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My Stroke of Luck Paperback – Bargain Price, January 7, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: It Books (January 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060014040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060014049
  • ASIN: B000EMSNUI
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of Hollywood's brightest stars since the late 1940s (Champion, Lust for Life, Spartacus), Douglas embarked on a literary career in the 1980s, with his bestselling memoir The Ragman's Son. He suffered a debilitating stroke several years ago, and now, at 84, he offers the inspirational but not at all Pollyannaish story of his recovery. A peculiarly painful sensation in his right cheek was the first warning, followed by a bewildering inability to talk. Lying in a hospital bed set up in his home, Douglas felt his situation was hopeless. How could he be an actor and not be able to talk? He contemplated ending his life, but when he put a gun in his mouth and painfully bumped his teeth, he withdrew the weapon and began to laugh at his own dramatic gesture. Douglas recounts how he battled his depression not only with medical care but also by recalling happy memories (he shares reminiscences about Sinatra, Reagan and others), and he explains tips and exercises he learned from his speech therapist. Inspired by the courage of others who endured physical or emotional illness, Douglas began to overcome his fears. With the help of his supportive family (who refused to coddle him), he even returned to the screen in Diamonds, playing a boxer who had a stroke. Entertaining and uplifting, Douglas's story is a lesson in survival, one that will entice readers whether or not they have had similar illnesses. B&w photos. (Jan. 14)Forecast: This book is a natural for the 65-plus crowd, especially those who enjoyed Tuesdays with Morrie.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A producer and the star of over 83 movies, Douglas is also a talented writer and the author of two previous memoirs, three novels, and two children's books. His latest is an uplifting memoir of his survival after a stroke in 1995. In this sometimes painful account, enriched by the actor's own brand of humor, wit, and a triumphant return to living, Douglas shows how he turned a debilitating illness into a life-altering experience. He resumed his acting and writing careers and spent time rediscovering the Jewish religion, which has become an integral part of his life. His memoir is focused on helping patients and their families cope with the aftermath of an illness. In the last chapter is Douglas's "Operators Manual," which he hopes will help other stroke victims. His memoir Climbing the Mountain contains some of the same anecdotes, but fans of Douglas will want to read this one. Recommended for all libraries.
- Rosalind Dayen, Broward Cty. South Regional Lib., Pembroke Pines, FL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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This majestic little book can be read in one sitting.
Dennis Lapp
What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.
Blaine Greenfield
As Mr. Douglas says in this book, "Strive to be a Little Hero."
Donald Mitchell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Caution: This book contains occasional coarse language, employed for emphasis, that seems justified in how it is applied.
Mr. Kirk Douglas is eloquent, moving, and convincing in this book as he describes how he came to terms with suffering a stroke. The essence of the message is that stroke victims should focus on "helping others" to help themselves. The book abounds in detailed examples of how to do this for stroke victims. The book's message is so fine, delicate, and well-balanced that I suggest that you learn about it from Mr. Douglas rather than from a review.
His account is very candid and powerful. He cites his own vivid and depressing thoughts before he began to recover, and shares many inspiring lessons from others. You will learn about his fears about losing his vocation ("What good is an actor who can't talk?"), experiences with depression (thinking about suicide as described on the dust cover), and the concerns he had about embarrassment (a billion people were expected to watch him talk).
I was most impressed by the examples of what others wrote, said, and did that helped him gain new purpose.
The book is also filled with nostalgic references to his friends and family, almost all of whom are represented in interesting photographs reproduced in the book.
I was especially touched to read what his "Ma" told him as she lay dying, "Don't be afraid, it happens to everyone." He drew much strength from remembering that thought.
As Mr. Douglas says in this book, "Strive to be a Little Hero."
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Blaine Greenfield on October 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Read MY STROKE OF LUCK by Kirk Douglas, his inspirational
memoir depicting the past few years of his life . . . they have not been healthy ones for the famed actor, in that he first
was in a helicopter crash and then suffered a stroke.
But he has managed to survive both, even managing to
resume his acting career . . . you'll be moved by both his
upbeat attitude and sense of humor as he faced many life
events that have unfortunately gotten the best of many
others . . . I don't know if I would be able to maintain Douglas' grace, but I would make every attempt to do so.
This book is a "must" for anybody who has suffered a
stroke or knows anybody who has . . . in addition, movie
fans will like it for the many reminisces sprinkled throughout.
There were many memorable passages; among them:
What a hard life she [my mother] endured. I kept studying
her face. My mother's eyes opened and she stared at my face,
filled with anxiety. She smiled softly and squeezed my hand
gently. Her eyes, almost black on her white face, seemed to be
looking through me. She whispered, "Don't be afraid, it happens
to everyone." She took a deep breath and exhaled. The air came
out of her mouth like a slowly deflating balloon. She stopped
breathing.
The world is filled with people who have suffered from one misfortune or another. The only thing that sets one apart from the rest is the desire and the attempt to help others. People who reach out beyond their pain, out into the world in a trusting way-they are the ones who make a difference. Nietzsche said, "He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how."
Why?
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Lapp on February 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This majestic little book can be read in one sitting. In it, Douglas exemplifies the courage he so often depicted in characters on screen.
He and I are both survivors of this most horrible of maladies. Douglas, who was eighty years YOUNG when he sustained his stroke, has as his principal residual a severe case of aphasia, He quite properly asks, "how is an actor who cannot speak supposed to work? Wait for the return of silent films?" The severe depression he suffered in the aftermath of his stroke is discussed with remarkable candor. I picked up this book when I was in the midst of a deep depression of some month's standing. After reading it, I find myself able to approach life with redoubled vigor, which is the never ending challenge of the stroke survivor. Douglas posits that life takes on meaning only in the helping of others. His travails have placed him in touch with the Judaism of his youth. He had his second bar mitzvah at age eighty-three, three years after his stroke. In reading the Torah before his family and friends assembled in the synagogue, Douglas,aphasia sufferer, showed all that here is truly a man with the right stuff. Buy this book. You will not be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. McAndrew on September 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have much more admiration for Kirk Douglas now than I had previously. He is a courageous man who has weathered the challenges of having a major stroke. I like his stories and his honesty about his condition. He even adds humor from time to time.

I will recommend this book to any friends or relatives afflicted by a stroke. My grandmother had a stroke. Now, thanks to Kirk, I know more about what she might have had to endure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on January 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Kirk Douglas began his career back in the early 1940's and has been with us ever since. He is truly a man of his time, and his accomplishments in the field of acting are outstanding. Now at 84, he has given us a book telling not of his colourful acting career, but his battle with life following a stroke several years ago. The book takes us through his depression, his thoughts of suicide and his recovery. Through it all, and in spire of his personal pain, the humourous side of Douglas always seems to emerge even at times when he is at his lowest.
The book is highly inspirational for anyone who has had to overcome serious health issues. Fans of Douglas who saw him as a great man on screen will see an even greater man in his personal life. This book is highly recommended reading material. Douglas can teach us a valuable lesson about courage, determination, family support and love - they can and do accomplish miracles.
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