Gone almost 30 years, Audrey Hepburn remains among the most beloved movie stars of all time, known for that face, and for hits like Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and My Fair Lady. At the height of her fame, at age 38, she walked away from Hollywood to raise her sons. A decade later, seeking a new direction, she came upon the organization that had saved her as a Dutch girl at the end of World War II: UNICEF.
What happened next surpassed the plot twist of any movie. The introverted and reclusive Audrey Hepburn became a warrior, using her fame to capture the media’s attention as she charged into the most dangerous places on earth to save children and mothers in desperate situations. For five years she drove herself mercilessly on a quest that would ultimately kill her. She waded into war zones, met with world leaders, and called out injustice wherever she saw it.
At every opportunity she espoused causes that command headlines today—systemic racism, refugee populations in crisis, superpowers’ manipulation of the developing world, and the reckless killing of our planet.
A groundbreaking and gripping work of biography that will turn the world’s perception of Audrey Hepburn on its head and inspire a new generation of fans, Warrior is a must-read at a time when income inequality, racial justice, climate change, women’s rights, and the global refugee crisis have never been more newsworthy.
A Note From the Publisher
Praise for Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II
"In Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II, Robert Matzen maintains that his subject’s formative experiences provide the key to unlocking her intensely private personality. Drawing upon meticulous research, Mr. Matzen delivers a vivid, moving and persuasive account of a harrowing time that the actress seldom discussed in detail and which has been glossed over or sensationalized by frustrated biographers." —Wall Street Journal
"Matzen shows how war shaped Hepburn’s resilient and fiercely private personality. Visceral details—of intense privation, constant bombings, and also acts of resistance—evoke the period. Matzen has created a vivid portrait of a civilian population under siege–one of who just happened to become a Hollywood star." —Publishers Weekly
"[Dutch Girl] offers a wonderfully complete and revealing character sketch of an individual who continues to fascinate millions around the world. Hepburn was, of course, gracious, talented, and elegant. But Matzen makes clear that she also was extraordinarily courageous... This entertaining and enlightening book adds another dimension to the legend of Audrey Hepburn." —Christian Science Monitor
"A well written, exhaustively researched and totally absorbing book that reveals never-known facts about the past, the origins and the early experiences of one of the world's most cherished icons. This is a story of danger, suspense and determination to succeed against terrible odds, told in Technicolor." —Rex Reed, film critic, author, and writer for the New York Observer
“What many don’t know, and Robert Matzen’s sensitive and deeply moving book reveals, are Hepburn’s experiences growing up in the Netherlands during the years of Nazi occupation—experiences that formed her character and left her haunted by memories she could not erase. A master storyteller, Matzen has given us a great story—intimate, intense, and unforgettable—that carries us not only into the heart of battle but into the heart of a great human being.” —Foreword Reviews
Average rating from 13 members
Date reviewed/posted: May 26, 2021 Publication date: Setember 28, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #thirdwave ( #fourthwave #fifthwave?) is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. Plus it is hot as all heck and nothing is more appealing than sitting in front of a fan with a kindle.! I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Gone almost 30 years, Audrey Hepburn remains among the most beloved movie stars of all time, known for that face, and for hits like Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and My Fair Lady. At the height of her fame, at age 38, she walked away from Hollywood to raise her sons. A decade later, seeking a new direction, she came upon the organization that had saved her as a Dutch girl at the end of World War II: UNICEF. What happened next surpassed the plot twist of any movie. The introverted and reclusive Audrey Hepburn became a warrior, using her fame to capture the media’s attention as she charged into the most dangerous places on earth to save children and mothers in desperate situations. For five years she drove herself mercilessly on a quest that would ultimately kill her. She waded into war zones, met with world leaders, and called out injustice wherever she saw it. At every opportunity, she espoused causes that command headlines today—systemic racism, refugee populations in crisis, superpowers’ manipulation of the developing world, and the reckless killing of our planet. A groundbreaking and gripping work of biography that will turn the world’s perception of Audrey Hepburn on its head and inspire a new generation of fans, Warrior is a must-read at a time when income inequality, racial justice, climate change, women’s rights, and the global refugee crisis have never been more newsworthy. I so miss Audrey Hepburn - she died decades too early but she left the world a better place. I am not sure if I agree with the author saying that her work killed her when it was colon cancer, but knowing her, she never took the time to take care of herself before others, so I agree on that aspect. Name a celebrity these days who would walk away for their family and then do her work for UNICEF on a level that Audrey did ... no one can ever be said that they had the drive and commitment to the cause that Audrey did. Audrey would be 92 now and I could see her still working away had she had the chance and she would be aghast at the current world situation in the areas she fought for, especially refugees. I could see her clearly in my mind tearing down Trump's wall and slagging him on social media...and I wish she had lived to do this. This is more than an autobiography - it is a call to the world to take on her mantle and do something about it! READ THIS BOOK AND TAKE ON HER CAUSE ... NOW! I will recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, book clubs, people reading books in the park, and strangers on the tube who are also reading: I find that once they figure out that I am a Canadian and not a Trump-loving MAGA-idiot they like to discuss books. (lol!) As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it (for Breakfast at Tiffany's ... ) 🍎🚕🗽🚖🍎
