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Bukowski: A Life Paperback – July 25, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Steerforth Press; Reprint edition (July 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883642299
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883642297
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,413,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan Lien Longville on December 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
I think what interests me about this biography more than any other writing of Bukowski is that Cherkovski was actually there. Neeli Cherkovski didn't just run in the same circles as bukowski or know him peripherally, he was an integral part of bukowskis' support system and a friend. One must keep in mind that anything Cherkovski has to say about bukowski is going to be much more accurate than a writer who did "research".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bill Gainer on December 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you want to get beyond the myth, legend, exaggerations and scandals of Charles Bukowski, Neeli Cherkovski's "Bukowski: A Life" is the place to start. This is the first, the original Bukowski biography, the seed from which all others blossom. Cherkovski, a friend, champion and at times co-conspirator is the only Bukowski biographer to cut through the illusions and deceptions of a public image and show Bukowski raw and human. If the book at times reads like a memoir, well it should. It is worth noting that Neeli Cherkovski was the only Bukowski biographer invited by Bukowski's wife, Linda, to attend and speak at the dedication of the Bukowski Archives at the Huntington Library, 2006. If you are looking for the true Bukowski, Cherkovski's "Bukowski: A Life" is a must read...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MaxwellJKenton on August 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't know if that first reviewer (Jul 2000) is a shill for Sounes or what. Whatever the case, he or she is nuts. Cherkovski's book is by far the most accurate and intimate portrayal of Bukowski. That's because it was written by Bukowski's longtime friend and collaborator. The Sounes book covers almost NO new ground. Sounes admits he never met Bukowski and had to rely heavily on interviews with Bukowski's friends (including Cherkovski). Fine. That's what some biographers do. But some of the Amazon criticism of Cherkovski's book goes far beyond inaccuracy and ignorance...it's flat out vindictive.

Cherkovski is an accomplished poet who was able to write about Bukowski from a perspective that no other biographer can. It's not some dull and oppressively factual book like most Buk biographies. Because he's a poet and not a researcher, Cherkovski was able to capture the SPIRIT of Bukowski as well as the facts of his life. He did his research by sitting on Hank's threadbare couch, drinking beer with him night after night in some rundown East Hollywood apartment while arguing about poetry, women, etc. Neeli's first person account of Bukowski's drunken tirade in Westwood Village is alone worth the price of the book. But make no mistake, Cherkovski is an excellent writer, and his bio gives an authoritative, comprehensive account of Bukowski's life and work, as well as a treasure trove of brilliant anecdotes that can't be found anywhere else. If you want to read a book digs up birth records to prove that Bukowski lied about his birthplace, read the other book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew P. Arsenault on December 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
I suppose I deserve this. I bought this book at the behest of a Barnes and Noble employee. She said it was the best Bukowski biography she's read. Well, I found the book less than agreeable and I am now suffering through a severe case of buyer's remorse. Corporate literati ...strike again.
Since I already have Ham On Rye, Post Office, South Of No North, and numerous volumes of Bukowski poetry, this biography really is obsolete. It seems like Cherkovski pasted together snippets of the Bukowski collection, and added some of his own limited insights, placed the whole conglomeration between a cover and shipped it off to market.
Anyone who has read even a limited amount of Bukowski's work will find nothing new in this biography. Save your money and purchase Buk's poetry. I recommend Bone Palace Ballet, or The Night Torn Made With Footsteps.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book happens to devote two full pages describing Bukowski's friendship with writer Steve Richmond. There are, unfortunately, fifteen (15) errors.. gross material mistakes within the text of just these two pages. These include misquotations, mistitled publications, reported acts by myself and others which simply didn't happen, etc.If you don't give damn whether or not you are reading the truth about Charles Buk, then buy this book, because this novel disguised as a biography is infinity squared distant from the truth of Charles Bukowski.Luckily, an excellent Bukowski biography is coming down the pike: LOCKED IN THE ARMS OF A CRAZY LIFE by Howard Sounes.Neeli Cherkovski's WHITMAN'S WILD CHILDREN does include a fine chapter re Bukowski, but for whatever sad reason, Cherkovski's attempted full length Bukowski biography remains the phoniest book I've ever read, notwithstanding its lovely printjob.Steve RichmondFebruary, 1999
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dan M. on June 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a treat to be able to learn about the real man Bukowski from a friends point of view. You can read Buk's poems and his letters to learn about the man but it is a new view to read what one of his good friends has to say. If you are a fan of Charles Bukowski you should read this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Being a reader of Bukowski for many years, I found this book's strength to be that it cut through the mythologized tales of drinking and offered a very intimate and sensitive look at a modern legend.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Bukowski did the author of this book a great service by writing about his own life in his stories and poems, because that's the only information the author thought to use in his biography. He read Buk's books, told the real names of the people, put it all in chronological order, and that's it. This book didn't offer a single minor piece of insight into a man whose live I'd like to know more about. If you are looking for a real biography from someone who has actually done their research, I recommend "Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life" by Howard Sounes. That author did his legwork and did created a work that is actually worth something to the reader. So yes, stay as far away as possible from this book, and you will be a more complete person.
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