The Tao of Bruce Lee

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In his Pulitzer Prize-nominated first book, The Tao of Muhammad Ali (1996), Davis Miller examined Muhammad Ali’s enduring popularity as an athlete and cultural icon. The Tao of Bruce Lee looks at the life and legend of Bruce Lee, international film star and master of martial arts.

Miller’s The Tao of Bruce Lee describes his own awkward childhood as an undersized and much-abused youth who found solace in martial arts. When he sees his first Bruce Lee film, Enter the Dragon (1973), he is captivated as much by Lee’s skill as his presence on screen. Bruce Lee becomes a focal point for Miller’s own aspirations as a martial artist and a man. He submerges himself in the literature and lore concerning Lee’s life. While he is inspired by Lee’s disciplined training and legendary skill, Miller is also interested in the man behind the image.

In the latter half of this work, Miller provides his own biographical sketch of Lee’s life, based on interviews with former students and friends. The portrait of Lee that emerges is one of a complex man who struggled under the weight of his own celebrity. Miller exposes the less glamorous side of Bruce Lee’s life, and he speculates on the roots of Lee’s enduring attraction as a cultural icon, an attraction that often distorts the real image of the man.