“For once in your life, Mummy, use your bloody name!” Audrey’s son Luca could not have known how those words would stay with his mother for the rest of her life. Warrior, Audrey Hepburn is another example of how Robert Matzen becomes intimately acquainted with his subjects. Audrey may be gone, but her legacy lives on in her sons Sean and Luca, and now her passion is being shared with the world through Warrior. In Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II, Matzen introduces a young Audrey who dreamed of becoming a ballerina. Then the Nazi’s came. Audrey lived through World War II under Nazi occupation. She witnessed first-hand the atrocities of war – images that would haunt her the rest of her life. She also remembered the hunger – not knowing when, or even if, she would eat again. Robert Matzen helps his readers experience the Hunger Winter of 1944. It was this memory that would drive Audrey to sacrifice her own health and ignore any perceived danger so she could use her “bloody name” to show the world the true victims of senseless wars – the children. In Warrior, Robert Matzen exposes the real Audrey Hepburn. Beyond the glitz and glamour was a mother who never understood why people were so fascinated by her. She never saw her outer beauty. This book gives the world a clear picture of Audrey’s inner beauty, a beauty that was so much more than people could see on a screen. Audrey never thought she was special. She never used her name to solicit special treatment for herself or for Sean and Luca. When Luca saw his grandfather lying in a hospital bed left to die, he pleaded with his mum, “For once in your life, Mummy, use your bloody name!” When she did, a bed miraculously became available at a hospital closer to family. Audrey saw the power of her name, and Luca’s words would stay with Audrey and become a driving force in her work with UNICEF. When Audrey and “her Robbie” (Robert Wolders, her partner) made their first trip for UNICEF in which they looked into the eyes of starving children, Audrey was immediately transported back to the Hunger Winter. She recognized the look in their eyes. She remembered how it felt to suffer the same symptoms these children were suffering. She had to do something. Luca’s words came back to her, “use your bloody name!” Warrior, Audrey Hepburn shares Audrey’s passion for children and how she used her name as much and as often as she could. This “Mother Teresa in designer jeans” was on a mission to save the worlds children. Luca once stated, “UNICEF expected Audrey Hepburn would be a pretty princess for them at galas. But what they really got was a badass soldier.” No one could have ever imagined just how hard this soldier would fight for the children of the Developing World. She went into war zones. She showed the seemingly forgotten victims of men’s greed love and compassion like they had never seen. These victims did not know Audrey Hepburn the actress. They only knew the lady who brought smiles, who brought love, who hugged them and cared for them, and the lady who brough the trucks with food and medicine. Audrey spent her final years as a fierce warrior. As shy as she was, she found the courage to speak to hundreds and thousands about UNICEF and the children they were trying to save. Journalists sometimes accused her of using UNICEF to bring attention to herself. The truth was that she was using herself, putting herself in harm’s way, sacrificing herself, to bring attention to UNICEF and the children. Warrior, Audrey Hepburn is the portrait of a woman who did not see herself the way the world saw her. She truly was a warrior who spent her whole life putting others before herself. Matzen may not have ever met Audrey Hepburn, but through his research and the relationships he developed with people who did know her, there is no doubt he now has a very special relationship with Audrey Hepburn, and he makes the reader believe that he was right beside her every step of the way, fighting for the world’s children. His imagery is so vivid that one forgets the author was not actually there. Matzen shows the world Audrey’s passion. He shows the readers the world through Audrey’s eyes. Aside from raising Sean and Luca, Audrey Hepburn was more passionate about saving the innocent children of the world than anything else. Everything she did was for the children. When asked by a reporter if her role at UNICEF was the most rewarding, she replied, “I’m not playing a role. Roles are imaginary and fantasy. There’s no fantasy to this. It’s tough heartbreaking reality.” Yes, Audrey Hepburn represented beauty and elegance and grace. More importantly, Audrey Hepburn represented hope – hope to a world in which no one should be forced to live. Robert Matzen takes his readers to that world.
Warrior shines a spotlight on a little explored time in the life of one of cinema's most beloved stars. Like most from my generation, I first knew Audrey Hepburn as a classic film star and fashion icon. After watching her movies I was mesmerized, though nothing comes close in my admiration for her than the fact she spent the last years of her life advocating for children as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Many biographies and magazine specials brush over this time so I was overjoyed to see that Robert Matzen was focusing on this era in his new biography Warrior.. This was an an incredible read. Both riveting and heartbreaking, it's an illuminating look at Audrey Hepburn's relationship with UNICEF and her dedication to children. I loved that though it told the story of Audrey it explored stories (hers and others) to really set the stage for each chapter. The context helped provide insight and amplified the stakes of many situations. Highlighting her empathy and hope for a better a world for all children it serves quite the informative punch. I'm in awe of how she was able to go on missions and see such suffering and still insist on continuing on. If you've ever enjoyed an Audrey Hepburn film or adored her fashion I really do hope you pick up this biography. She really had a huge heart and used her fame to champion children, going into war-torn areas to do so, when many would have been content to stay happily retired or do a gala or two. Her legacy deserves so much more than her looks. This really illustrates how dedicated to the hope of peace and a just world she was, and is no doubt what she'd like to be remembered for. The next time someone looks at a trendy Audrey Hepburn poster I hope they see not a fashion icon but inspiration to help those in need and change the world. The legacy she deserves. Thank you to Netgalley for the digital copy to review.