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Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,345 ratings  ·  184 reviews
Marilyn Monroe. Her rollar-coaster life. Her deception - shrouded death. Her divided secret life. Her legion of lovers. Her intimacies with JFK and Bobby Kennedy. Her mafia connections. This is the one book that tells the whole naked, deeply moving truth about the all - too-beautiful talented, and tormented woman who played a role in public and in private that was too much ...more
Paperback, 688 pages
Published November 22nd 2007 by The Orion Publishing Group (first published September 1st 1985)
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3.90  · 
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 ·  2,345 ratings  ·  184 reviews

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As most of you know, I love Marilyn Monroe/Kennedy fan fiction. That's what I call books like Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe. The premise of this book like most Monroe fanfic is that The Kennedy's murdered Marilyn Monroe to hide the fact they were having affairs with her.

Now while I agree that based on available evidence Jack & Bobby Kennedy were with all probability having affairs with her. I think its pretty ridiculous to think they either had her killed or as this book says
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: marilyn-monroe
At first I felt like I was reading one of those creepy rags that you see at the checkout counter. Tell all about a star without her there to defend herself. Marilyn has always been, to me, one of the most misunderstood "stars" of the universe. Perhaps it was her destiny to carry the mental illness that crippled her mother. We will never really know.
Modern medicine was not as modern back then and Marilyn seemed destined to live a life of depression and desperation, that was constantly medicated.
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
What a mess! Meticulously researched fascinating history of what must be the most epic backstory of Hollywood history. The exploitation of a dangerously unstable woman by the great powers of media and politics is fifty years later still nauseating. Anyone still clinging to Bobby Kennedy mythology should stay far away from there.
Stephen McQuiggan
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
The word depressing doesn't quite cover this. Norma Jeane goes from wannabe to starlet to icon, used and abused at every stage. Her psychological state was always precarious, exacerbated by a prodigious drink and drug intake, a wealth of abortions and an inability to orgasm. Becoming little more than decorated meat, her problems led to institutions and suicide attempts. The main thrust of the book deals with her relationship with the Kennedys, her death, and the persuasive conspiracy theories th ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This 2017 revised edition of ‘Goddess’ is an extensive body of work, documenting the life of Marilyn Monroe. The first half of the 688 pages tells of Marilyn’s private and public life until the year of her death. What follows are the facts that had been uncovered at the time of her death, and over the past 50 year years. The post script is a must read!
This biography brings us into the world of old Hollywood, politics and the rich & famous.
Andrea Salayová
I remember reading this book when I was maybe 13 and being completely mind blown. It made me obsessed with MM for quite some time. And a little bit sad for her. Very sad for her actually...

But to the point - this is very good biography, it includes the pictures (even the one where she is dead, which I was weirdly fascinated with). It is also very detailed and writing style is kind of poetic for biography, which I loved.

Also I own more than 3 copies. Of the same edition. No shame.
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Very tabloidish. Have no idea what to trust. Pretty much the entire book is "he said she said". The author could well be making everything up. He gets so involved in rumors and conspiracy theories (particularly about her death) that I felt very removed from Marilyn by the end. Disappointing.
Rae Ganci Hammers
This is the first Marilyn Monroe biography that I have read, and must admit my knowledge of her life and career was cursory before picking it up. A lot of ink has been spilled over her life and even more over her death, and while I'm sure there are inaccuracies and omissions in Anthony Summers' "Goddess" ...was a fantastic read. Summers traces her life from birth til death, but not in a simple, linear fashion. He acknowledges (if not embraces) the complex mythology that has built up around Maril ...more
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: MM Fans, Vouyeristic Types, Bio Readers, Inquiring Minds
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I don't know how much of this book can be truly believed, with many of the anecdotes coming from sources that seem even less trustworthy than Marilyn herself. This book paints her as a promiscuous, delusional, pathological liar, but it certainly doesn't spare her friends and lovers, many of whom took advantage of her mental illness in order to sleep with her and discard her. It's a harrowing look at the corrupt intersection between Hollywood and the politics of the times.

It doesn't conclude for
Tonya Wertman
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first biography that I ever read....I was a Freshman in high school and this book and Marilyn Monroe's story have stayed with me ever since.

It is the most in-depth and personal account of this truly unique woman. It's an absolute page turner and you are sure to discover many things that will shock you. By the end of the book I was emotionally attached to Marilyn and she will forever be a goddess to me.

Why such a tragic ending for an immaculate screen goddess? The real tragedy is t
Apr 14, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't wait to be done with this. Some interesting sections, well-researched but I don't need the exhaustive detail about anyone's life, especially when it includes overdose after suicide attempt after miscarriage after abortion on a seemingly endless loop.
Lisa James
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very well done, very intensively researched, & FINALLY makes the case that her tragic death was not suicide, it was accidental, & it WAS covered up in order to get Bobby K. out of Dodge before it could ruin his career. HIGHLY recommended to the MM fans....
This read like a trashy grocery store check out aisle magazine. Completely disrespectful to a woman who cannot comment or corroborate any of these “findings”.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Thorough but disorganized
Poor little Normae Jean. America's favorite poor little rich girl.
She was used, she was abused, and she was not amused.
Problem is, she also used, abused and didn't amuse those closest to her.
Was her death an accidental overdose? Was it an intentional suicide? Who really knows. The fact remains that she did have very marked suicidal tendencies and had attempted it in the past. Luckily for her, her past attempts were always twarted by her friends... I guess, in the end, it just became a case of th
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star
'Goddess' is pure biographical brilliance - Summers explores Monroe's life, and most importantly, less well known aspects of it, extremely well.

