“Bruce Lee: Letters Of The Dragon” Book Review

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The icon of martial arts, Bruce Lee, was a man of many talents. His endeavors were far beyond his physical attributes, as his flexed his mind perhaps more so than he flexed his taut muscles. The founder of Jeet Kune Do, he went through a dramatic transformation from the moment he arrived in America to find a living until the time of his passing. “Bruce Lee: Letters Of The Dragon” is a prime example of the knowledge that he sought after and the means he went about trying to make his discoveries.

This book was originally published by Tuttle back in 1998, and after nearly two decades it was about time for an update. Weighing in at just under 200 pages, the book is filled with letters that Bruce wrote to many people that helped shape the man he would become later in life. This collection of epistles begins in 1958 when Bruce is still in High School in Hong Kong, followed a year later by his return to North America to live in San Francisco, eventually making his way to Seattle.


Many famous names in the martial arts world as well as private friends are featured in this book. This includes his brother George and wife Linda, Taky Kimura, James Yimm Lee, Leo Fong, Jhoon Rhee, and others who offered his writings to the editor, Bruce Lee historian John Little. Original photos, drawings and images of the actual letters he hand-wrote or typed to his pen pals are also a part of the book to supplement these writings.

These letters showcase the evolution of his relationship with Linda, the expansion of his approach to martial arts and philosophy, and insight into some of the deepest facets of Bruce Lee’s mind. If you want inspiration or ruminations on martial arts and philosophies, this is a unique place to find some quotes from Bruce that you have likely never seen before. Most important is how private and human this collection of letters will make you feel about Bruce. Here are not only his teachings and expertise, but his weaknesses, doubts, and his burning desire to grow as a person.

For better or worse, nothing has been changed in this printing of the book. That is, nothing has been removed or edited out and nothing has been updated or added other than a new cover.  After this long, I was wishful some new elements could have been added, but without really knowing what their library includes it seems like a useless wish. Tuttle has such a deep collection of Bruce Lee books in their collection that you can get the full experience through buying all of their books.


With this new printing of this and his ‘Tao of Gung Fu’ book, new readers will get a chance to learn about a side of Bruce that us old timers are familiar with, and will certainly make them more interested in the legend that is Bruce Lee.

You can pick up “Bruce Lee: Letters of the Dragon” from Tuttle’s official website.


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