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As a biographer, Mr. Cook is far too gullible. He relies too heavily on Trumbo's own version of events, instead of on the facts. For instance, he states improbably that it was just a coincidence that Trumbo's anti-war, isolationist classic Johnny Got His Gun was published during the Nazi-Soviet Pact and even more improbably that it was his publisher, J B Lippincott, who arranged for the book to be published in The Daily Worker. There is also no mention that when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Trumbo tried to suppress his own book. Nor were the Communist screenwriters without sin themselves. It has been well documented, but not here, that Communists in the screenwriters guilds blacklisted non-Communist screenwriters throughout the 30's and the 40's. And, although Hanson, who thinks more highly of Trumbo than most film critics, documents that the goal of Trumbo, along with other Communist screenwriters, was to insert pro-Communist lines of dialogue in the movies they wrote, you won't find a discussion of that in here either.
That said, if you treat this book as an autobiography, instead of a biography, where the standards of truth are less rigid, there is much on offer here. It is within the bounds of autobiography for the author to defend his life. Nixon's version of Watergate is a far cry from Woodstein's and Bill Clinton didn't mention the charges of the FBI, well reported by The New York Times, that he sold military secrets to China in exchange for campaign funds. As autobiography, this book succeeds admirably. Trumbo makes the case for himself as a fearless true believer and a likable one at that.
Don't read this book if you're looking for an honest account of the Hollywood Ten, but do read it as a defense of a fairly good screenwriter (even if Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and Exodus are hardly Citizen Kane or Vertigo in the pantheon of Hollywood cinema).