British author Bragg quotes extensively from Burton's notebooks in which he related his most private thoughts. The revelations will appeal to readers avid for gossip but they are more interesting as evidence of the late actor's writing gifts and of his literary ambitions. The biography, however, is heavily repetitious about the mutually obsessive loving and destructive Taylor/Burton relationship: their years in the international spotlight, their profligate spending and insatiable drinking; their extreme generosity to those in need. More affecting are reminiscences of Burton's Welsh family, his mentors Philip Burton and Emlyn Williams, friends and co-stars who share memories of the rise of a poor miner's son to world renown. There are also perceptive critiques of the star's successes on stage ( Hamlet , Camelot , Equus ) and in film ( Becket , Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf ). A reader regrets that Burton's death in 1984 at age 58 cut short a life so luminous and full of promise still. Photos. First serial to Life and Ladies' Home Journal; BOMC main selection; Readers' Digest Condensed Book selection.