Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth
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Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  26 reviews
When Margaret Tobin Brown arrived in New York City shortly after her perilous night in Titanic's Lifeboat Six, a legend was born. Through magazines, books, a Broadway musical, and a Hollywood movie, she became "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," but in the process her life story was distorted beyond recognition. Even her name was changed--she was never known as Molly during her...more
Paperback, 294 pages
Published September 25th 1999 by Johnson Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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Cj Tremlett
I didn't know very much about Molly Brown before reading this - just a few references to her and of course the James Cameron movie. I knew from somewhere that she was an activist, ahead of her time, and that there was a lot of difference between the legendary "Unsinkable Molly Brown" and the real woman, but that was all I knew.

This book does a lot to contextualize the legendary Molly Brown and contrast that image with the real Margaret Brown. The author makes a few pointed snipes at other histor...more
Lori
I do know from reading & watching documentaries on Molly Brown that a lot of her "exploits" from the Titanic and also throughout her life were grossly exaggerated but this book really shows how exaggerated many beliefs about her were inaccurate. She was still a very strong minded woman but not as belligerent as the movies make her seem. A really wonderfully written story.
Quinn Rollins
Next month I'm going to be at a teacher workshop in Denver. The topic is how to use biographies to teach Western History. The workshop is hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Molly Brown House, and our first assignment is to read a biography on Mrs. Brown. Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth. Kristen Iversen's 1990 volume won the Colorado Book Award for Biography, and a 2010 updated edition was just published. The 304 page paperback is a quick read, and even if you don't know...more
Kelly Margolis
I didn't know much about the outlandish stories of Molly Brown. My first introduction of her was in the movie Titanic. I then heard my mother tell me a little of her tale and the movie The Unsinkable Molly Brown. I bought the book for my mother. Kristen, the author, was able to get the family to trust her, which wasn't easy, and began unraveling the myths told about Molly. One, no one really called her Molly, it just made the musical easier to write. Margaret was a fascinating woman who was just...more
Lisa
(We own the hardcover first edition which doesn't appear on Goodreads for some reason.)

Kirsten Iversen certainly did extensive research for this book. I know because I had a very small part in some of it and learned how meticulous Kirsten is. Which is very important if you want to write an accurate biography. It was a joy getting to know Kirsten while providing her with some information we had in our family scrapbooks, memorabilia, letters, etc. In return, she provided us with unknown informatio...more
Donna Halloran
I didn't love this. I was reading it for a book club. I didn't really have much interest in Molly Brown. I now know more than I ever wanted. I give her credit for writing the "true" story but goodness - how many times are you going to tell me that previous stories were lies, that her son Lawrence was bothered by the lies, etc. The book was incredibly repetitive. I would have enjoyed the story more if it had been about half as long. For example, the introduction tells Molly Brown's entire Titanic...more
Maria
The true story of this remarkable woman's life and accomplishments are far more interesting than the myths. She is a woman to be admired. Do yourself a favor and read this book.
Beverly Diehl
In real life, there really wasn't a "Molly" Brown, but when did truth ever get in the way of telling a good story?

Margaret Tobin Brown's real life story is much more fascinating that the myths and legends that sprang up around her, and this book does a wonderful job 1) telling the real story, 2) explaining how and why we've come to think these things about a woman who lived not so very long ago, and 3) sheds light on what life was like for a (relatively) wealthy American feminist in the days bef...more
Linnae
Jul 27, 2013 Linnae rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Erin
Before reading this book, all I knew about Molly Brown I had learned from the movie: "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." Based on that portrayal, I've always been a bit puzzled as to why she was so great. She seemed like a loud-mouthed, new money-flaunting social climber. So Iversen's premise intrigued me: that there was much more to Molly than the popular myth has claimed.

