Authorized by the Bruce Lee Enterprises, The Treasures of Bruce Lee by Paul Bowman tells "the official story of the legendary martial artist," as the subtitle states. There have been many biographies of Bruce over the years, but what makes this one special is its interactive nature, creating an experience similar to reading Nick Bantock's Griffin & Sabine trilogy.
Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco's Chinatown at the Jackson Street Hospital on November 27, 1940 while his actor father Hoi-Chuen was working in the United States. The following year saw Bruce's parents return to Hong Kong when he was three months old. Family photos accompany text that details the death of Bruce's loved ones, from his parents to his son Brandon.
Bruce showed determination at an early age, becoming a child actor, and later Hong Kong cha cha champion of 1958. He returned to the states, relocating in Seattle, and began teaching gung fu to anyone interested. This angered some in the Chinese community who thought Bruce was giving away too many secrets to non-Chinese people. A fight was organized to determine if he could continue. There are chapters devoted to Bruce's teacher, Ip Man, as well as his fitness training regime and diet.
The book then delves into his show-business career. Starting with the failed Number 1 Son show, he went on to co-star in The Green Hornet. Because Hollywood wouldn't take a chance on him, Bruce had to return to Hong King to make movies. After proving himself at the box-office, Hollywood came back and together they made the landmark Enter the Dragon. Called “the ultimate Martial Arts masterpiece” on the film's poster, it made Bruce an international star and brought martial arts out of the east and shared them with the rest of the world. Tragically, Bruce Lee died six days before the film was released, so he was unable to reap the rewards of his success.
The book offers 22 extra items, referred to as "enclosures." They include posters for Enter the Dragon and Chinese versions for Big Boss, Way of the Dragon, and Fist of Fury, a hand-drawn bookmark, replicas of letters from Bruce and to him from boxer Jack Dempsey and actor Steve McQueen.
The Treasures of Bruce Lee is an absolute treasure to fans of the man. Bowman's book offers an informative biography and the enclosures allow readers to experience Bruce's life in a more authetic manner than words alone are able to convey.