It’s normal that different people have different perspectives. For ‘Dragon & Tiger’ book, I agreed with you that it would be better if it is “a compilation of historical facts sourced from correspondence, diary entries, eye-witness recollections etc. from James Lee's family, friends and students”as you stated instead of writing it like a script.
In this book, there are some questionable sources like you mention about Bruce ’59 trip to NY and his learning of Gung Fu from Gin Foon Mark. There are however, some good sources as well, like Bruce was indeed picked up by Guan Jin Ho at SF pier and stayed in his house for several months. This has been verified by Bruce’s family. However, other sources outside this book, if I’m not wrong, someone mentioned Jesse Glover claimed Bruce was picked up by Fook Young and stayed in his house. This is incorrect as Bruce only met Fook Yeung when he went to Seattle not in SF. They might or might have not stayed together for a time when Bruce was working as a busboy and Fook Yeung a cook in Ruby Chow’s restaurant in the early 60s. Moreover, the detailed mentioning of the Kwong Sai Chok Lam Temple Praying Mantis skills and the ways of practicing is a credible source of info. So credits still need to be given to this book.
Readers may need to research to verify some of the info as stated in the book. I’ve tried to sort out the doubts as to whether Lee Hoi Chuen went to NY in June 1959. I asked Robert Lee before but he was too young to remember this. Phoebe Lee did not have any impression either. But according to the HK Commercial Press newspaper on 17th June 1959 papers, Chun Siu-Lei, HK famous Cantonese Opera actress and also Lee Hoi Chuen’s friend from both Cantonese Opera and movie, led the HK Arts Representative Troupe and flew to S.F. on 17th June 1959. The troupe landed in Chicargo on 19th to prepare for the 2nd Jul World Trade Fair opening ceremony and the performing of the Cantonese opera there for 2 weeks. Chun’s 4 big luggage that contained her opera clothing had already been shipped to the U.S. by American President Wilson Passenger Liner on 13th June and was expected to reach Chicago by 30th. After this, she would continue her Opera performance in Oakland, NY, SF and Hawaii etc. for about 3 months.
In 1959, Lee Hoi Chuen’s health was better than before because he had quitted smoking opium, and did Tai Chi exercise consistently as well as busy filming and performing on stage. According to the paper reports and film records, he only retired by 1961 or 62. Hence, there is a possibility Lee Hoi Chuen might have travelled with the troupe to NY.
However, even he didn’t, Bruce learning of the Kwong Sai Chok Lam Temple Praying Mantis skills in NY is a fact. According to Tony To Wai-Tung, he spoke to Bruce in mid 1972 and Bruce personally confirm about this. As to whether he learnt it from Master Gin Foon Mark or other NY mantis masters and the exact date of the learning, Tony To did not specify. So, further research did to be carried out on this.