Join Greg Laurie as he takes a cross-country drive in his 1968 Highland Green Ford Mustang 390 GT through the canyons of Malibu, the alleys of Hollywood, the wide and open roads of the Midwest, the streets of New York, as he traces the wooly geography of actor Steve McQueen's life, relationships, career and spiritual journey. This iconic muscle car was the vehicle McQueen drove in his most raucous and enduring film, Bullitt.
In the 1960s, McQueen was, according to box office receipts, the biggest movie star of his generation and one of the coolest men to ever walk the planet. Greg Laurie was a teen at the time and an ardent fan of ''The King of Cool,'' first mesmerized by McQueen in 1963's The Great Escape. Like millions of cinema fans, Greg developed a lifelong fascination with the actor. Now he has a chance to tell McQueen's story.
McQueen was a complex, contradictory man who lived the same way he drove his motorcycles and cars: fearlessly, ruthlessly and at top speed. After a lifetime of fast cars, women and drugs, McQueen took a surprising detour.
In this book, Laurie thoughtfully interviews members of Steve McQueen's family, friends, co-stars, associates, widow and pastor to tell of the dramatic life-change for the actor in the spring of 1979 - six months before McQueen was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
What were the critical steps that led McQueen to make such a life-altering decision? Perhaps more importantly, why is that part of his story so rarely told? This book answers these questions.
Greg Laurie will follow the seeds of Christianity that were sown throughout McQueen's improbable life where a Light finally shone into the darkness of his troubled life. These seeds miraculously germinated, allowing McQueen to see that redemption through Jesus Christ is a lasting truth more glittering and real than any magic of the entertainment industry.
We really enjoyed this easy to listening to and fun book. We did not know who Steve McQueen so once we finished the audio book; we of course had to watch one of his movies!
- The Gospel can Reach Anyone
The Salvation of American Icon
I grew up in a home that loved old movies. Apart from The Dirty Dozen, these weren't generally the shoot-em-ups that I prefer nowadays, but rather Marx Brothers and Cary Grant hits. One of our favorites, however, was The Great Escape, and I can still recall my mother fawning a bit over Steve McQueen's character, the pleasantly rebellious brains with his baseball glove and, eventually, his self-stunted motorcycle jump. Though I knew very little else of the man other than that he was a professional racer as well as an actor, that singular memory and the promise that this man ultimately trusted in Christ piqued my interested when I saw this book, and I was wonderfully surprised that ChristianAudio was offering it as it's free book of the month.
Greg Laurie's approach in this biography is unique, as he attempts to mirror McQueen's troubled upbringing to his own. I'd never heard of Laurie (though I've not got a sense of his Harvest ministry in CA now), so from the outset, the promise of a dual-bio about two men who'd never met made a little leery. That just didn't sound interesting to me. Somehow it works, because Laurie's intent isn't so much to write about himself as it is it show that the similarities we have with others could be bridges of communication (if that person were actually alive and in our presence), if not merely of understanding. That Laurie understands the difficult life that McQueen endured does in fact make him a viable biographer, because in his research, he then knows the right questions to ask and, in turn, can read the shades of meaning in the answers he receives.
I was a little confused by the car ride throughout the book. I know from the introduction that he's fictionalizing his travels for the sake of continuity, but he writes in such detail about the food he eats, the sites he visits, and the sleep he loses that it's almost a distracting technique. I kept wondering if he really was meeting these people and, if not, ether their words were accurately recorded or not. Even after finishing the book, I still don't know.
This biography isn't an encouraging one, if one's looking for the secrets of social fame and success. It is however an honest dissection of the false prize that celebrity status truly is. It's been repeated so often that it's almost a cliche, but the more wealth and fame a person achieves, the less fulfilling it all becomes. I really appreciated Laurie's comparison to King Solomon and his Ecclesiastes, for "Vanity of vanities" everything promise of this life comes up empty.
I was also greatly encouraged by the strong Gospel themes shared throughout the book. I've read other "road-trip" books by supposed Christians like The Great Wall and the Salton Sea by Russel Rathbun, also a pastor, and those works pale in comparison to this. Greg Laurie had a singular goal of sharing the good news of the redemption of Hollywood's most macho icon, and he did so with Christ-exalting clarity. The Gospel was clearly presented at the end of the book, and I just about cheered when I heard it.
I look forward to finding some of these old McQueen hits mentioned in this book, just to get a look at a man my generation barely knows, but whom I'm going to meet someday in Heaven. I look forward to telling him how I learned all about his life and conversion from an audio book I listened to, mostly, while commuting to an from work on the seat of my red motorcycle. No big jumps for me on the bike, but quite a boost for me spiritually.
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This is excellent. An icon of growing up. But the documentaries leave out the important part, Steve McQueen was converted. This audio covers it all. Interview with the Pastor of the church where Steve attended. A lot of work went into this book/audio. We give thanks to God for all things.
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It was great!
- Not too maudlin and very encouraging
I already had an interest in Steve McQueen's life and Greg Laurie's book has done a very good, and entertaining job of sharing his story. I love the comparisons he makes between Steve's upbringing and his. I love the fictitious journey he takes. I really love the spiritual insights as he goes along. All in all a very encouraging listen.
- To be sure the central character was a man but the story was about the grace of God in that man's life.
I love Mustangs like the one in "Bullit" but I had no idea about the actor Steve McQueen. The way the story was presented kept me coming back to finish the book in one very long flight from the U.S. to Dubai.
I was so happy to hear how various people in show biz witnessed to Mr. McQueen and that a fairly anonymous pastor in Southern Calif helped bring him into the Lord's family.
I was left wondering about the spiritual status of Mr. McQueen's Idaho wife. I pray she too is one of God's children.