Surviving James Dean (Book Review)

When I saw “Surviving James Dean” on the bookshelf, I felt I had to reach for it, probably just for reminiscing. James Dean was the idol of my teenage years, although I wasn’t all that much taken by him. My cousin, however, married her first husband because he looked, walked, and acted exactly like James Dean. When the actor died, our entire generation of people went into mourning.

I can’t tell how much of what I read in the book’s pages can be the truth. It is always easy to say anything for or against a person after his death, because he is not around to tell his truth or defend himself against lies, if there are lies.

This book, however, is a memoir of the writer William Bast and it reflects his life, his lifestyle, and the way he looks at his former roommate and friend. I did not take this book as James Dean’s truth as it would be in an objective biography, but more like as William Bast’s truth and his obsession with the actor.

James Dean was not only an American icon; he was an idol worldwide. The reference to Dean’s homosexual tendencies, therefore, should not be taken as facts, since they may be colored by the writer’s own tendencies and his awe of the actor. After Dean’s death, the author must have had his glory days, since everyone, the renowned and the unknown, held him in high esteem because of his friendship with Dean.

According to Bast, James Dean had his flaws, especially when it came to financial responsibility, recklessness, and maybe eccentricity, but he was enthusiastic about life and showed compassion to living things. The best part of the book for me were when the two friends shared an apartment and helped each other out in times of need.

The language of the author is direct and easy to understand, and some parts of the book can be very interesting to those who remember James Dean and still cherish his memory. A passage when the author gets his first ride in Dean’s famous white Porsche reveals the actor’s recklessness that led to his demise. Passages like this make the book worth reading.

“The Porsche, built low and sleek, took the hills as they were freeways, hugging the road neatly with each treacherous curve… I had never, in all the time I’d known him, ridden in a car with Jimmy when he’d driven so fast. That night I swore I’d never ride with him again.”

The author of the book, William Bast, educated at the University of Wisconsin and UCLA, has concentrated extensively on James Dean in the book James Dean: a Biography and in “The Myth Makers” a television drama. Originally from Milwaukee, Bast resides in Los Angeles.

“Surviving James Dean” is in hardcover with 320 pages and ISBN: 156980298X.

Even if it was written from a different perspective and possibly an obsession, I found the book descriptive and interesting, because it points to the complexities of two people who have shared a friendship as well as room and board. “Surviving James Dean” could be worth reading if you keep an open mind about a few uncertainties.

James Dyson Biography – Founder of Dyson Vacuum Cleaners

If you have heard of Dyson vacuum cleaners, then you have heard of James Dyson. Sir James Dyson is the man who invented the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner. Born in England on May 2, 1947, he is one of the richest men in the world. In 2008, it was estimated that his work was over £1 billion. His invention has revolutionized not only the vacuum cleaner world but the appliance world in general.

One of three children, Dyson was educated at Gresham’s School and was known to excel in long distance running. Following this, he spent a year at the Byam Shaw School of Art and then studied at the Royal College of Art. While in school, Dyson studied furniture to interior design and engineering. In 1968 he married Deirdre Hindmarsh, with whom he has three children.

James Dyson invented many things before he struck gold and became famous for his work with vacuum cleaners. His first invention was the sea truck, which launched in 1970, and sold for upwards of $500 million. Following this, Dyson worked with modifying wheelbarrows, making a Ballbarrow, a wheelbarrow that used a ball instead of a wheel). He went on to invent the Trolleyball, a trolley that launched boats, and the Wheelboat.

It was in the 1970s that Dyson started his work with vacuum cleaners. He had the idea to use cyclonic separation for vacuums so that they would not have to lose suction during cleaning. His idea came about because he was frustrated with his own Hoover vacuum: debris would fill up and clog the bag and then the vacuum would lose suction.

In 1983, after five years of development and over 5,000 prototypes, Dyson launched the G-Force cleaner in Japan through catalogs. His product wouldn’t launch in his native UK because distributors and manufacturers didn’t want to disturb the cleaner-bag market. In 1991, Dyson received the 1991 International Design Fair prize in Japan.

In 1993, Dyson created his own manufacturing company and opened a factory and research facility in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. By 2005, Dyson vacuum cleaners had become the leading brand in the United States by value.

Dyson researchers created vacuum cleaners with high levels of suction power by adding a small in diameter cyclone to give the cleaner more centrifugal force. The vacuum sold well because it did not need the user to continuously replace vacuum bags. In 2005, Dyson used his earlier invention of the Ballbarrow to update the Dyson vacuum cleaners. He used this invention’s concept to create the Dyson Ball, which has been said to make the Dyson vacuums more easily maneuvered.

Dyson’s company tried to expand to include more appliances than just vacuum cleaners. In 2003, Dyson introduced the ContraRotator washing machine to the company’s line-up. This machines two rotating drums that move in opposite directions. However, the brightly colored machines didn’t sell well and they are no longer being sold.

Most recently, in 2006, Dyson launched a hand dryer that is fast and hygienic. The Dyson Airblade has an air stream at 400 mph. Dyson vacuum cleaners and the company’s other products are among the most widely known and popular in the world. The company only continues to expand, and with its popularity comes imitators. In fact, Dyson has had to sue other companies for infringement. Still, the sales of the company only continue to increase, and Dyson and his researchers are still hard at work experimenting with new ideas and technologies.