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James Dean: The Mutant King: A Biography

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  476 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
This is the book that restarted the James Dean cult by celebrating him as the cool, defiant visionary of pop culture who made adolescence seem heroic instead of awkward and who defined the style of rock ’n’ roll’s politics of delinquency. The only book to fully show how deliberately and carefully Dean crafted his own image and performances, and the product of still unequal ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1974)
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Daniel Jr.
Mar 25, 2012 Daniel Jr. rated it really liked it
Been wanting to read this for a long time, esp. since I am planning a trip over to Fairmount to visit Dean's grave this summer. It's only fifteen minutes from where I live.

I've taught REBEL and admired EDEN and GIANT for years, and now I do feel I understand Dean and the films much better. Despite the author's dated '70's lingo, etc., the book is authoritative and nearly exhaustive. Especially fascinating are the interviews in the latter part of the book with Dennis Hopper, and also George Stev
Mar 04, 2013 Rita rated it liked it
I became interested in the life of James Dean because of the many "nods" to him in popular music. I ran across this paperback (actually a 1974 Dell paperback edition) and decided to read about the person, James Dean. This account is very in depth, poetic and personal. It provides a LOT of detail about his life and about filming and production of the three movies in which he played. (I got a little bogged down in the production details of the movies and laid it aside for a while.) It also gives s ...more
Carolyn Hamilton
Apr 15, 2013 Carolyn Hamilton rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I have been a huge James Dean fan since I stumbled upon "Rebel Without a Cause" playing on the television one day after school must have been about a whole 12 years of age.
I thought : what an intriguing actor. I had never seen anyone quite like him.
My Mother gave me the book, it must have been just released? (1974 ? I think.)
My Mother had the author sign it for me. He wrote on the first empty page: "From one earthling to another".
I adored that book, then one of the hardest le
Chryse Wymer
Feb 13, 2013 Chryse Wymer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was the book that inspired my eventual trip to Fairmount, Indiana. (I thought the James Dean Museum was awesome, for a small town thing.) This book definitely fed my life-long obsession with James Dean. I first read it at 17 and again *repeatedly* over the years. It is poetic, having several passages from Lord Byron included (the source of Dean's middle name). It also has a few of Dean's own poems included. It feels like you are walking through Dean's life through the photographs and storie ...more
Mar 08, 2014 gazoo rated it it was amazing
Fabulous. Beautifully written. Gets you a little under the skin of this enigmatic force who flared out way too early. The chapter on rebel without a cause is gold taking you on a deep dive of the writers intent and how jimmy dean went way beyond that imagination in his stark portrayal of troubled youth. One that became a battle cry for change in the hearts and minds of kids around the world. There is a killer bit in here where jimmy gets pissed for being left to sit on set all day and his retort ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Angel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: guiltypleasures
while walking the hallways of my junior high school, i found this book (with no covers), pages yellowed on the ground. i picked it up and read. probably more than i can count throughout my life. this book probably did more for my angst-ridden teen butt than any other book during that time. and i became a film history buff and studied the art of acting (book only) because of it.
Nov 12, 2007 Van rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants a respected, reliable bio on James Dean
I'm a ridiculously obsessed James Dean fan and I've read a lot of stuff about his life, but this is quite simply the very best biography that has ever been written about him. I repeat: the very best. If you're just getting interested in James Dean and you want a respected, reliable, beautifully-written account of his life, this should be your first read.
Trowa  Cloud
Jan 27, 2015 Trowa Cloud rated it it was amazing
James Dean was a legend, going through life how he chose. This was such a fun read. I actually was sitting in the farmers market at the grove in LA and they started speaking about how he used to go there! Was so cool
Aug 07, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: silver-screeners
One of my favourite biographies. Not as trashy as some (Boulevard Of Broken Dreams), but one which made me consider that there is always more to movie stars' lives than you think. (I read this before I learned to read between the lines).
Aug 24, 2009 Ann-Marie rated it it was amazing
Before I pursued stunt work, I was pursuing acting which I started around the age of 10. James Dean caught my attention and I found inspiration in his life and tragedy. This brings forth a wonderful exploration of this legends all too short life.
Jul 16, 2008 Leigh-Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is my favorite book about James Dean. It includes a lot of information about his life in both Indiana and New York, where he lived prior to relocating to Hollywood. A very interesting read.
Oct 27, 2007 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I hear this book is full of suspect facts, but I really enjoyed it despite (or maybe because of) that.
Sep 09, 2012 Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite biography of Dean. Ive read all of the bios and this one is the most complete. Avoids sensational ideas, focus is on the facts.
Alana S
Feb 09, 2014 Alana S rated it it was amazing
Second copy of this book that I own!
Apr 06, 2013 Nicole rated it it was amazing
I just love you so much <3
Aug 23, 2010 Albert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was first introduced to James Dean by my mom right when I was fifteen years old, just about to turn sixteen. I was already a budding fan of old movies and of early twentieth century American literature, so I was very receptive to her recommendation for me to watch "East Of Eden." Needless to say, I was blown away by James Dean. His movements, his moodiness, his attitude, all seemed like he was showing me just what it was like to be a young in modern America. All of the strange internal struggl ...more
Jennifer B.
Jul 07, 2016 Jennifer B. rated it really liked it
I've never bought into the whole James Dean myth. Truth be told, he left me cold. I hadn't seen any of his films until a few years ago, and I although I could look at him and see that he was handsome, it wasn't my kind of handsome. It's not because he was before my time. So were Elvis and Marilyn, and I've always liked them. It's not because he wasn't a household name when I grew up, neither was Montgomery Clift, and I adore him. No, it's just something about James Dean that just doesn't do it f ...more
Jeaninne Escallier Kato
May 07, 2016 Jeaninne Escallier Kato rated it really liked it
One of my hobbies is to find inexpensive old classics in Goodwill stores. Since I enjoy biographies, this one on James Dean intrigued me from the first glance. Since the actor, James Dean, is exactly my mother's age, I wanted to read more about the social nuances of her generation. David Dalton goes above and beyond chronicling the life of this meteoric actor, whose star exploded after he made the movie, "East of Eden." Mr. Dalton dissects the myths surrounding this iconic actor and holds a mirr ...more
Mustafa Aiglon
Jul 23, 2013 Mustafa Aiglon rated it really liked it
hep merak ettiğim bir hayattı james dean'ın hayatı. sonuçta jimmy hiç bir politikacının ve askerin başaramadığı kadar hayatımıza etki etmiş bir ikondu. eğer bugün kot pantolon varsa heralde bu james dean'in var oluşu ile açıklanabilir. sadece 24 yılda yaptığı etki günümüzde halen yankılanmaktadır. sadece üç filmiyle ikon olabilen başka bir adam yok. kendi ölümsüzlüğünü kendi yaratan bir adam...

