New York, NY, United States of America : Oxford University Press, .
Includes bibliographical references (pages 255-257), discography (pages 251-252), filmography (pages 239-249), and index.
"She was born nearly a century ago and has been gone for well over half that time. The body of work she left behind is of limited size and, in some cases, debatable quality. The environment in which she thrived, popular entertainment in the 1950s, is a distant memory, if that. Those are indisputable facts. Why is it, then, that they seem so immaterial? How is it that the phenomenon continues unabated, that the iconography and mythology only seem to increase? Why all the interest and speculation and merchandising, and why all the documentaries and miniseries about her? Plus, to cut a little closer, all those shelves of books? With Marilyn Monroe, there is never one single answer. To start with one of the most obvious: some of it has to do with the element of tragedy, the special kind that crashes in when a life of magnetic achievement and renown is cut short with miserable suddenness. Alexander the Great, Joan of Arc, Byron and Keats, Valentino, Hank Williams, James Dean, the Kennedys, Malcolm X, Dr. King, Joplin and Hendrix and Morrison, Elvis, Princess Diana, Michael Jackson. How natural to mourn, how easy to speculate on what could have been. Monroe offers unusually ripe territory for this, with her blatant, rapid-fire explosion into the world's consciousness, the tumult and visibility of her private and professional paths, and the sharply cut-off way she died, overlaid with just enough ambiguity to cause some people to wonder about the circumstances. From there, eventually and alas, to an unseemly franchise based on conjecture about that death, with most of the ruminations drenched in paranoia and personal agendas"--,Provided by publisher.