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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I read "Ragman" many years ago and still find it to be one of the most entertaining star autobio's that I have ever read. Douglas is very straightforward in his retelling of his humble beginnings, his personal triumphs and tragedies, as well as his long and distinguished career. I recently found his follow-up "Climbing the Mountain." If it is half the book the former is, my financial investment on both would be worth it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Kirk Douglas story of growing up one of the seven - children in an Amsterdam New York Jewish family, and of working and fighting his way to the top of his profession is in one sense a typical American rags to riches story. It is the triumph of ability and will and courage, and another startling example of how the American dream can be realized. It is also on a parallel track a story of assimilation in America, of denial of one's own identity.This is also often part of the American reality. In Douglas case however this was modified by his return to his Jewish religion and identity after having gone through a serious accident. This story has something of the energy and vibrancy of Douglas' screen personality. It is rich with anecdotes including many celebrity anecdotes as Douglas and his wife were long a part of Hollywood's social world. The question of his morality in relation to women , his many 'conquests' is a real one. But all in all he beside being one of the best American actors in the past half - decade has made a very positive contribution to his society.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 1997
I like autobiographies because I think that is the best way to get to know someone. Not that they are always honest and completely open although Kirk Douglas seems to be in this one. I suspect some things are prettied up particularly in the latter portions of this book. I read the hardcover and I don't know if the paperback covers the more recent years. The best part of the book is the early years, particularly his college days and early career
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2001
This is a great book about Kirk Douglas as he was a child through his manhood! Great writing! Definately worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2002
Read this years ago -very well written-honest. If you like this type you will love the book Harpo Speaks -6 stars.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2003
The autobiography of Kirk Douglas should be required reading for all American high school students. He proves that you can overcome any obstacle in America, no matter what circumstances you were born into, if you are willing to work hard, stay focused, and never stop following your dream. He overcame abject poverty, flagrant anti-Semitism, family dysfunction, and a society that all but guaranteed that he would never amount to anything. He was blessed with a passionate zest for living and learning, a voracious curiosity, and a fearlessness that allowed him to take risks that lead to great achievements in his life. He truly is bigger than life. He tells his story with brutal honesty. He has a great personal integrity that shines through the entire book. He is, like all the rest of us, imperfect. But he had the tenacity to tell his story, imperfections and all. He has worked hard for everything he has. He was NOT an overnight success. He is highly educated, and is a veteran of the U.S.Navy. And he remains his own man. His life is a great example of the kind of people who made this country the power that it is today.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I read very few "star" auto-biographies so have little to judge this one by. But I must say, I was impressed. The writing was good, the story seemed to be truthfully told and it held my interest. I have always enjoyed Kirk Douglas the actor and was pleased that I was able to enjoy Kirk Douglas the autobiographor. Mr. Douglas has certainly led an interesting life and has seemingly been able to keep his prespective on life. As I said, I am impressed and highly recommend this one.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2014
I was 33 years old when I read the book and it forever changed my ways of looking at the "stars" of movies.
This would be a good book to give your sons as an example of how not to live your life. I was shocked at how Douglas saw the world. He is a racist on top of everything else.
The one story that stood out the most is when he had sex with a gentile woman and talked about how good it made him feel to be depositing his Jewish sperm into the gentile woman. It was like a getting even or even a revenge thing. He felt like he had been treated bad by the goyim and now he was getting even. It was such a shock to read this because I had really liked him in his movies. The Douglas I was reading did not compute with his screen image.
I never saw another movie he was in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
of an actor i always enjoyed, but did not know too much about him . . . now i do . . . note: this review is based on the two-cassette abridged version of the book . . . ordinarily, i only like to listen to full version (or read the book), but i made an exception in this case . . . and am glad that i do . . . however, i think that anybody who read the full book would probably like it, too.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2001
This is the most interesting autobiography I have ever read. In addition to being a great actor, Kirk Douglas is also a terrific writer. The book is written in a crisp, lively pace with plenty of fascinating stories. Mr. Douglas discusses the good things he did during his life, and the not-so-good. He's definitely had a full life.
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