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Bogart: In Search of My Father Hardcover – September 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

It was probably inevitable that Bogart, who recently broke into the fiction ranks with Play It Again (Prepub Alert, LJ 12/94), would profile his legendary father. In Bogart, he draws upon interviews with Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, and other Hollywood luminaries.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Stephen, the son of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, a television producer, and the author of the mystery Play It Again , decided to try to resolve some of his anger toward his father by writing this somewhat clunky but nonetheless revealing memoir. He tries to convey how heavy a burden it is to be the child of celebrities and we believe him, but obviously that's the only reason anyone would read this book. Another problem is the fact that Bogart died when his son was only eight years old. But Stephen has augmented his few memories with a number of touching and often amusing stories he elicited from Bogart's friends and associates. A "world-class needler," Bogart adored Bacall, sailing, and alcohol. He came to fatherhood rather late in life, after three previous marriages, and, his friends report, was genuinely puzzled by his son and daughter, much as he loved them. Stephen's portrait of his father does grow vivid by the book's conclusion, making this an easy read that will please movie buffs. Donna Seaman

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525939873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525939870
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,416,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Beverley Strong on August 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
As a fan of Bogart movies,I found this to be an interesting read, even though it is really a collection of Bogart stories, told by his old friends. Humphrey Bogart died when his son was only 8 years old and his memories of his father are as sketchy as one would expect. What annoyed me was his whining attitude towards his father for dying and leaving him (as if he could help this !) and towards his mother, for her love and loyalty to her husband. This was a much loved and cherished child who blamed all of his failings in life on the fact that he was left fatherless as a child, but enjoyed a loving home and what would have been a fine education if he had applied himself and stopped drowning in self pity.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kerry O. Burns on April 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
I don't imagine any of us really know what it is like to be the son of a legend..the incredible pressure that must come with living up to your father..it sounds like a wonderful easy life but as Stephen Bogart let's us know it's not..a book full of anecdotes and stories, self-examination, a bit too much whining for my tastes but nevertheless some tasty morsels can be found in this book..
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on August 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting biography in a "Hollywood-sort-of-way." It makes an early claim of being disgusted with the Hollywood way of life, and then proceeds to revel in it as much as possible. That in itself would not have been so bad if the author had been more honest about his motives. It seemed clear after reading the book that he was really in search of himself, not at all in search of his father, who even though he died while the author was only seven, left him a rich legacy upon which to fashion a life. What it appears that he sought to do here was to use his father's fame and death as a prop, an alibi, an excuse for his own eventual failing and shortcomings. So the book should be retitled: In Search of Myself, through my father's reputation and death.

This is not the way books that begin in the way this one did, usually end. Typically there is a cathartic moment; space and time for a clear head to assert itself, and then smooth sailing afterwards.

Not so here.

All that is certain here is that both of the author's parents knew who they were, what they wanted and how to proceed about getting it. They were successful actors and parents with a rich and fulfilling social life, arguably a rare commodity in Hollywood even today.

Steve, on the other hand, it seems, never figured any of this out for himself. It was Steve's life that was turned upside down at the age of seven with his father's death never to be fully "righted" again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on September 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Stephen was only 8 years old when his father passed from cancer. However, he recollects the short time he spent with his father, and the stories of those who knew him. We find some interesting stories about Bogie. He was a functional alcholic, but decreased his intake when he married Betty Bacall. He focused on his acting skills and picked plots/scripts that appealed to him. He liked to needle people to the point of harassment. He was not much into socializing with the Hollywood scene but people respected his skills and ability.

We also learn that Humphrey Bogart was probably not a great Dad, but cared about his kids. We also learn that he never accepted his cancer, and died with the hope he was beating the disease. The last chapter when Bogie died reminded me of my own father's death from the same disease. Cancer patients just waste away, and Bogie was down to 80 pounds when he passed. This was a very emotional chapter. I sympathize with Stephen, because it is hard to accept that such things happen to a child who is very young.

I liked this book, because it brought me closer to the famous actor. I have seen many of his famous movies, and reading this book closed the gap in my knowledge of him. He sounded like a person who was set in his ways and didn't try to fool anybody about his status. He was a genuine person.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best most complete accounts of Humphrey Bogart that I have ever read. Stephen has a wonderful literary style that is fast and easy to read, yet still pulls at your heart strings. I laughed and cried and felt like I knew the whole family just a little bit better by the end
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Chris E. Dalton on January 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Well written but hardly engaging, Stephen Bogart descends to the predictable far too often. Open any section and the recipe will be identical: Fascinating anecdotes about Humphrey Bogart & mid-century Hollywood are sandwiched between massive slabs of "oh my daddy died and thats why life has been so hard for me me me!" The mantra of selfpity continues throughout. For those who blame their parents for the crippling hardship of adulthood (!) this is the book for you. Bogart fans will perhaps be less pleased - 2 stars for fluid prose & the bits which actually deal with Bogie, icon & man
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