"Striking Distance places the living, breathing man back into history, outside of the myth, and tells the real story from the street level up of Lee’s contribution to the global rise of gung fu. Charles Russo writes with all the fire, wisdom, and heart that Bruce Lee deserves. A poignant and powerful achievement, and a must-read for anyone interested in Bruce and the martial arts.”
——Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation——
"A dissident with bad manners..."
In the spring of 1959, eighteen-year-old Bruce Lee returned to San Francisco, the city of his birth. Although the martial arts were widely unknown in America, Bruce encountered a robust fight culture in the Bay Area, populated with talented and trailblazing practitioners such as Lau Bun, Chinatown’s aging kung fu patriarch; Wally Jay, the innovative Hawaiian jujitsu master; and James Lee, the Oakland street fighter. Regarded by some as a brash loudmouth and by others as a dynamic visionary, Bruce spent his first few years back in America advocating for a modern approach to the martial arts, and showing little regard for the damaged egos left in his wake.
"The challenge was real..."
1964 would be a hard and eventful year for Bruce. He would broadcast his dissenting worldview before the first great international martial arts gathering, and then defend it by facing down Wong Jack Man—Chinatown’s young kung fu ace—in a legendary behind-closed-doors showdown.
Based on over 100 original interviews, Striking Distance chronicles Bruce Lee’s formative days amid the heated martial arts proving ground that thrived on San Francisco Bay in the early 1960s.
“I learned a lot…truly fascinating.”
–—Shannon Lee (Bruce Lee’s daughter)——
"Striking Distance ... is one of the few well-written, well-researched books about Bruce out there. Charles and his book were extremely helpful in my research and I relied upon his work a great deal in covering the Bay Area period of Lee’s life. Every Bruce Lee fan should buy his book."
—Matthew Polly, author of Bruce Lee: A Life
“Thank you to journalist Charles Russo, who has a written a fun-to-read Bruce Lee book for grown-ups. It solidifies Bruce Lee’s place in martial arts, pop culture, and history while at the same time demonstrating that there was a good reason Bruce was a walking legend in his brief time on this
——W. Kamau Bell, host of CNN’s United Shades of America——
"[Striking Distance is] a hard-bitten biography of Bruce Lee’s early days before movies made him a mega-star. . . . [It] expertly separates fact from myth and also features some righteous fight scenes."
——NPR’s Dinner Party Download——
New paperback edition with foreword by Shannon Lee