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Moons A Balloon Paperback – International Edition, April 26, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


An immensely enjoyable, witty and racy memoir. Sunday Times Forthright, bawdy, and often hilarious, zany and zestful, his anecdotes should keep you entertained for hours. Sunday Express Niven's life was Wodehouse with tears. -- John Mortimer

About the Author

David Niven was born in London in 1910. He was one of Britain's best known actors and, in later years, a bestselling author - his autobiography, The Moon's A Balloon which was first published in 1971, sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Often remembered for playing the archetypal English gentleman, he made ninety films during a career that stretched over forty years. He died in 1983.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK; New Ed edition (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140239243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140239249
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Published in 1972, THE MOON'S A BALLOON proved one of the great bestsellers of the decade--and if you read the first page you'll know why. You are immediate hooked by star David Niven's wild, wicked sense of humor. Whether it is his Dickensian childhood, his outrageous tour of duty with the British military, or his climb to unexpected stardom, this is truly Niven exactly as you imagine he would be.

Imagine, however, seems to be an operative word. Niven was less interested in relating the facts of his life than he was in telling a good story and in putting his best face to the public--something that is not entirely unexpected in an autobiography, particularly the autobiography of a Hollywood star. Later writers have noted that Niven played fast and loose with the facts in THE MOON'S A BALLOON, and that for all his charm he could be viciously despicable when the mood took him; it is also worth pointing out that he was never quite the "A List" star that he seems to be in his memoirs.

But all this is actually a little beside the point. Whether it is factually accurate and emotionally honest or not, THE MOON'S A BALLOON is simply a delightful read right from the first page, where we meet Nessie, the Picadilly hooker who introduced Niven to the joys of the flesh. Approximately half the book concerns Niven's life before he arrived in Hollywood as a would-be actor, and it is a riotous ride; once Niven hits the film industry, however, he begins to name drop with the best of them--offering memorable glimpses of such famous names as director William Wyler and stars Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh. It is all fascinating stuff.

It can also be quite startling.
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Format: Hardcover
Prior to reading this book, my only knowledge of David Niven was as an actor in a few films I had seen. 'The Moon's A Balloon' was recommended to the highest level by an old aunt, and I must do likewise to anyone who enjoys superb writing, hugely entertaining and humorous stories, and dry wit of the highest calibre. David's writings are wonderfully descriptive and tinged in places with tragedy lest we forget he was apportioned his share. He led a most extraordinary life, met some of the most famous people from royalty to screen stars, and after reading his memoirs I defy anyone not to be endeared to the man. The book was no doubt initially made popular by David's popularity as an actor, but I guarantee that people who are not acquainted with him will enjoy his memoirs as much as those who are. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, nor adequately elucidate my surprise that it is no longer in print. After reading it I believe you will concur that the world lost a very unique person when David died in 1983. Please do yourself a favour and read this book, you will love it.
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Format: Paperback
Are you looking for an excellent read which will make you or someone in your life laugh? Then look no further. The Moon's a Balloon (and "Bring on the Empty Horses!") are two of the funniest and most satisfying book I have ever read.

David Niven was not always a star. He had to go away and learn his trade in "B" movies before being allowed to enter the big time. He learnt that trade so well he eventually won an Oscar. Unlike some who were destined to become greats of Hollywood, he also put his entire acting career on hold whilst he served as an officer in a fighting unit throughout WW2. This book tells the first half of his life's story and what a story it is. Like every biography ever written, the best bits are not found at the beginning, so some readers, therefore, might find it slow going at first - though most will not. Then we meet the rich and famous stars of Hollywood from another era and learn a little about each of these people and their various relationships as we move from one to another and sometimes back again.

Written in David Niven's own hilarious style, there is so much humour here that you "will" find yourself insisting others read this book. In fact, it is so funny - especially his descriptions of the wrong use of English words by foreign movie directors, one finishes the book in the knowledge that had David Niven not become an Oscar-winning movie star, he would easily have achieved great success as a writer.

Refreshingly, Niven writes about his fellow personalities from that golden age of the Hollywood of yester-year with charming frankness. Where others might expose drunkenness or sordid behaviour, Niven simply makes us laugh and, in so doing you really do get the feeling that those of whom he speaks would approve.

The underlying theme, of course, is David Niven's life and, as one reviewer has said elsewhere, this book leaves you wishing you had met this man. Me too.

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Format: Hardcover
Witty, urbane, occasionally insightful, 'The Moon's a Balloon' is a marvellous reminiscence of Hollywood's Golden Age, and is as delightfully unpretentious as it's author, Academy Award-winning actor David Niven.
Niven must have been a welcome addition to any party, as his writing has a chatty, 'have you heard the story about...' quality that makes each experience a topper to the one before! You'll follow his early life, and introduction into Hollywood, where he shared a cottage with legendary hell-raiser Errol Flynn (who would bed an endless stream of stars and starlets, while avoiding jealous husbands and boyfriends by the narrowest of margins), to his involvement with Samuel Goldwyn and the British acting community (including a hilarious tale involving Nigel Bruce and a rare plant), to a horrible yet hysterical Broadway stint, to his recollections about the production of 'Around the World in Eighty Days'.
Niven was not one to 'blow his own horn', and he tends to downplay his own adventures (he was a decorated officer in WWII, who survived D-Day; he only lightly touches upon it, and says he was only 'doing his part'), and the book ends on a slightly jarring note, as he acknowledges his complete confusion over current tastes in lifestyles and music (using James Taylor, of all people, as a reference to what was incomprehensible!), but all in all, the book is a delight, and was such a commercial hit that it spawned a sequel, 'Bring On the Empty Horses'.
If there is ANY book that deserves to be back in print, it's 'The Moon's a Balloon'. When that happy day arrives, run, do NOT walk, to buy it! You WON'T be disappointed!
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