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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781529332032

Price: £24.99

ON SALE: 10th October 2023

Genre: The Arts / Music / Music: Styles & Genres

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In this exceptional biography, Pulitzer Prize finalist Mary Gabriel chronicles the meteoric rise and enduring influence of the greatest female pop icon of the modern era: Madonna.

‘Daring to write a biography of a woman with whom the entire world is on a first-name basis, Mary Gabriel has created (astonishingly) a book neither gossip-driven nor highly snarky… she reveals instead a Madonna both more true and more unbelievably believable; a rock-and-roll suffragette… Norman Mailer once said to Madonna, ‘I’ve come to the conclusion that you are a great artist.’ Exquisitely detailed in her storytelling, Gabriel is clearly in that camp, convincing us that we all still vogue in the House of Madonna.’
Brad Gooch, author of City Poet

With her arrival on the music scene in the early 1980s, Madonna generated nothing short of an explosion – as great as that of Elvis or the Beatles – taking the nation by storm with her liberated politics and breathtaking talent.

But Madonna was more than just a pop star. Everywhere, fans gravitated to her as an emblem of a new age, one in which feminism could shed the buttoned-down demeanour of the 1970s and feel relevant to a new generation. Amid the scourge of AIDS, she brought queer identities into the mainstream, fiercely defending a person’s right to love whomever – and be whoever – they wanted. Despite fierce criticism, she never separated her music from her political activism. And as an artist, she never stopped experimenting. Madonna existed to push past boundaries by creating provocative, visionary music, videos, films and live performances that changed culture globally.

Deftly tracing Madonna’s story from her Michigan roots to her rise to super-stardom, master biographer Mary Gabriel captures the dramatic life and achievements of one of the greatest artists of our time.


Mary Gabriel has dared to write a biography of a woman with whom the entire world is on a first-name basis. Here, she reveals Madonna as a rock-and-roll suffragette, managing the stress test of her personal life and using the power of music to bring about social change. Exquisitely detailed in her storytelling, Gabriel convinces us that we all still vogue in the House of Madonna
Mary Gabriel's astonishing book with its pointillist detail feels fresh, surprising, vital, and necessary. It's thrilling to be reminded of how brave Madonna has been-to a fault! It doesn't matter where it springs from, because the results are the same: a singular, towering career that changed the culture
Jonathan Van Meter, author of THE LAST GOOD TIME
Mary Gabriel eloquently tells the engrossing story of how Madonna combined music, dance, art, fashion, theater and pop stardom to develop a completely contemporary way to be an artist. It chronicles how her embrace of the artistic vanguard transformed popular culture
Jeffrey Deitch, author of ART IN THE STREETS
Madonna built the house in which nearly all female artists now live . . . A Rebel Life brings home not just her obvious willpower and strength, but her fearlessness and sheer intelligence
Suzanne Moore, Daily Telegraph
This meticulous study puts the shape-shifting star in proper context . . . It's a mark of Gabriel's skill that she has managed to wrestle this complex, sprawling, eventful life into a book that rarely flags and conveys its subject's wider significance without tipping into hagiography
Guardian, *Book of the Day*