Why is it that the surest path to lasting celebrity is self-destruction? How do photographs violate humanity? Are the famous different from us? These are some of the questions addressed in this intriguing, if rambling, study of celebrity and its victims in the mass-media age. Written by a journalist who was impressed by the strange inhuman quality of her encounters with celebrities, the book is composed of commentary and many long quotes from interviews that generally circumvent celebrity-speak, perhaps because the subject--the predicament of fame--was of such direct interest to those interviewed. Among those who spoke at some length are John Cleese, Margaux Hemingway, Dudley Moore, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Pete Townshend. Brayfield quotes the classic studies of fame--Goldman's Elvis, Mailer's Marilyn--and marshals anecdotes and observations from all over. The most striking discussion is on the hunter-killer style of the paparazzi, who must stake out quarry for not just a photo, but a compromising photo, an ugly photo. Celebrity photography is a violation of the person, a kind of rape, and those who shun the media are accused of ""asking for it,"" of encouraging media coverage by their ""mystery."" The public demands nothing less than one's whole self. The author lives in London, and there is a noticeable but unbothersome British slant--not all the ""celebrities"" will be known to American readers. Also, many quotes, though quite interesting, are sprinkled thoughtlessly throughout the text, serving only as interruptions. A tasty, if overstuffed, examination of fame today.