Official Review: Killing Vincent; The Man, The Myth, and ...

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Miriam Molina
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Official Review: Killing Vincent; The Man, The Myth, and ...

Post by Miriam Molina » 17 Nov 2018, 07:00

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Killing Vincent; The Man, The Myth, and The Murder" by I. Kaufman Arenberg MD.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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And when no hope was left inside
on that starry, starry night,
you took your life as lovers often do.
So goes the line from Don Mclean’s hit song “Vincent (Starry Starry Night)” about the life and death of Vincent van Gogh, painter par excellence, and known as the art world's “tortured soul.”

Dr. Arenberg, a retired ear surgeon and a van Gogh fanatic, begs to disagree. The final sentence of his preface resounds, “He was murdered.” Thirty years of studying Vincent’s short life of 37 years led Dr. Arenberg to that conclusion. His book presents his arguments to support this allegation; he explores the why, where, and how of the murder of this revered icon. He uses both the available historical evidence and the tools provided by modern forensic technology. Then he proposes a who! If you love art, know van Gogh, or enjoy forensics, this book will keep you hugely entertained.

While I waited for this book to download, I was worrying that there was an error because it was taking so long. Finally, I had this huge PDF file of 70MB.

Killing Vincent: The Man, the Myth, and the Murder is a fascinating book on many counts. The file is so large as it contains a lot of pictures; it’s a virtual art gallery of Vincent’s works. He is known to have produced around 900 oil paintings during his painting years (only ten years); the book has around seventy of them. Awesome! The author recounts Vincent’s life, focusing on his last three days. He is said to have shot himself in a field, walked a mile back to his quarters, and died 30 hours later. I got to know the people contemporaneous to Vincent well, as if I were there watching them as they interacted. Vincent and beloved brother Theo, friend Paul Gauguin, doctor Paul Gachet and son Paul Jr., and model Adeline all come alive in the pages. Heaps of evidence debunking the suicide theory are in the book. The author definitely convinced me. I was almost moved to curse those scheming hypocrites who killed Vincent! The book is arranged methodically; one can easily navigate the pages and reread portions desired. Most chapters end with a helpful summary. The author’s unreserved admiration for Vincent shines through; it doesn’t hurt that I am a Vincent fan myself. I so want to give this book a perfect rating. But I can’t.

While the book is heavily researched, the editing leaves much to be desired. There are various grammatical errors, including wrong verbs, inconsistent spellings and misspellings, faulty sentences, and bad punctuation. There are various sentences, even whole paragraphs, that are repeated for no apparent reason. We find at least 300 figures (photos, paintings, or diagrams) in the book; there are times when these are incorrectly referenced. Two sets of figures are numbered 80 to 93, adding to the confusion.

I support Dr. Arenberg’s dogged pursuit of the truth surrounding Vincent’s demise. He perseveres in clearing Vincent’s name of the stigma of suicide, although many in the art world think it “blasphemous” to say Vincent did not kill himself. Will any of the rich art collectors finance the further investigation of Vincent van Gogh’s death in 1890, so the truth can be told? I certainly hope so.

In the meantime, I urge Dr. Arenberg to polish his book, so it can be a masterpiece worthy of the master he “pays homage to.” Right now, the book gets 3 out of 4 stars.

P.S. Van Gogh’s paintings gained fame only after he died. He sold only one painting during his lifetime; it earned 400 Belgian francs in 1889 (equivalent to US$2000 today). He died a pauper. In contrast, his most expensive painting sold for US$82.5 million in 1990. His most famous work, “The Starry Night” (referred to in the song), is speculated to fetch US$300 million if ever it will be auctioned. Whatever way he died, one truth remains: Vincent’s star will shine forever.

******
Killing Vincent; The Man, The Myth, and The Murder
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Post by Bianka Walter » 18 Nov 2018, 03:00

I wonder if he had lived on (no murder/suicide) and tried harder to promote his work if things might have changed? The stigma surrounding his suicide is what made people look in the first place, so maybe, without his death, we wouldn't even know van Gogh's work today?
Either way - this sounds super interesting :)
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Post by gen_g » 18 Nov 2018, 03:53

I always found van Gogh a fascinating character, and I do think that it is really important for the world to find out more about the man behind all the beautiful artworks. I'm glad that the author took up this pursuit, although it is a pity about the editing errors. Thank you for the stunning review, as always! (:

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Post by Miriam Molina » 18 Nov 2018, 16:06

Bianka Walter wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 03:00
I wonder if he had lived on (no murder/suicide) and tried harder to promote his work if things might have changed? The stigma surrounding his suicide is what made people look in the first place, so maybe, without his death, we wouldn't even know van Gogh's work today?
Either way - this sounds super interesting :)
One would really wonder: what if? I also learned these: The song Vincent is continuously played in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. While Dutch, Vincent's most prolific years were in France. He is also buried there. He suffered four broken hearts and one broken ear.

