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Bowie: A Biography

Bowie: A Biography

Release Date: 
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
# of Pages: 

It starts with the year 1942 when David Jones, later aka David Bowie, aka “Ziggy Stardust”, aka “The Thin White Duke” was born. The early chapters of the book include the circumstances surrounding his birth and his mother Peggy’s recollections. The author Marc Spitz informs readers who and what inspired and influenced young David, starting from his half-brother Terry. The fact that David was intrigued by many people and many things transforms a shy and reserved boy into David Bowie, a man of many faces.


Since this is not an autobiography, naturally the book relies heavily on recollections of other people who know Bowie, rather than Bowie’s own words. There are enough “when I met David the first time, he was…..” moments. The stories about how Kenneth Pitt (Bowie’s manager in the early years), Lindsay Kemp and Brian Eno have changed him are interesting, but it would be even more insightful if the book included more of Bowie himself talking about him meeting friends, other musicians, and show business people.


If you want to know about David Bowie, Bowie: A Biography will undoubtedly make you more knowledgeable about him and his close associates. The book is easy to follow, and readers and fans will be able to connect his music and his personal experience. The author does a good job of displaying who impacted David Bowie, and whom David Bowie impacted. Behind the scene stories (e.g. the SNL debut, changing record labels) are informative; nonetheless, unfortunately, this book does not reveal anything completely shocking or new to me. I like David Bowie’s music very much but I certainly don’t consider myself an aficionado of his personal life. Those who have been following Bowie’s career likely already know his androgynous appearance, eccentric make-ups and costumes, flamboyant stage performances, cocaine addictions, and sexual ambiguity. The book re-confirms that David Bowie is certainly an artist who has witnessed and participated in both the glamorous and ugly sides of music and fashion scenes as well as pop culture since the 60s. Even though I feel that the book lacks an intimate portrait of David Bowie and I wanted to know more about his feelings, regrets, desires, passions, personal agonies or pains, this is decent as a biography written by a third party author.

Review by Pat Trabi