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The Greatest Gift: The Original Story That Inspired the Christmas Classic It's a Wonderful Life Hardcover – November 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Studio; 1ST edition (November 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670862045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670862047
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on October 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It was the story I had been looking for all my life! A good man, ambitious. But so busy helping others, life seems to pass him by. Despondent. He wishes he had never been born. He gets his wish. Through the eyes of a guardian angel he sees the world as it would have been had he not been born. Wow! What an idea. The kind of idea that when I get old and sick and scared and ready to die -- they'll say, 'He made The Greatest Gift.' -Frank Capra
I'm sure your family does it too, sit around watching It's a Wonderful Life and speaking all of the lines moments ahead of the characters. Younger folk may not recall that in the early 80's, before Republic Pictures reclaimed the copyright to the movie, it was on literally dozens of times from Thanksgiving to New Years every year. And we all watched it, every single showing. Somehow the upbeat message about the individual's capacity to change the world for the better achieved a special resonance in those heady Reagan Era days of promise. Now it's shown on a network just once a season as an attempt at Event programming, but every red blooded American family owns a videotape and pops it in at least a few times over the holidays.
Turns out, the movie was based on a story by respected Civil War historian, Philip Van Doren Stern (one assumes he's from The Van Doren family of Quiz Show fame). The story sprang full blown from Van Doren's head while he was shaving on the morning of Feb. 12, 1938. He rewrote it several times and then in 1943 sent it to his agent to see if he could get a magazine to buy it. Unbelievably, they all turned it down. So he had a couple hundred copies made and sent them to friends in their Christmas cards.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Meredith on December 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My book club read this story and then watched IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. It was a great evening. I am happy to own my own copy of THE GREATEST GIFT. The book was as I expected and arrived in pronto time. Thanks!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Candy on May 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want the short version of "It's a Wonderful Life," this is the book for you. The story behind how the movie was made based on this short story is very cool.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Leair on December 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My mom loves "It's a Wonderful Life" and watches it several times every holiday season. She loved this book when I gave it to her for a Christmas gift!
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By mindy j on December 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of the movie "It's a Wonderful Life", so I ordered the inspiration behind it. I was not disappointed, although it is very different from the movie, I enjoyed the story. This book arrived in very good condition, in a very prompt time and I am pleased to have it in my christmas book collection.
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