The Treasures of Bruce Lee

| March 12, 2013

Paul Bowman’s The Treasures of Bruce Lee, currently available from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, offers a biography of the late great film star and martial artist, housed in a dynamic hardcover volume that offers those who purchase it so much more than merely an interesting read. The book features a foreward by Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee, is jam-packed with countless photographs of Lee on- and off-set, and also, as the title would indicate, comes packaged with a number of “treasures”– 22 of them to be precise! I’ll go into these items in greater detail below.

The biography Bowman offers here is an incredibly quick read. The entire book is only 96 pages, of which no single page is presented sans photograph with the biographical text itself accounting for but a small fraction of each page that features it. As such, Bowman’s style is quite direct and bereft of any sort of flowery, atmospheric prose that might prevent him from including as much information as humanly possible in the space allotted to him. The biography tends to read a bit on the dull side as a result, but again, it’s an extremely quick read (you’ll easily read through it in an hour or two at the most if you avoid lingering on the images and bonus materials too long). Moreover, his purely informational approach lends itself quite well to those passages about Lee’s diet, workout regiments, and philosophy, for example. That said, any blandness in the text itself is more than compensated for by the wealth of previously unpublished pictures, diagrams, and materials hand-written by Lee featured on each page, not to mention the aforementioned “treasures.”

Pockets are included at six points throughout the book, which contain 22 facsimiles of posters and personal documents provided by the Bruce Lee Archives. Whilst there are certainly more comprehensive, and arguably more worthwhile, biographies of Bruce Lee available, the sheer number of previously unpublished photographs and collectibles here make The Treasures of Bruce Lee an exciting addition to any fan’s collection. The facsimile items included in the book, beginning with the five, full-size posters, are as follows:

-a Chinese-language poster for The Big Boss;
-Hong Kong posters for Way of the Dragon and Fist of Fury;
-an Enter the Dragon poster;
-a poster for one of Ed Parker’s karate tournaments boasting an appearance by The Green Hornet’s Bruce Lee;
-an 8×10 Big Boss lobby card;
-a bookmark featuring a sketch by Bruce Lee;
-a letter and postcard from boxer Jack Dempsey;
-a letter to James Lee featuring diagrams of martial arts moves;
-a photo of a young Bruce Lee giving a kung fu demonstration;
-a letter Lee wrote to Black Belt magazine;
-a badge worn by audience members at the premiere of Enter the Dragon;
-Lee’s tuition rate card for individual and group sessions;
-a get-well-soon card from Steve McQueen;
-a card distributed to audience members at the Enter the Dragon premiere;
-a hand-written poem by Lee;
-Lee’s notes on the final fight scene in Enter the Dragon;
-a membership card for Jun Fan Gung Fu;
-Lee’s handwritten notes on martial arts;
-a receipt for martial arts equipment;
-a blank record that Lee would have filled out for his students;
-and a sticker sheet.

About the Author:

Jef is a writer and educator in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a degree in Media & Cinema Studies from DePaul University, but sometimes he drops it and picks it back up again. He's also the Editor-in-Chief of and is fueled entirely by coffee (as if you couldn't tell).
Filed in: Books on Film

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.