Blood Memory

By Martha Graham

327 ratings - 4.22* vote

Graham, the extraordinary creative force who ranks with Picasso and Stravinsky, broke traditional molds and ultimately changed the way we look at the world. Blood Memory invites readers to explore her phenomenal life and highlights the unforgettable images that encompass her work. 100 photographs.

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Book details

Hardcover, 288 pages
March 20th 1992 by Macmillan

(first published August 1st 1991)

Original Title
Martha Graham: Blood Memory: An Autobiography
0333574419 (ISBN13: 9780333574416)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


this should be required reading for anyone who is seriously studying dance (especially dance history). martha graham is one of the most important people in dance history, and being able to peek into her mind is exhilarating. i felt like i was a kid listening outside a door to a very adult conversation--like i didn't belong there but unable to move out of fascination.
even though sometimes you have no idea what the hell she's talking about (especially when she's describing the motivation behind her dances---yeeikes), it actually helps you understand her better when you don't understand her (if you understand me). i enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book much more than the last third, at that point it got pretty convoluted. she also didn't spend very much time on subjects that i would have loved to hear more about (what really went down between her and erick hawkins, her relationship with halston). and although i loved the fact that she included dozens of pictures, they didn't correspond with the biography (pictures from the 1940s were in the end of the book when she was in her 70s).
but damn. it's martha graham. you gotta read it, just because it's martha graham.


The autobiography of one of the most intoxicatingly intense women who ever lived, it is a testament to talent and to passion, and to the unflinching certainty that being oneself is best.


I borrowed this book from my dance teacher. Two chapters in I looked it up on Amazon and ordered my own copy. I knew it was one I would go back to over and over again. It is so much more than the autobiography of a dance legend. It is a book about life: life as dance and dance as life, creativity linked to the life of the soul. It changed my world.


An intimate autobiography from an amazing woman. Recommended for anyone who wants an inside look at what drives the creative desire...not for dancers alone!


An almost stream of conscious memoir looking over 94 years of the life of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.


The first couple of pages led me to believe it was going to be a rather pretentious memoir, full of ruminations about art and the nature of dance. However, it quickly got sidetracked and, for a book about someone so involved in dance, filled with everything else, but dance itself. The tone of Graham's narration was incredibly dry and cold, as if she wasn't invested in anything that she was talking about. I didn't get a clear picture of why exactly she is this monumental figure in modern dance. She described various visits to the First Ladies of the US, trips to temples and her interactions with birds, and it all was very disjointed and pointless. When she did talk about dance, it was pretentious, but not in a good way, and also weirdly spiritual and connected with Christianity, which I didn't appreciate. In the end, she is still as much a mystery to me as she was before my reading the book.

Leila Kern

I found this book very interesting although I did not think Martha Graham a very good writer. She drifted from subject to subject and I couldn’t always follow her thought process. That being said, Martha Graham was a free spirit and led a very interesting life. I love what she said about blood memories; it is indeed true that one carries such memories from relations through their lives (at least I’ve found that to be true). Even if you are not interested in dance, this is a good read.

Mary-ann Owens

I danced a lot as a young person. There is a technique in the book near the end. Also, Martha Graham's life is so rich. She knew so many talented people so it is fun to read for this reason. Also, anyone involved in dance or art would enjoy the richness of her creative process.

Callie Di Nello

An intriguing read, but one that bunnyhops around with little flow


A must-read book for every dancer out there.