kitaba gelirsek; çeviriden kaynaklanan sıkıntılar hariç tatmin edici bir biyografiydi.
Jan 24, 2016 Jon rated it it was amazing
I remember my 1st cigarette... I blame this guy, yup. All his fault, no peer pressure needed, I was 11, I enjoyed it and still do! Lol

Never been to Fairmont, Indiana but that's definitely on the bucket list.

Before reading this, I 'assumed' a lot based on his movies and articles I've read... More to him than just that.
Zak Cebulski
Oct 22, 2012 Zak Cebulski rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot. But, I also like James Dean a lot, he is one of my heroes. I feel that you will appreciate this book more if you like James Dean. I think that the secret to liking this book is looking up to James Dean and wanting to learn about his history.
Aug 18, 2011 Anncap rated it really liked it
Interesting, well written, but often too flowery. Well researched but very little that can't be learned elsewhere at this point (it was written in the 70s and at the time was one of the only biographies on Dean)
Sep 13, 2014 Armand rated it really liked it
Decent enough book. I wish he'd stick to more of the facts and leave the bullshit pseudometaphysical conjecturing to the kooks.
Sommer Jonez
Nov 05, 2008 Sommer Jonez rated it liked it
good stuff, james dean was such a homo!!
Pody Ken
Sep 29, 2007 Pody Ken rated it liked it
In the beginning I dont know who is he. Only from my brother who being bigest fans of him. Well, not bad to know Mr. Dean from this. He's really star in his generation.
Satchel  Dennis
Jun 23, 2013 Satchel Dennis rated it really liked it
Gave deep insight into the troubled mind of the rebellious star. Who in his brief life touch many souls through his art.
Dec 08, 2007 Daniel rated it liked it
a life cut short!
Bob Peru
Aug 11, 2013 Bob Peru rated it liked it
pretty good until the last few chapters when the author goes off the rails into utter nonsense. good on the 3 films though. it's the after death last few chapters that quickly bleed goodread "stars".
Jun 04, 2008 Cassie rated it liked it
Maybe too much psychoanalysis...but a really good biography of one of my favorite actors, all in all.
Elvira rated it it was amazing
Sep 11, 2015
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