Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero” as Want to Read:
Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  819 Ratings  ·  180 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.
Legi
...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 711 pages
Published July 8th 2012 by Thorndike Press (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Superman, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Superman

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,999)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kerry Nietz
May 16, 2012 Kerry Nietz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Tony
Jul 31, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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 really liked it  ·  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
Rick
Jul 17, 2012 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
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
Tony
Tye's work contains all the information one could possibly want about the Man of Steel in one fun and well written volume. For instance, the reader is treated to bios of Superman's creators and original publishers as well as discussions of his powers, origin story, friends, foes, and physical appearance. Other portions of the book deal with the various actors who have portrayed the Metropolis Marvel as well as the various screen depictions of everyone's favorite Kryptonian. (Did I mention there ...more
Larry Zieminski
May 21, 2012 Larry Zieminski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael
Jul 30, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 26, 2012 Bandit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 07, 2012 Andy Shuping rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-amazon
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
Michael Rhode
Dec 05, 2015 Michael Rhode rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Well-done overview that includes little new material for long-time fans, but is still an interesting read. The business overview of the early years is particularly good. A lot of the focus moves from the comic book to the media versions after the 1930s.
Derek
May 31, 2015 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-written and engaging look at the history and development of SUPERMAN over the 75 years since his development. It covers Superman in all of his media embodiments: comics, movies, stage plays, newspaper strips, tv, etc. etc. The longest and, to me, most interesting section is the initial section that covers his initial creation and development. The remainder of the book does a good job of covering his other incarnations, but mostly on a cursory level. (After all, there's over 75 yea ...more
Erik Moloney
Mar 06, 2015 Erik Moloney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 06, 2015 Erik Moloney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Victor Castillo Rodriguez
Una muy interesante biografía que trata más de los creadores y la gente detrás de Superman (Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Julie Schwarz, Mort Weisinger y muchos más) que del propio personaje. El nivel de atención por el detalle es muy alto y se nota que el autor ha hecho una investigación tremenda.Tiene un muy buen acercamiento periodístico al tema tratado y además se lee de manera muy amena.
Sally Hannoush
Sep 29, 2014 Sally Hannoush rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ian Massey
Nov 11, 2015 Ian Massey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not so much a history of Superman as that of his creators in all forms - comics, radio and TV series and films and focusing on the original creators and publishers as well as the various actors who have played the Man of Steel and his co-stars.

Covering the period from before his inception to just after 2011's New 52 reboot and just before the Man Of Steel film, if anything it proves that not too much happened in the comics between the first few years and John Byrne's re-imagining, and that a lot
...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.
Patrice
Dec 31, 2015 Patrice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Despite the other history of Superman that I have read relatively recently, I enjoyed this one immensely. While there was some inevitable overlap, where the unauthorized biography to used on the evolution on the superman character over time, this book had a much broader scope and went further forward chronologically, all the way almost to the release of Man of Steel in 2013. It covered not only Superman's character and how he adapted to meet the needs of his readers in each era, it also covered ...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
Jan 07, 2014 Bob Garrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 23, 2015 Shawn Stone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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
...more
Phillip Lozano
Generally well-written, but curiously dry and plagued with omissions and easily-correctable errors.
Adam
Aug 26, 2014 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Todd
May 19, 2014 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
David
Aug 08, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome overview of the history of the character, from Jerry Siegel's and Joe Shuster's origins and creating the character, through all the various incarnations (comic books, newspaper strip, radio show, theatrical cartoons, movie serials, George Reeves television series, various television animated series, "It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman!" Broadway show, Christopher Reeve movies, Superboy tv series, "Smallville", SUPERMAN RETURNS, etc.). And all in a very nice, readable writing style.
Julie
Jun 16, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 27, 2013 Jason Bergman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2012 David Brzezinski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: superman, history
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 66 67 next »
  • Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
  • Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster--the Creators of Superman
  • Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
  • 8
  • Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed
  • Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Really Tell Us about Ourselves and Our Society
  • Comic Art Propaganda: A Graphic History
  • The Beast of Chicago: An Account of the Life and Crimes of Herman W. Mudgett, Known to the World As H.H. Holmes
  • Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe
  • Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman
  • Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho
  • Superman Versus The Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate
  • Shocking True Story: The Rise and Fall of Confidential, "America's Most Scandalous Scandal Magazine"
  • Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human
  • Superman: The Complete History
  • Kirby: King of Comics
  • How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection
  • Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book

Share This Book