"After her death in 1962, Marilyn the star became Marilyn the myth: sex goddess and innocent child, crafty manipulator and dumb blonde, liberated woman and tragic loner. Indeed, the writing and rewriting of this endlessly intriguing icon's life has produced more than six hundred books, from the long procession of "authoritative" biographies to the memoirs and plays by ex-husband Arthur Miller and the works by Norman Mailer and Joyce Carol Oates. But even as the books have multiplied, myth, reality, fact, fiction, and gossip have become only more intertwined; there is still no consensus about such basic facts as the identity of her father or even her given name. Was she was molested as a child? Did she prostitute herself to get ahead? Did she have affairs with one or both of the Kennedy brothers? Was she mentally unstable, and how and why did she die?" "In The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, cultural critic Sarah Churchwell gives us a biography of the biographies. She reviews the unreliable and unverifiable - but highly significant - stories that have framed the greatest Hollywood legend, from the circumstances of her birth to the mystery surrounding her death. Peeling back the fantasies, fallacies, and falsehood that have colored the portraits of Monroe, Churchwell uncovers the shame, belittlement, and anxiety that we bring to the story of a woman we supposedly adore. In the process, she reveals us to ourselves: our conflicted views on women, our tormented sexual attitudes, our ambivalence about success, our fascination with self-destruction. And she rescues a Marilyn Monroe who is far more complicated and credible than the one we think we know."--Jacket.