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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

STEVE McQUEEN: THE SALVATION of an AMERICAN ICON (audiobook) by Greg Laurie and Marshall Terrill

Published by Christianaudio.com in 2017.
Read by John Pruden.
Duration: 7 hours, 2 minutes.

In the 1960's to the 1970's, Steve McQueen (1930-1980) was the epitome of "cool" in Hollywood. Movies like The Magnificent Seven, Bullitt and The Great Escape made him one of the most sought-after actors in the world.

But, there was a long back story to Steve McQueen and his tragic death due to cancer had a surprising twist for a man who seemed to be out to take as much out of life as possible.

Greg Laurie, a super-successful California pastor (who I had never heard of, but his Wikipedia page is something else) decided to investigate a rumor that Steve McQueen became a Christian before his death. He decided to be methodical and investigate McQueen's life from its beginning in Beech Grove, Indiana to its end at Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

McQueen was born at St. Francis hospital in Beech Grove, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis. His family struggled from the very beginning and he never knew his father. His mother struggled with substance abuse and often brought home "boyfriends" who abused both Steve and his mom. 

The author grew up with similar struggles (single mom who moved a lot, abused a lot of different substances and brought unsavory men into the household) and he uses this similar background as a starting point of the book. In reality, this book is both a biography of McQueen and an autobiography of Laurie. I found both of their lives to be interesting and Laurie's observations about his own experiences growing up shed light on Steve McQueen's life as well.

Laurie follows McQueen from his childhood (including a stint in a group home for young men that was similar to a low-intensity jail) to his stint in the Marines to his beginnings as an actor in New York City and then on to Hollywood.

The question that Laurie was investigating was whether McQueen became a Christian before he died. Yes, he did - several months before he was diagnosed with the aggressive cancer that killed him.

I am not a particularly great fan of Steve McQueen, but this biography was pretty interesting as a look at popular culture 50 years ago. This book could've have used a little less about Greg Laurie and a half hour of repetitive storytelling could have easily been edited out of this audiobook. Despite those caveats, this was still an enjoyable listen.

John Pruden read the audiobook and he did an excellent job. It truly sounded like he was reading his own story.

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: STEVE McQUEEN: THE SALVATION of an AMERICAN ICON (audiobook) by Greg Laurie and Marshall Terrill.

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