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Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  174 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Features a new Foreword by the author and an interview with the author. "In this extensively researched biography...Iversen is particularly adept at placing Brown in the context of her times." - Publishers Weekly Winner of the Colorado Book Award for Biography
Paperback, 294 pages
Published September 25th 1999 by Johnson Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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Cj Tremlett
Feb 10, 2013 Cj Tremlett rated it really liked it
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
Aug 21, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it
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
Feb 13, 2012 Quinn Rollins rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, biography
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
Beverly Diehl
Jun 22, 2013 Beverly Diehl rated it it was amazing
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
Kelly Margolis
Sep 12, 2008 Kelly Margolis rated it really liked it
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
Apr 06, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, genealogy
(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
Donna Halloran
Oct 31, 2011 Donna Halloran rated it it was ok
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
Sep 02, 2012 Maria rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 17, 2014 Tifnie rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
This was a book from a friend which I thought it would be an interesting read because it was about Molly Brown and her character on Titanic was "larger than life". Though the book was interesting and filled with amazing facts about Margaret Brown and how she was determined, stoic, and at times like a man, it ran a little long with supplementary facts about other people in her life.

The book, Molly Brown, takes us on her journey as a child, marriage, raising a family, the Titanic which was short
Lisa T.
Sep 10, 2015 Lisa T. rated it liked it
I read this book because I'd listened to a podcast that got most of its information here, and I wanted to find out the real story behind "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." The book was interesting but could have been cut down by half. Every time a new character was introduced, the author spent a page or so describing the character's background. I learned lots of interesting facts about Molly's life in Colorado, her trip on the Titanic, and her work helping women and the poor. One of the main points o ...more
Jul 27, 2013 Linnae rated it liked it
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
Oct 26, 2013 Nan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 25, 2014 Denise rated it liked it
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.
Janie  R. Freeman
Mar 09, 2015 Janie R. Freeman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction

Margaret Tobin Brown was a remarkable woman! She was ahead of her time.
This book unravels the myths about her,especially the ones in the 1930's movie- "The Unsinkable Molly Brown". kristen Iversen's book tells the truth about the "real" Molly Brown. It is an excellent book, I highly recommend it!
Susan Baker
Dec 23, 2015 Susan Baker rated it liked it
I finally finished this book about Margaret Brown which had been on my shelves for several years. I got bogged down in the middle, but I'm glad I finished because at the end was a touching story of the landing of the Carpathia in New York and the Titanic passengers' disembarkation .

Margaret Brown was nothing like the character portrayed in the Debbie Reynolds movie, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." She was a strong, independent woman who made a real difference in people's lives.

This book is thorou
Barb Innes
Mar 02, 2016 Barb Innes rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed! She was a inspirational woman and this book revealed the true Molly Brown who truly made a difference in the lives of the poor, the miners, and women. As my son and his wife were married at the HOTEL COLORADO and spent their honeymoon in The MOLLY BROWN suite..this helped me understand this great woman!
Claire Sturm
Jun 04, 2014 Claire Sturm rated it liked it
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.
May 02, 2012 Tracie rated it liked it
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
Learned a lot.
Sep 02, 2014 Lee rated it liked it
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.
Debra Allen
Apr 17, 2015 Debra Allen rated it liked it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
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.
Nov 15, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: quite-enjoyed
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.
Nov 09, 2007 Barb rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 29, 2015 Megan rated it liked it
I found the information really interesting, but written in a redundant way.
Lee Ann
Interesting story and a more factual description of the legend. An amazing woman and I love her history I still find her life fascinating and love that so much has been preserved so I can revisit her around the country.
Feb 11, 2010 Kathy rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Aug 09, 2012 Elsie rated it did not like it
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.
Aug 25, 2010 Missie rated it it was amazing
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.
May 12, 2012 June rated it liked it
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.
Apr 08, 2008 Lillian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bigraphies
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.
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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...

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