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The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  416 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Accomplished journalist Sam Weller met the author Ray Bradbury while writing a cover story for the Chicago Tribune Magazine and spent hundreds of hours interviewing Bradbury, his editors, family members, and longtime friends. With unprecedented access to private archives, he uncovered never–before–published letters, documents, and photographs that help tell the story of ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 21st 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published April 1st 2005)
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Sep 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
From his childhood in Waukegan, IL to his teen years in Hollywood, CA and beyond,the life of this extraordinary writer is wonderfully conveyed by Sam Weller.
Some interesting facts about the man who often put us aboard rocketships and envisioned the future: He never learned to drive and was afraid to fly (he did eventually get on a plane when he was in his sixties, but never drove a car!). He wrote the screenplay to John Huston's film of "Moby Dick" (something I never knew).
I read many Bradbury
David Allen
Oct 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Not one to beat around the bush, Weller begins gushing in his first sentence: "Like many in my generation, I am a lifelong, card-carrying member of the Intergalactic, Time-traveling, Paleontology, Mummies, Martians, Jack-o'-Lanterns, Carnivals, and Foghorn-coveting Ray Bradbury fan club." Thankfully, matters improve from there. RB's early days as a poor, struggling writer are fascinating. With no money for a telephone, he gave out the number of the gas station pay phone across the street, ...more
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I was surprised Ray Bradbury approved this biography, since it is at times in danger of being iconoclastic, and doesn't make him look that good. The book wasn't very well written either, and contained too much that made me doubt the facts. Bradbury either lived a charmed life or a lot of the facts were skewered. I mean, Bradbury walks into a store and bumps into Walt Disney (they later work together). Bradbury walks into a hotel and almost trips over Steinbeck. Bradbury watches a TV show and the ...more
Karla Huebner
This was interesting. I haven't read much Bradbury, but I've liked what I read, and I was curious to know more about the man behind the books. This biography having been the result of many interviews with Bradbury, it has the positives and negatives of any biography that has its subject's direct input. Future biographers, free to be more analytical and critical, will benefit from the wealth of information here. I did feel, however, that the quality of the writing here was often pedestrian, and ...more
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I do not understand how some reviewers left a 3 star rating for this wonderful Sam Weller masterpiece. A fun and inspiring.
For decades, Ray Bradbury has inspired a vast array of creative
minds --- from writer Stephen King to film director Steven
Spielberg, from rock guitarist Ace Frehley to astronaut Buzz Aldrin
--- and now we get a very intimate look into the story behind the
man. Sam Weller was given incredible access to Bradbury, his wife
Marguerite, and many of his friends and family in an effort to
compile this amazing look at the moments that built the framework
of Bradbury's creativity.

Born in 1920 in Waukegan,
Paul Anderson
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An eye-opening biography of one of my favorite authors. Like Ray Bradbury, I am half Swedish (Ray on his mother's side and me on my father's side). We both were born and grew up in Illinois. I visited Waukegan often as a child. My Swedish grandfather's brother lived there and so did cousins of my own age. Waukegan was a magical place where I could read the comic books and pulp magazines of my relatives. I got to visit the same library as young Bradbury to read some of the same books Ray did, but ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Any Bradbury fan will enjoy Weller's excellent biography of on of the most prolific writers of the 20th century. I picked up a signed copy of this book while visiting Chicago where the author was a Chicago Tribune journalist. If you want to know more about Bradbury from boyhood to his last days this is the book for you.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an enjoyable book. I feel a whole new connection to his works.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you love Ray Bradbury you will love this book on his life.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great biography of an outstanding author who helps pry open the imaginations of young minds.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Bradbury Chronicles was a sheer delight for me to read. I started reading Ray Bradbury books as a child, and was immediately hooked. When I heard about this book, I couldn't wait to read it. What an amazing life he led! He was born in Illinois in a town that he held very dear for his entire life. His father was a dreamer and left Illinois several times when he couldn't find work there. He always went west. It was amazing to me just how many times this man left and returned to Illinois, ...more
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this extensive biography of Ray Bradbury as I not only learned about his life, I also learned how his short stories and books were born.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read The Martian Chronicles over a few days in a pivotal time in my life (immigrating to Canada it was exactly what I needed to totally escape the major challenges I was facing), and 40 years later I still consider it one of the most enjoyable in my memory. I know sometime in re-reading a book or watching a movie many years after the initial encounter can be disappointing; however I just re-read it concurrently with Ray’s biography and it still stands up as a great piece of work. I am not a ...more
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It is an authorized biography of Ray Bradbury, one of the most prolific writers of our time. It tells of his early life, his struggles as a young writer, and of his eventual success, popularity and huge impact on other writers, and in other mediums. Full of the names we are familiar with, it does not seem to be gratuitous name-dropping, but illustrative of the circles that Ray populated; magazines, TV, theater and movies. Each chapter has a foreword, and one from a ...more
Oct 06, 2009 rated it liked it
A very good bio of Bradbury. I contributed a small bit to Sam Weller's research. I sent him a copy of a letter that our college received from Bradbury in the late 1960's. When asked to offer suggestions and personal experiences to beginning writers, Bradbury sent us a three-page, hand edited letter! Weller's bio has complete access and approval from Bradbury. This, of course, makes the book an advocate and worshiper of its subject; there's not much that's negative or critical of Bradbury here. ...more
Jul 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ray Bradbury is one of my very favorite authors. Dandelion Wine is one of my top three favorite novels of all time (and From the Dust Returned is right up there at the top as well). I loved this look into his journey from little mama's-boy to science fiction icon. Weller did a great job -- his writing was enjoyable (sometimes a tiny bit repetitive), but full of life and fun to read. A lot like Bradbury himself...