I had a great time with this book! Merci, Vincent!

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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 18 Nov 2018, 16:14

gen_g wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 03:53
I always found van Gogh a fascinating character, and I do think that it is really important for the world to find out more about the man behind all the beautiful artworks. I'm glad that the author took up this pursuit, although it is a pity about the editing errors. Thank you for the stunning review, as always! (:
It is a stunning book. While the "suicide theory" has been questioned before, this seems to be the first time that somebody is shouting "murder." Will we ever find the truth? "Can we handle it?" Reminiscent of A Few Good Men!

Hey, gen_g. The review for Never Enough Love is out. I respect the reviewer's take on it.

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Post by sonya01 » 18 Nov 2018, 16:38

Miriam, this review is wonderful! :tiphat: Your unbridled enthusiasm for Vincent and this book shine through and it makes me really want to look deeper into this mystery. Thanks for the time and effort you clearly put into this.

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Post by T_stone » 18 Nov 2018, 17:39

It must have taken you a great deal of time and utmost concentration to review this book; and you have done a good job with this one. I think if Van Gogh was still alive(lives long), he won't have made a name for himself. Thanks for the review Miriam.
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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 18 Nov 2018, 19:54

sonya01 wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 16:38
Miriam, this review is wonderful! :tiphat: Your unbridled enthusiasm for Vincent and this book shine through and it makes me really want to look deeper into this mystery. Thanks for the time and effort you clearly put into this.
Even before I started reading, I was thinking "four stars!" It's really a shame about the errors. I wish everyone could read this book. Van Gogh must be smiling among the stars now. His dying words to his brother were, "The sadness will last forever ('la tristesse durera toujours' in French)." I hope the sadness has ended.

Thanks for the appreciation!

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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 18 Nov 2018, 19:58

T_stone wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 17:39
It must have taken you a great deal of time and utmost concentration to review this book; and you have done a good job with this one. I think if Van Gogh was still alive(lives long), he won't have made a name for himself. Thanks for the review Miriam.
We will never know. The man inspired many other artists and is believed to have paved the way for modern art.

Thanks for the visit!

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Post by gen_g » 18 Nov 2018, 21:47

Miriam Molina wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 16:14
gen_g wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 03:53
I always found van Gogh a fascinating character, and I do think that it is really important for the world to find out more about the man behind all the beautiful artworks. I'm glad that the author took up this pursuit, although it is a pity about the editing errors. Thank you for the stunning review, as always! (:
It is a stunning book. While the "suicide theory" has been questioned before, this seems to be the first time that somebody is shouting "murder." Will we ever find the truth? "Can we handle it?" Reminiscent of A Few Good Men!

Hey, gen_g. The review for Never Enough Love is out. I respect the reviewer's take on it.
Indeed!

I have just seen the review, I'm glad that the reviewer enjoyed it still. :)

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Post by Book Lover 35 » 18 Nov 2018, 23:42

Thank you about making your point about the story on PDF. I know that I would be curious why it was taking so long too. I love when books have pictures so I am excited about that. The book sounds interesting. Great review!
:tiphat:

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Post by kandscreeley » 19 Nov 2018, 09:09

I'm just not really into art. I admire the artist's talent as I could never do something like that, but I can't stare at the pieces for hours trying to puzzle them out. Nor am I really interested in the artist's life. For those that are, this would be fascinating I'm sure. I'll pass, though. Thanks.
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Post by Miriam Molina » 19 Nov 2018, 10:42

Book Lover 35 wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 23:42
Thank you about making your point about the story on PDF. I know that I would be curious why it was taking so long too. I love when books have pictures so I am excited about that. The book sounds interesting. Great review!
I do hope you can read the book and enjoy the pictures (especially the paintings), too. What's great about ebooks is that you can enlarge the pictures to see them better.

Thanks for the visit.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 19 Nov 2018, 11:21

kandscreeley wrote: ↑
19 Nov 2018, 09:09
I'm just not really into art. I admire the artist's talent as I could never do something like that, but I can't stare at the pieces for hours trying to puzzle them out. Nor am I really interested in the artist's life. For those that are, this would be fascinating I'm sure. I'll pass, though. Thanks.
I definitely don't have that talent. My specialty is drawing stick people. I also wouldn't be able to distinguish good art from bad, especially the abstract kind. But I love learning about how famous people lived (and died). While preparing the review, I checked the Net for other artists who died so young. One I found was Raphael Santi (the last of the Renaissance trinity with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo) who is rumored to have died at 37 after a night of excessive sex. Can you call that self-inflicted and, therefore, a suicide?

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Post by Sushan » 19 Nov 2018, 12:18

I am interested in forensics as well as historical mysteries. This will be a great read for me. Thank you for the nice review đź‘Ťđź‘Ť
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