In Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, readers take an evocative journey with author Keith Elliot Greenberg as he pieces together the puzzle of James Dean's final day and its everlasting impact. Greenberg travels to Dean's hometown to talk with folks who knew the star, and all the way to the California roads that underlay the tires of the actor's infamous Porsche Spyder. Taking the story back and forth in time, Greenberg gives insight into what drove Dean to live on the edge – the early loss of his mother, his relentless drive to explore for the sake of his craft. Dean once said, “Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.” He lived to experience, and the one love that compared to his love of acting was his love of racing cars. Greenberg puts the event in historical context, reflecting on the world Dean lived in at the time, an era after World War II, the end of the Korean War, the advent of rock and roll, with the sixties coming down the pike. The star's too-soon departure froze him as a symbol of American Cool, and as proven by the 20 000 people who return to Dean's grave each year to pay homage, a major influence on youth culture for myriad generations. With fresh interviews with insiders, riveting storytelling, and acute attention to details – from vehicle specs to Dean's stops along the way (including for an ominous speeding ticket) to how the news reached the world – Greenberg delivers a thoughtful look at this historical moment.
Keith Elliot Greenberg (New York City) is a book author and a journalist who has written about a variety of topics from wrestling to true crime. He has authored a number of books, including December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died (Backbeat Books). Greenberg is also a television producer and has worked on several popular programs, including America's Most Wanted.