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Bruce Lee: A Life Audiobook, by Matthew Polly Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Matthew Polly Narrator: Jonathan Todd Ross Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2018 ISBN: 9781508261056
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The most authoritative biography of film legend Bruce Lee, who made martial arts a global phenomenon, bridged the divide between Eastern and Western cultures, and smashed long-held stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans.

Forty-five years after Bruce Lee’s sudden death at age thirty-two, journalist and bestselling author Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life. It’s also one of the only accounts; incredibly, there has never been an authoritative biography of Lee. Following a decade of research that included conducting more than one hundred interviews with Lee’s family, friends, business associates, and even the actress in whose bed Lee died, Polly has constructed a complex, humane portrait of the icon.

Polly explores Lee’s early years as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father’s struggles with opium addiction and how that turned Bruce into a troublemaking teenager who was kicked out of high school and eventually sent to America to shape up; his beginnings as a martial arts teacher, eventually becoming personal instructor to movie stars like James Coburn and Steve McQueen; his struggles as an Asian-American actor in Hollywood and frustration seeing role after role he auditioned for go to a white actors in eye makeup; his eventual triumph as a leading man; his challenges juggling a sky-rocketing career with his duties as a father and husband; and his shocking end that to this day is still shrouded in mystery.

Polly breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and argues that, contrary to popular belief, he was an ambitious actor who was obsessed with the martial arts—not a kung-fu guru who just so happened to make a couple of movies. This is an honest, revealing look at an impressive yet imperfect man whose personal story was even more entertaining and inspiring than any fictional role he played onscreen. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Narrator Jonathan Todd Ross’ performance brings Lee to life with exuberance and energy. He was relentless in his pursuit of fame, and Ross conveys that frenzy with his rhythm, tone, and timing…Ross’ poignant narration of the funeral service captures the grief of his wife, Linda, and his two young children. Listeners will enjoy Ross’s presentation of this legend.”


  • “It moves with the authority, grace and economy of Lee himself. I was hooked from the first chapter.”

    Jimmy McDonough, New York Times bestselling author

  • “At last, Bruce Lee has the powerful biography he deserves…packed with new information and sharp insights. It will thrill Lee’s fans and fascinate the unfamiliar. Bravo!”

    Jonathan Eig, New York Times bestselling author

  • “The first noteworthy treatment of its subject—and a definitive one at that…Fascinating narrative threads proliferate.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Succeeds in capturing [Lee’s] energy and achievements, a volley of incident that rarely lets up…For anyone curious about Lee’s legacy, it’s a roundhouse kick of a biography.”

    Times (London)

  • “Lee’s charisma, ambition and relentless appetite for combat leap off the pages.”


  • Bruce Lee: A Life is proof that dogged research and sharp insight lie at the foundation of any successful biography. Its 600-plus pages suggest a definitive work to satisfy Lee’s fans and spark curiosity in a new generation.”

    Associated Press

  • “This thorough, well-sourced biography from Polly is an engrossing examination of the life of a martial arts movie star and his shocking, early death…Polly wonderfully profiles the man who constructed a new, masculine Asian archetype and ushered kung fu into pop culture.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Spirited celebration of the life of ‘the Patron Saint of Kung Fu,’ a stalwart of pop culture whose career is due for a revival…Students of martial arts, film history, and the 1970s alike will find much to enjoy in Polly’s homage.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A #1 bestseller

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About the Author

Matthew Polly is the nationally bestselling author of American Shaolin, Tapped Out, and Bruce Lee. A Princeton University graduate and Rhodes Scholar, he spent two years studying kung fu at the Shaolin Temple in Henan, China. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Esquire, Slate, Playboy, and the Nation. He is a fellow at Yale University.

About the Narrator

Jonathan Todd Ross is a writer and an Earphones and Audie Award–winning voice actor. He has lent his voice to numerous anime television shows, including Yu-Gi-Oh! and Sonic X.