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Comment: BINDING TIGHT. PAGES CLEAN AND UNMARKED. DUST JACKET SHOWS MINOR WEAR AND SMALL TEAR ON ONE BACK CORNER.
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In the Arena: An Autobiography Hardcover – September 12, 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Heston's memoir traces an amazingly prolific and durable career from his starring roles in historical epics of the 1950s and 1960s (The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur) through disaster films of the 1970s (Earthquake) and into recent years spent largely as a stage actor and in TV character roles. As a published author (Bejing Diary, LJ 10/1/90, and the best-selling The Actor's Life, LJ 12/1/78), Heston no doubt actually wrote this volume and can be presumed to be a reliable chronicler. Throughout he is unusually generous to colleagues, totally devoted to his family, and surprisingly restrained in offering his well-publicized conservative political views. This memoir of a popular actor and his long career is recommended for most collections.?Thomas Wiener, Editor, "Satelite DIRECT"
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

You'd hardly expect Chuck Heston--as decent a guy as any American actor's ever been--to produce a racy tell-all, and he doesn't. Rather, he recounts his career, although only after glowingly recalling his rural Michigan childhood and poor adolescence in contrastingly tony Wilmette, Illinois--then as now among Chicago's wealthiest suburbs. A drama scholarship to Northwestern University set him on the road to success and a string of distinguished films rivaled by few other actors of his generation. The stories of making those movies are the meat here, with seasoning coming from Heston's parallel stage accomplishments, his activism with the Screen Actors' Guild (he succeeded Ronald Reagan as SAG president), words of wisdom on the crafts of acting and filmmaking, tart asides on current cultural foibles (like Reagan, he's a former Democrat turned staunch Republican), and loving references to wife and children. But there's no gossip, which movie lovers who especially admire the grand-style filmmaking of Heston's 1950s^-1960s heyday won't miss a bit, so enthralled they'll be with the production anecdotes about The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, and El Cid, among others. Ray Olson
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (September 12, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684803941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684803944
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kona VINE VOICE on August 3, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Charlton Heston's larger-than-life screen presence comes through on every page of his wonderful 1995 autobiography, which is a really great read. Heston grew up poor in the woods of northern Michigan, where he was lonely and painfully shy. He gained confidence in his high school's senior play, and as he says, he never looked back. He won a university scholarship, and there he had his first-ever date. Her name was Lydia; she was an acting student, and they have been happily married now for over 60 years.

Heston began his career on the stage; he loves acting in and directing plays, especially Shakespeare, and has done almost as many plays as movies. We get all the fascinating behind-the-scenes stories, learn which movies he is most proud of and those that make him cringe, the co-stars he admired and those he didn't. He has no false modesty about his power as an international movie star, yet he comes across as a genuinely nice man who treasures his family.

Fans of Charlton Heston are sure to enjoy this heartfelt autobiography.

Kona
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book. Charlton Heston looks back on his enormous acting career with lots of emotion and lots of funny memories. I admire the man for his convictions and integrity and now also on his writing abilities. If you are a Heston fan, this book is a must. I don't understand why it's out of print!!! I got a copy out of the library and then I bought a used copy.
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Format: Unknown Binding
Charlton Heston's autobiography is a wonderful journey of his life, from shy teenager to Hollywood legend! A director/actor who has helped in recreating history, not only on film, but on the stage too, with some of the biggest names in the acting arena. His book reflects, with great wit,love and affection his personal life; with the love of his life of more than 60 years, his wife, Lydia, his co-stars, his directors' and his love affair with his work. His book is honest and gives his fans an indepth look at what it's like to be one of the greatest actors that ever walked on this planet. I highly recommend it! I wrote to him this week, as you know, he is not in good health, we wish him well. There is only one Ben Hur!
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Format: Paperback
A good autobiography is one in which you can hear the author audibly speaking out the book in your head as your read. Certainly you have that in the Arena. It will be a long time before I get the voice of Charlton Heston out of my head.

Summary: This book does have some politics in it but it is far from politically correct. One thing is certain about Charlton Heston: He speaks candidly about his opinions, and holds no punches for doing so. With that said this is not a book about politics. The final chapter is fabulously written pointing out the facts and ending strong words of encouragement for America.

I picked up this book to learn insight into the background of some of the movies that he had performed in. Not only did I find that but I also found a man rich in conviction and commitment. How many men stay with their first love, and how fewer are those numbers counted as individuals in the entertainment industry? Heston's commitment to his wife Lydia shows his real character.

The only negative that I can find in this book is Chapter 20. For some odd reason Heston breaks his chronological order for only this chapter. This chapter is primarily about his stage plays and it tends to ramble on over 40 pages, I can almost imagine that somehow this chapter missed the editors cut. This chapter isn't as well written as the others and is difficult reading in that the storyline jumps around quite a bit. In all honesty, you could skip this chapter all together and go right to 21.

Breakdown Review:
Storyline: I give 4 out of 5 stars simply because of the inconsistency of chapter 20.

Writing style: 5 out of 5 stars. It is written in the way that you would imagine Charlton Heston speaking. Rich and free.

Depth/Inspiration: 5 out of 5 stars.
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Format: Paperback
Here's a life worth learning about! Heston (along with Lancaster and Douglas) were probably the most successful actors of the most fertile period for films, the late 40s - mid 60s. Heston's secret: unbelievably hard work. The man was constantly developing roles and productions. Reading "In the Arena", you find yourself asking Chuck to slow down so you can catch up. Although the elites, now preoccupied with Chuck's political incorrectness, downplay Heston's importance in American film and stage, "In the Arena" will remind you of Heston's tremendous accomplishments.
Some of the material of the book is based on his journal entries from 1956-1976, "The Actor's Life", but with the perspective of an additional twenty years.
Celebs lives are shoved in our faces as "important", mostly as marketing gimmicks by the infotainment industry. Charlton Heston's work and human decency are a monument to a great era in American film and stage.
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By JadeRain on September 23, 2002
Format: Unknown Binding
This is a great book. If you are a fan of Mr. Heston's work, then you will most certainly enjoy this book. I read it because I love his movies so much, and I very much admire the man. Reading this book just increased that admiration. The book also offers many insights into the movie making process behind the scenes, directors, producers, actors, etc. Heston's writing is easy to follow, with many observations about numerous topics offered for thought. Lets face it, Heston is one of THE greats of all time, and will always be.
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