The 5 David Bowie Books You Need To Read This Fall

David Bowie, 1976
Terry O'Neill/Getty Images

David Bowie photographed in 1976.

With so many angles to consider, the Thin White Duke is the subject of five literary works slated for release in the coming months.

Edward Bell, author of the upcoming David Bowie book Unmade Up, believes that the music legend spent his life not as a circus act, but as the entire circus itself. “He was a clown, tightrope walker, lion tamer, snake charmer, acrobat and ringmaster,” says Bell, the visual artist behind Bowie’s album covers for 1980’s Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) and Tin Machine in 1989. A year-and-a-half after Bowie died at the age of 69, Bell’s book and four others try to capture Ziggy Stardust’s life, career and influence.

David Bowie: A Life
Dylan Jones, Sept. 12

Clocking in at 544 pages, Jones’ Bowie opus serves as the ultimate oral history of the artist’s life and musical journey. “I discovered things about him in the ’70s that shocked me,” says Jones. “His sexual and narcotic extravagance makes The Rolling Stones look like amateurs.”

Unmade Up
Edward Bell, Sept. 15

Collaborator and photographer Bell had both a front-row seat and a close hand in Bowie’s evolution. Through images and memories, he looks back at his creative and personal association with the icon, and each page includes a mix of classic shots and thoughtful insight.

The Man Who Fell to Earth
Paul Duncan, Oct. 7

Bowie’s landmark film, 1976’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, is revisited in a 2 lb., 500-page tome that plumbs the archives of unit photographer David James as he chronicled the movie’s production. The resulting imagery includes candid shots of Bowie at work.

Susan Compo, Oct. 24

Another peek into the making of The Man Who Fell to Earth, Compo’s Earthbound draws on extensive research and showcases the juiciest tidbits of the production -- like the time Bowie promised director Nicolas Roeg that his cocaine addiction wouldn't impede filming.

David Bowie Made Me Gay
Darryl W. Bullock, Nov. 21

Not so much a Bowie book as a look back at a century of LGBTQ music, the history lesson serves as a primer of a movement in which Bowie was key. As Bullock writes: “For many people, the death of the man born David Jones signaled the end of an era.”

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 19 issue of Billboard.


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