ISBN: 0-595-21588-2 / © 2002 James Bishop
"Reflections on the Philosophical
by James Bishop
and Historical Legacy of Bruce Lee"
Review by Kip Brockett
James Bishop is known in the Bruce Lee world for having written several articles, a previous book, winning the Bruce Lee Educational Foundation's First Annual Essay Contest, and for conducting lectures on the philosophies of the late master. For a time, he also ran an Internet discussion forum called Everything About Bruce Lee.
This book is largely a collection of those articles and interviews written and conducted by James Bishop that was previously published in various magazines and in his book, Remembering Bruce: The Enduring Legacy of the Martial Arts Superstar.
If you are a fan of James Bishop's writings, you'll enjoy this book. For one thing, you'll have all of the articles and interviews in one collection and without the editing that gets done by magazine editors. If you've never read any of his material, this is as good a place as any to start.
Between the covers you will find interviews with Patrick Strong, John Little, and Taky Kimura. As an added bonus, Mr. Bishop shares some of the bantering between Davis Miller (author of The Tao of Bruce Lee) and himself that occurred on his internet discussion forum. You will get to read about his trip to Ireland and his observations stemming from that visit. And of course, a hefty examination of Bruce Lee's philosophical legacy.
The most unique part of the book is approximately the last 1/3 of it. Mr. Bishop examines many of the philosophical sources of Bruce Lee's writings and also tries to construct a listing of books contained within Bruce Lee's personal library. He also discusses the Bruce Lee Educational Foundation and its eventual demise.
One thing is for sure. James Bishop is not going to win any popularity contests within the JKD world! He pulls no punches in his approach to the subject and I'm sure will ruffle some feathers. There will be many die-hard Bruce Lee fans who take exception to his approach as well as his statements.
There is nothing contained here that leads me to believe, though, that Mr. Bishop has malicious intent to slander Bruce Lee. His approach is honest and to the point.
There does seem to be a contradiction in his writings. In the earlier writings (the compilation part) there is an obvious reverance to Bruce Lee and his philosophical outlook. Toward the end, it appears that there is a hesitance or reluctance to view Bruce Lee in the same awe-inspiring light.
I'm not a big fan of compilations or re-printing of previously published works to fill a book. However, though I had read several of the articles previously, I do believe having them all together helped me to appreciate Mr. Bishop's writings a bit more.
My main reason for giving this a 4 Star rating is because of the last portion of the book. I'm afraid that if it weren't for this, I would have had to give it a lower rating. As I said, I'm not a big fan of compilations of previously published works, but the subject of source material for Bruce Lee's writings has not been addressed very often. The book would have been a 5 Star if this would have been the subject of the entire book.
With that being said, when the subject of source material rises, much criticism abounds. Mr. Bishop took a bold step. Whether you agree with him, disagree with him, like him, hate him,... whatever... he has done his research and honestly presented his subject. He also has seemed to have been transformed in the process.
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