As it turns out, Iversen delivers. Starting and ending with the story of Mrs. Brown on the Titanic, she lays out a new picture. To...more
Debra Allen
Did not finish. I was very interested in learning the truth about Margaret (Molly) Brown. All I knew was of the character portrayed in The Unsinkable Molly Brown and The Titanic. It became very tedious reading with too many details that I wAs not interested in. The author seemed to have done a through job with her research. However it became very dull and I gave up about page 150.
Nan
Margaret Tobin Brown was more than the Hollywood myth. Yes, she was eccentric. Yes, she was Irish and Catholic and female and uppity and -- at one time -- poor. But, no, she never called herself Molly, never invited a tribe of Indians to camp on her Denver house lawn, never was a saloon girl, never played on the banks of the Mississippi with Mark Twain. She was a suffragette, a Newport socialite, did speak French (and what other languages?), did make her opinion known about Ludlow, advocated for...more
Denise
Molly Brown was our 'Diva' of choice for our women in history club. This book was good, I have volunteered for the Molly Brown house do really didn't take too much away from the book I didn't already know. I would tell people to read this book for a good overall information of Mrs Brown's life and times.
Claire Sturm
I gave this book three stars because it was very well written an thorough, I just couldn't get into it. I usually enjoy biographies & non fiction however this one just lost me. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood. I was just hoping for some more grit.
Tracie
In light of the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic I thought I'd read something about someone who was on the ship. Molly Brown is one of the more famous passengers so I picked up this book about her life. I found her to be an interesting personality, especially since everything I knew about her was based on fiction. For instance, her name wasn't even Molly nor did she even have that as a nickname; it was given to her by someone writing a musical based on her life and Molly was an easier n...more
Lee
The first book I read about Margaret Brown was written much better than this one. Although there are many interesting details (too many) it is very wordy and reads like a boring research paper in many places. I give it three stars because of the detailed information not because of good writing.
Julie
It was great to finally get through all the myths and learn about the REAL Mrs. J.J. Brown. There really is a lot of myths and BS out there. I could have done without learning about the past of all of her "close" friends. It was a little dry in places, and at times, I was thinking "is this going to end?! Come ON!" But it really was a good book if you are really into history.
Barb
Nov 09, 2007 Barb rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who have seen the musical
Margaret Tobin Brown, the real woman, is a more fascinating and interesting person than the Debbie Reynolds character from the musical Margaret was a strong compasionate woman in an era that wasn't ready for strong woman. She ran for congress 8 years before woman had the right to vote nationally. Margaret was not just a hick that became rich.
Kathy
I did not finish this book. I found I was only interested in the portions that dealt with Margaret and the Titanic. That portion was very interesting but I wasn't so interested in the remainder of her life, or her childhood.
Elsie
Very disappointing. The book wasted too many words on the myths of Molly Brown. Overall, the book was well written and interesting, but I did not want to read about the untruths, but about her life. Could not finish this book.
Missie
Aug 25, 2010 Missie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I loved this book. I didn't want to put this book down and I can't say that about most biographies I've read! The truth is better than the myth of Molly Brown! What an amazing life and what a smart and strong women.
June
I haven't finished this book--stalled out, I'm afraid. The writing was excellent-too excellent. I didn't finish this for the same reason that I couldn't watch Titanic...I'm a wimp.
Lillian
The real dirt behind a woman of mythical proportions. I read it cover to cover. I visted her home while on a trip to Denver. Picked up this book at the local book store.
Carolyn
Compared to the real "Molly Brown," the stories they told about her were absolutely ridiculous.
Lisa
Very interesting life. Totally breaks the myth of "Molly". Loved the book!!!
CJ
Turns out that the myth is more interesting (and less preachy) than the truth.
Steph
Remarkable woman!
Caitlin
Caitlin marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2014
Deb
Deb marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2014
Elizabeth Reyes
Elizabeth Reyes marked it as to-read
Sep 08, 2014
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Kristen Iversen is the author of Full Body Burden Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, and Molly Brown Unraveling the Myth, winner of the Colorado Book Award and the Barbara Sudler Award for Nonfiction. Full Body Burden was chosen by Kirkus Reviews and the American Library Association as...more
More about Kristen Iversen...
Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction Sites of Insight: A Guide to Colorado Sacred Places Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth

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