James Dean: At Speed
Reviewed by Doug Stokes
James Dean: At Speed, By Lee Raskin, 11"x11",
144 pages, 200+ photographs, $29.95
newest offering from the always-in-top-gear David Bull Publishing
celebrates the life and times of one of the most enduring
pop icons in American history, James Dean. This book vibrates
with the ghosts and goings-on of 50 years ago. This guy
is forever young, forever, someone that we all felt that
we knew personally, and yet could not have. Featuring vivid
photographs, personal memorabilia, and telling reminiscences
from his closest friends and family, James Dean: At Speed
captures Dean's life both on and off the screen and reveals
an unseen side of this quintessential American idol.
This hot-off-the press book provides a richly
illustrated and definitive account of Dean's life, from
his early childhood and his determination to succeed as
an actor to a minute-by-minute account of the events of
September 30, 1955, and Dean's untimely death. The unmatched
accuracy and careful attention to detail of this research
have earned this book the endorsement of the Dean family
and a personal foreword by Dean's cousin, Marcus Winslow.
love affair with speed started early. By age ten he was
driving around the family farm on a tractor, then on a motorized
bicycle called a Whizzer. In high school he was the only
teenager to own a motorcycle, a CZ 125cc, and he was famous
for daredevil stunts and scaring the wits out of his classmates.
In the years following Dean bought a succession
of more powerful motorcycles. When his acting career generated
the money that finally allowed him to purchase a proper
sports car, he immediately bought a race-prepared MG, then
traded that for a Porsche Speedster, competing in sports
car races in southern California. As the whole world knows,
Dean was on his way to a race, driving his new state-of-the-art
Porsche 550 Spyder, when he lost his life in what has become
a legendary road accident.
This remarkable biography ends with a comprehensive
epilogue that brings Dean's story up to date. The reader
will learn what has happened to the people and the machines
that filled Dean's life.
This "Where are they now?" information
is fascinating and remarkable, it debunks the many myths
and misconceptions that have become intertwined with Dean's
saga. Now, fifty years after Dean's death, there are new
facts and many surprises in store for the reader. Since
no one has, I'd like to sub-title this one "He Sees
Me!" Are there any more (in)famous last words? Surely
not in our world!