“The first noteworthy treatment of its subject—and a definitive one at that.”


—The New York Times Book Review

“The First Noteworthy Treatment Of Its Subject—And A Definitive One At That.”

—The New York Times Book Review

The Most Authoritative biography 

Featuring dozens of rarely seen photographs—of film legend Bruce Lee, who made martial arts a global phenomenon, bridged the divide between Eastern and Western cultures, and smashed long-held stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans.

Forty-five years after Bruce Lee’s sudden death at age thirty-two, journalist and bestselling author Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life. It’s also one of the only accounts; incredibly, there has never been an authoritative biography of Lee. Following a decade of research that included conducting more than one hundred interviews with Lee’s family, friends, business associates, and even the actress in whose bed Lee died, Polly has constructed a complex, humane portrait of the icon.

Order Your Copy of Bruce Lee: A life  Today!

From childhood to the mysterious end

Polly explores Lee’s early years as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father’s struggles with opium addiction and how that turned Bruce into a troublemaking teenager who was kicked out of high school and eventually sent to America to shape up; his beginnings as a martial arts teacher, eventually becoming personal instructor to movie stars like James Coburn and Steve McQueen; his struggles as an Asian-American actor in Hollywood and frustration seeing role after role he auditioned for go to a white actors in eye makeup; his eventual triumph as a leading man; his challenges juggling a sky-rocketing career with his duties as a father and husband; and his shocking end that to this day is still shrouded in mystery.

The man behind the myth

Polly breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and argues that, contrary to popular belief, he was an ambitious actor who was obsessed with the martial arts—not a kung-fu guru who just so happened to make a couple of movies. This is an honest, revealing look at an impressive yet imperfect man whose personal story was even more entertaining and inspiring than any fictional role he played onscreen.

At last, Bruce Lee has the powerful biography he deserves. Matthew Polly’s book is packed with new information and sharp insights. It will thrill Lee’s fans and fascinate the unfamiliar.

—Jonathan Eig

New York Times bestselling author of ALI: A Life

Watch the Bruce Lee Book Trailer

“For anyone curious about Lee’s legacy, it’s a roundhouse kick of a biography.”

—Sunday Times of London  

“For anyone curious about Lee’s legacy, it’s a roundhouse kick of a biography.”

—Sunday Times of London  














Matthew Polly is the national bestselling author of American Shaolin, Tapped Out and Bruce Lee: A Life. A Princeton University graduate and Rhodes Scholar, he spent two years studying kung fu at the Shaolin Temple in Henan, China. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Esquire, Slate, Playboy, and The Nation. He is a fellow at Yale University and lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Polly  grew up in Topeka, Kansas to Dr. Richard Polly and Linda Nolan Polly. Dr. Richard Polly was a physician to the Dallas Cowboys and Matthew spent a significant portion of his childhood on the sidelines of the Texas Stadium. However, it was the prowess and mystique of Bruce Lee and Kwai Chang Caine—the protagonist of Matthew’s favorite 1970s series, Kung Fu—that inspired him to one day become a fighter and writer.

Order Your Copy of Bruce Lee: A Life  Today! 


“Spirited celebration of the life of ‘the Patron Saint of Kung Fu,’ a stalwart of pop culture whose career is due for a revival….Students of martial arts, film history, and the 1970s alike will find much to enjoy in Polly’s homage.”


“The first authoritative biography of the martial arts teacher and movie star, who died mysteriously at 32 but whose films, like Enter the Dragon, still thrill decades later.”

Sharp Insight

“Matthew Polly’s ‘Bruce Lee: A Life’ is proof that dogged research and sharp insight lie at the foundation of any successful biography. Its 600-plus pages suggest a definitive work to satisfy Lee’s fans and spark curiosity in a new generation.”

Thoroughly Enjoyable!

“Illuminating, expansive and thoroughly enjoyable….In Polly, Lee cannot have found a better Boswell, a more kindred spirit….Polly’s enthralling biography, which at times reads like a screenplay full of dialogue and mots justes, is a deeply humanizing portrait of a complicated character.” 

Myth Busting

 “Matthew Polly’s biography of the martial-arts expert, whose movies ‘Fist of Fury,’ ‘Way of the Dragon’ and ‘Enter the Dragon’ were international hits, is thorough, balanced and myth-busting.”

“Lee’s charisma, ambition and relentless appetite for combat leap off the pages.”   


Order Your Copy of Bruce Lee: A Life  Today! 

Download A Free Excerpt


Subscribe to get a sneak peek of my new book, Bruce Lee: A Life Here.

You'll also receive periodic updates from me about future books and projects. 

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Download A Free Excerpt

Subscribe to get a sneak peek of my new book, Bruce Lee: A Life Here.

You'll also receive periodic updates from me about future books and projects.

Look for the link to your FREE EXCERPT in your inbox!