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All My Sons Paperback – October 1, 1948

ISBN-13: 978-0822200161 ISBN-10: 0822200163
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Editorial Reviews


A capable cast supports Julie Harris, whose moving performance may arguably be the best of her career. -- Booklist

Also from LA Theatre Works is Arthur Miller's "All My Sons." Another Audie Award-winner, this production stars Julie Harris, James Farantino and Ayre Gross.

Written and produced in 1947, this is a hard-hitting story, set shortly after World War II, about Joe Keller, who became rich as a manufacturer of substandard war materials in a conflict that took one of his sons and imprisoned a colleague. -- St. Louis Post Dispatch

Audie Award Finalist--Audio Publisher's Association -- Audio Publisher's Association, APA --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

When Arthur Miller burst upon the theatre world with this 1947 play, he established his position as the leading playwright of his generation. Simultaneously, he made a brilliant case for his contention that the American theatre could encompass tragedy equal in stature to that of the ancient Greeks. The heroes, he maintained, were not the kings and gods of antiquity, but the everyday working people of this country. Miller had begun writing plays as a student at the University of Michigan and had won several awards (one of which he shared with his contemporary, Tennessee Williams), but his first Broadway play lasted for only five performances in 1944. He authored several radio scripts before ALL MY SONS opened and became his first Broadway hit. Two years later, DEATH OF A SALESMAN won him the Pulitzer Prize. He remains a vital force in today’s theatre. “The stage,” he writes, “is the place for ideas, for philosophies, for the most intense discussions of man’s fate.” --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (October 1, 1948)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822200163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822200161
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus VINE VOICE on March 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
The late Lord Bertrand Russell once said, "Actions have consequences." Arthur Miller makes it clear: Bad actions have bad consequences in his early play, "All My Sons." Set not long after the end of World War II, the play concerns big issues: life and death, and the necessity of living a moral life. The conflict pits the idealistic son, Chris Keller against his pragmatist father, Joe Keller, owner of a manufacturing plant that shipped out defective airplane parts during the war. As a result, twenty-one pilots died when their planes crashed.

This early play foreshadows the disillusionment by the son of the father that plays so predominantly in "Death of a Salesman," the flagship of Miller's dramatic output. Miller also introduces the idealist's version of moral behavior. When younger son Chris discovers his father's flawed decision to continue production of cracked engine parts, he berates him for lacking the high caliber of character of which he thought his dad was made. His father sincerely asks Chris: "What could I do?" The key line and one which comes to fruition in "The Crucible" is "You could be better." Actions have consequences.

Yes, I am revealing a key secret in the play, but it is the consequences of this revelation that is really the clincher of Miller's powerful morality play. That I will not reveal. But lack of idealism, lack of moral turpitude show the inner essence of a person. Everyone is born with this pure core. Time and circumstances chip away, a day at a time, a person's idealism. Only the few survive. Joe Keller has revealed a seriously hacked core; Chris's is still intact. But at what price?

Two other stories deal with the consequences of idealism.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By JMack VINE VOICE on July 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
All My Sons is Arthur Miller's first work which gives hint of his future genius. While the plot is strong, it starts slowly. However, the ending makes the play worth reading.

The story tells of partners in a defective machine shop during World War II. Keller escapes punishment for the faulty parts. Herbert Deever is sent to prison. Keller's son Chris intends to marry his deceased brother's love who happens to be Herbert Deever's daughter Anne. Keller's wife Kate is in denial of their son Larry's death. This denial makes her a trademark of Miller's works, an annoying female character. She is overbearing and at times a nag. Thus, conflict is created over Chris and Anne's relationship. The story reaches its climax when the true nature of Larry's death is revealed. While the conclusion is not shocking, it is a fitting end.

Miller has written some great plays and novels. While this is certainly not as good as Death of a Salesman, it is still a solid work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By King Dimholt on September 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
Arthur Miller wrote that he liked the fact that this creation of his deals not with a crime that is happening or about to happen, but one that has already happened. He also said that he was trying to emphasize that the consequences of actions are just as real as the actions.

Joe Keller seems to be a decent person trying to make a life for his family. He made his living building parts for airplanes, and he did significant business with the military. His family includes his wife Kate and his son Chris. (His other son Larry died in W.W. II.) Though his wife continues to believe that Larry is still alive. At first, she just seems to have the natural hopes a mother might, but we come to suspect that there are other reasons she can't bring herself to admit Larry is dead. Moving on, Chris is in love with Annie. (Annie is an interesting caught in the middle character. She was in love with the Larry, and her father worked with Joe Keller.) Keller went on trial for selling defective parts to the military that resulted in the deaths of several pilots. Joe Keller got off, but Annie's father went to jail. Though Annie doesn't seem overly concerned about her father. Putting Annie in the middle again, Kate gives Annie grief over the fact that she is planning to marry Chris. (If Annie marries Chris, Kate has to admit that Larry is dead.) Tensions rise when Joe Keller hears that Annie's brother George (a lawyer) has been talking to his father in prison.

In the 2nd act, we meet Annie's brother George, and he clearly objects to Annie marrying Chris. He blames Joe Keller for the imprisonment of his father, and does not want the Keller family to get his sister as well. Joe Keller covers himself well, but we can also tell he is 'working at looking innocent.
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Format: Paperback
Critics tend to compare ALL MY SONS to various plays by Henrik Ibsen--and most particularly so to THE WILD DUCK, which it tends to mirror in theme. There is a certain truth to this: having failed in his previous efforts, Arthur Miller set out to create a commercially viable play, and the resulting script echoes "the well-made play" style that Ibsen created. But this comparison will take us only so far: when it arrived on stage in 1947, ALL MY SONS made clear a new and powerful dramatic voice, and critics and audiences were so taken with it that the show even bested Eugene O'Neal's THE ICEMAN COMETH in terms of accolades and popularity at the time.

In general terms, ALL MY SONS presents us with what seems to be an "all American family" in the aftermath of World War II. Joe and Kate Keller are a middle aged couple with two sons, one missing in action since the war. Joe runs a factory; Kate is obsessed with the notion that the missing son will some day return; and son Chris has fallen in love with is missing brother's former girlfriend, Ann. At first the play seems to be about Kate's resistance to Chris and Ann's romance, which she clearly sees as a betrayal of her lost son--but the play takes a gradual turn that lifts it out purely domestic drama and into the realm of wider social issues.

It transpires that Ann's father was once in business with Joe and the factory they owned sold faulty aircraft parts that resulted in the loss of 21 pilots during the war. In a subsequent trial Ann's father was held responsible and Joe was found entirely innocent of wrong-doing. As the play progresses, suspicion begins to arise about whether these findings were correct--and if they shouldn't have been the other way around.
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