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Surviving James Dean

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  126 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
A beautifully written memoir, candid and definitive, that tells the story of Bast's five year relationship with the charismatic actor and American legend--James Dean.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 20th 2006 by Barricade Books
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Matthew Hildebrand
Jun 29, 2016 Matthew Hildebrand rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent autobiography (I'll call it that since it's about William Bast, but don't get me wrong, there is a-lot of James Dean to cover here). It might get too far into scenarios that lack interest, but maybe that's because it starts deviating away from Bast and James Dean, and I picked this book up to know more about James Dean! Anyway, that's a minor gripe, and I really appreciate William Bast after having reading this updated Biography (sort of). On to the good stuff! Bast cuts to ...more
Mar 08, 2012 Cali rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: James Dean fans
I'm a big fan of James Dean so I've read quite a few biographies about him, but this one is by far the best. It was written by one of James Dean's closest friends, so I figure he knows the actual facts better than most. I cried when William Bast writes about receiving the phone call about Dean's accident; it was very moving and heartbreaking.
Dec 16, 2010 Carolyn rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
Biography of my teen idol, with details that couldn't be published back when, by his friend and lover. East of Eden was about, and shot in, my home town of Salinas. But the rest of the story wasn't really all that interesting.
Jul 13, 2016 Armand rated it it was ok
Scurrilous gossip. Smells like bullshit to me. A self-aggrandizing attempt by the author to attach himself to a legend.
Jul 29, 2013 Bob rated it it was amazing
This is a heartfelt and deeply moving autobiography and biography of the five-year relationship between the author, William Bast, and his best friend, James Dean. Bill describes himself as a closeted gay while Dean is less so. But as Bill’s love for Jimmy grows, so does the fear that a sexual relationship between the men will not end well. Still, Bill is finally ready to take that plunge when the two men consummate their love in a Borrego Springs hotel in the desert.

Dean wonders: “What took you
Apr 12, 2008 Frederick rated it liked it
This account of the author's friendship with James Dean has the ring of truth.
Bast knew James Dean from student days at UCLA until Dean's death. Bast and Dean were about the same age. While Bast became an insider at the TV networks, Dean became an increasingly popular actor, appearing on TV and, of course, in the movies.
Bast wrote two very good TV scripts in the seventies. One was for a TV movie about Lizzie Borden. I didn't know he wrote that until I read this book. So, I can say William Bast
Apr 28, 2011 Clifton rated it really liked it
A fine memoir of William Bast's relationship with James Dean, interesting both on that account and on gay life in show business in the years they were friends/lovers and in the years following Dean's early death. Bast makes it clear why Dean probably never would have come out: his career came first. (Some things have not changed.) Then again, no one can really say. Far better written than the Paul Alexander biography of Dean, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," though it has its value too.
Nathan Truong
Jun 16, 2013 Nathan Truong rated it liked it
Surviving James Dean (2006) by William Bast, Dean’s roommate, gives an intimate portrait of Dean’s life through his accounts with living and meeting with Dean as a long-time friend, “lover”, and roommate. I guess for the book to focus on Dean, it must focus on Bast’s life, but I feel like it focuses too much on his life, making this only an empathetic caricature of Dean rather than a biography. Readers be warned, it is still a fantastic read for James Dean fans.
Dec 08, 2010 Darren rated it it was amazing
Very informative and interesting. I couldn't put it down. I stayed at the same YMCA in NYC that James Dean stayed at when he first came to New York.
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