know my way around a comic book shop. I know what happened in Crisis on Infinite Earths. I can tell you how Golden Age and present day Black Canaries are related. I can even name many of the members of the Legion of Super Heroes.

That all said, I didn't know much about Superman. And more importantly I didn't know how much I didn't know. Turns out, I didn't know a lot.

This book is the end-all and be-all of books about Superman, the comic books...more
Storyteller John Weaver
I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads.

While certainly long, Tye's book is somewhat less than the "full-fledged account" he claims he is presenting. Excessive time is spent stating and repeating the sociological aspects of the character's enduring appeal, while many parts of the story are omitted entirely, or barely touched-upon.

While the area I was most interested in learning about what the decades-long legal conflict between DC comics and the creators of Superman--a...more
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Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and The Birth of Public Relations Home Lands: Portraits of the New Jewish Diaspora Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero

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