One of the most important theater autobiographies of the 1980s, Elia Kazan: A Life, has finally been released in paperback. The extra decade adds to the book's poignancy and its value: a history of backstage personalities and politics in the 20th century is included in this release. Elia Kazan was a founding member of the Group Theatre, was among those shouting "Strike! Strike!" on the legendary opening night of Waiting for Lefty, directed the two greatest Broadway dramas ever--Death of the Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire--and earned countless other credits, but he also played a flawed role in the greatest real-life moral drama of his era: the McCarthy Communist witch hunts of the 1950s. Kazan offered names to the House Un-American Activities Committee. He cut his conscience to fit the fashion of the time, and his conscience continues to bleed. Though this book is framed, like so much of Kazan's best stage and film work, as a lifelong search for man's proper relationship to society, the book serves as a massive explanation and apologia for Kazan's one monumental lapse. He lived his life intensely, a life in which a single word could transform you, where a misdeed might be "never forgotten or forgiven." Such were the times, and Kazan captures them with appropriate drama.
According to PW , "flashes of sudden insight or eloquence keep the reader turning the pages of Kazan's garrulous autobiography." His expansive memoir makes no apologies for his decision to name names during the McCarthy era, and includes cutting portraits of Lillian Hellman and Arthur Miller, as well as glimpses of Odets, Cagney, Bankhead, Monroe, Brando, Goldwyn and dozens more. Photos.
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Excellent and self-revelatory book by someone who I always thought was a Hollywood rat for HUAC. His explanations are complex and persuasive. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
Pay for this book? Hell no, I got it from the library. And although I dig some of his films, Kazan, as a person, was despicable. Read morePublished 1 month ago by spankytown
Like the title of the book, Elia Kazan's autobiography is simple and direct. It is also powerful and often fascinating. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Allen Smalling
The most revelatory, brutally honest show biz biography you are likely to read. Full of fascinating incident. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nickie
Many of his movies have really stayed with me. On the Waterfront, Splendor in the Grass, Streetcar name Desire and A Face in the Crowd are some of my favorites. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Buffalo Bill
All right; autobiographies are, by their very nature, self-indulgent. This one is narcissistic in the extreme. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Peter T. Tomaras, Author of Resistors
This was a masterful autobiography. Kazan tells you just about everything in his life and we grow to like him,then very much dislike him and then, we close with mixed feelings. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Russell V.
This book is about his struggles professionally and personally. It does not offer insight into his talent. A good read nevertheless.Published 5 months ago by Evelyn Marshall