Aug 10, 2014 rated it liked it
An authorized biography of Ray Bradbury by an author that clearly idolized his subject, and which sometimes comes off more as a hagiography than a biography. Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite authors, but the gushing anecdotes, and the foreshadowing of Bradbury's genius when just a child were too much for me. I did learn some new things about Bradbury, and the origins of some of his most famous stories, but it was hard to get past the adoration. Only recommended for committed fans.
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very revealing portrait of Ray Bradbury as well as being an intimate look at his writing discipline that made him such a prolific author. I was particularly intrigued by glimpses into his personal life and his determination to become known as a writer of poetic literature instead of solely science fiction and fantasy.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Ray Bradbury lived such an interesting life and wrote so many great things. I found this biography on one of my favorite authors both accurate in contrast to other things that I've read and watched on Bradbury's life, and incredibly interesting and captivating. He lived such a full life. I'm sad that he's gone, but I'm glad that he experienced all these great things and really lived.
Brandon Will
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-biography
The thing that's so neat about this book is how it shows that Ray Bradbury is, before anything else, just a guy. Weller charters his journey from being just another oddball, unathletic, finicky eater who wrote every day (what he now calls crappy stories) to becoming the prolific, celebrated author we have all read.
Thomas Tsuneta
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent biography of one of America's greatest writers! Ray Bradbury has had a profound influence on American culture through his books,films,radio shows and poetry. You could say he helped inspire the Space Age in America.
Stephen Rynkiewicz
Weller marks the childhood fantasies and nostalgia of Bradbury's stories in a style that reflects the writer's effusive personality. He shows a fan's enthusiasm for reclaiming Bradbury's waning literary prestige and rekindling interest in works like "Dandelion Wine."
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Bradbury was a fascinating man whose stories spoke to the heart of humanity. This is a good bio, although the author can be somewhat fawning at times. He also breezes past everything after about 1965. I find it hard to believe that RAY BRADBURY was up to so little over four decades.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked through the book, read about a dozen chapters and sections here and there, mostly about specific works and his process. If you read Zen in the Art of Writing, you may recognize some of the stories (i.e., how Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451). Very well written and enjoyable.
Oct 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Bradbury fans
The definitive biography of one of the giants of American 20th Century speculative fiction. Weller had Bradbury's complete cooperation on this, but it's not a hagiography. This is an even-handed portrait of a truly original writer. Highly recommended.
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
If you're looking for a book with lists and facts of publication dates and prints, then this is the book. If you;re looking for a book with anecdotes and tales about the man himself, so else where. All the premise but in the end, fairly dull.
Giles Diggle
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must for anyone who thinks they have it in them to write. If you have ever loved a short story by Ray Bradbury, then Sam Weller with support from Ray Bradbury gives us an insight into the man and his creative processes.
Melissa E
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I loved the passages about Bradbury's childhood during the depression and his early career. His brushes with the government during the McCarthy were interesting. But, I'd much rather hear Bradbury talk about his life in his own beautiful words than muddle through another book like this.
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very readable biography of Ray Bradbury. Weller may have a bit of hero worship when it comes to Bradbury so maybe he didn't try as hard as he could to dig up dirt and embellish his faults but he did portray him as human flaws and all.
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Sam Weller is the author of The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury (William Morrow, 2005) winner of the Society of Midland Author's Award for Best Biography of 2005. The book was also a finalist for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award. Sam is the former Midwest Correspondent for Publishers Weekly. He is a contributing writer for the Chicago Public Radio program, 848 and his work has ...more
“While he may not often curse, Ray Bradbury does cry. Often. Tears of joy. Tears of sorrow. He cries when watching the news; he cries when people say kind things to him; he cries when recalling fond memories. Sometimes he cries several times a day.” 0 likes
“Indeed, he was a contradiction. Ray Bradbury was a nostalgic visionary: He predicted the past and remembered the future.” 0 likes
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