His writing tone is very readable and not at all humdrum. The title of the book suggests there are many layers to his research, and this is proven chapter after chapter. Goodness knows how long Summers spent on his research, for it is candidly thorough from start to finish. As a fairly long book, it would have been easy for him to waver and focus on mor
Mar 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
This is the worst famous Monroe biography. It is far to conspiracy based and doesn't look at the simple truth which is usually correct. I love conspiracy books, but only when they have a story and admit that is only opinion. Any actual Monroe fan hates this book. I knew the Marilynettes hated it and after 4/5 years of everyone discussing why, I can see. It speed untrue stories which add to the supposed "mystery" around Monroe. It even has an autopsy photo, which Monroe fans don't want to see as ...more
May 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
The peak of my Marilyn Monroe obsession was the late eighties, mid-teens. I'm not even sure how I got started on it all...or what in the world I was doing reading this book way back then, but at any rate. I think the author does an awesome job of addressing all of the mystery of her death as well as seeing past the fabrications she made about her own life and getting as much truth out of it as he could. It does follow the idea that she was murdered for 'knowing too much', implicating the FBI/Ken ...more
Apr 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
I suddenly had a hankering for a fun, hot and juicy read, and what better to turn to than a Marilyn Monroe biography, right? Forget it. I read the first 40-50 pages (skimmed through the rest), but that was MUCH more than enough for me. I was so disappointed and disgusted, yet nothing really came as much of a surprise as I had already read bits and pieces of her depressing tale. The book's entree was a (very) long listing of Marilyn's sexual conquests, with a side of sadness that she was obviousl ...more
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Biography Fans
Shelves: biography
In-depth examination of the troubled star's life; there's more searching here than I had been used to seeing in other biographies, and the conspiracy theories with regard to her death gave me food for thought. I haven't thought about Monroe in quite the same way since.
Anne T
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
I enjoyed reading this book and I found her life story very interesting. However, this book made me feel sad for her.
Bob Ryan
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a "must read" for any fan of Ms. Monroe's. It covers her career from her early days being a photographic model through her death in 1962. It is comprehensive in its scope, in the acknowledgements the author claims to have interviewed about 650 people, there are almost as many footnotes covering the 50 chapters plus a 50 page postscript of additional information discovered after the book was written in 1985 (the postscript was added in 2007). The author interviewed people who knew Ms ...more
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
God I feel dirty after having read this. Simply sad. Of course there are many that will call this sensationalized trash. And it is. But, that does not mean it’s not true, or, at least, holding large grains of the truth.

And I am one who has long revered RFK and thought he would have been a great President. I still think so. But, even if there was no foul play involved, and without proof I can’t cross that bridge, the behavior of the Kennedy’s with regard to Marilyn ( and women in general ) defie
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I would prefer rate the book 2.5 stars, its not quite deserving of the 3 star rating. I only opted for the higher 3 star rating rather then the 2 star due to the amount of research/effort the author put forth. But in the end, the research was in vain because the book remains 89% hearsay.

Not being someone who had a great admiration for Marilyn prior to reading this book, I must give credit where credit is due. The author exposed enough of Marilyn's personality that allowed me to fall deeply for h
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wouldn't call myself a fan of Marilyn Monroe - I think alot of that has to do with my idea that modern society's obsession with her has ruined her for me.

Well, I wasn't a fan until I read this book.

This is one of the saddest books I've ever read. I had to stop reading at various points because I felt so bad for Marilyn. I knew what was coming and I was hurt when it happened. I've always known of the story but to get a glimpse (whether factual or not) of the woman behind the gltiz and the gla
Joe Sharkey
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the last section of this sprawling biography, Summers digs deep as a reporter into the relationships between Monroe and John and Bobby Kennedy in the last year of her life, when Kennedy brother in law Peter Lawford acted as enabler or, more to the point, as pimp (abetted by Frank Sinatra). Those guys ruthlessly and recklessly used this poor woman, and the scandal has pretty much disappeared from popular history. It's abundantly clear that there was a significant cover-up of her death. I don't ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have been a Marilyn Monroe fan for years. I have read several biographies of her life. This one was highly recommended and I'm disappointed. Summers' decision to constantly refer to his sources within the narrative caused the book to drag. Better editing and tighter writing would have made this a more interesting book. Much of the groundbreaking news and "secret" lives have been referenced in other books about Marilyn. This book is recommended only for fans who simply must read every possible ...more
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
My first Marilyn book of 2019! That took me no time at all.

This book doesn't offer any theory I haven't heard before. This felt at times like a cautionary tale, which never turns out well for my personal reading experiences.

A couple things that bothered me was how the author felt the need to tell stories without evidence, as though a hearsay account of a very private person had to be taken as gospel. Also the author's choice to question whether Marilyn was ever sexually assaulted as a child was
Nancy Prins
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great biography that chronicles the empty and lonely life of Marilyn Monroe. Again the last few chapters solidify my feelings that Marilyn’s death may not have been suicide and at the very least after her death there was a massive coverup done to protect tha Kennedy brothers from the public ever finding out about their affairs with her. Marilyn never felt like she was valued as a person and felt like she never measured up...her life was one massive disappointment after another and Robert Kennedy ...more
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Anthony Summers is the bestselling author of eight nonfiction books. His investigative books include Not in Your Lifetime, the critically acclaimed book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy; Official & Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover; and most recently The Eleventh Day, on the 9/11 attacks—a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for History.
“Honey, we all got to go sometime, reason or no reason. Dyin’s as natural as livin’; man who’s afraid to die is too afraid to live, far as I’ve ever seen. So there’s nothing to do but forget it, that’s all. Seems to me” 74 likes
“There’s something in her that’s looking for the basic reality of a given situation.” 0 likes
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