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My Autobiography (Neversink) Paperback – December 26, 2012
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“A moving picture of the hero himself. A truly fascinating book.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“The most original, virile book about the theater in a long, long time.”
“It holds the reader entranced. Every page can be read with pleasure.” —The Times (London)
“The crucial artist of the twentieth century.” —The New Yorker
“Among the greatest geniuses of film.” —Roger Ebert
“Few men in this century in any field attained his stature with the public.” —The New York Times
“Chaplin was not just ‘big,’ he was gigantic. In 1915, he burst onto a war-torn world bringing it the gift of comedy, laughter and relief while it was tearing itself apart through World War I. Over the next 25 years, through the Great Depression and the rise of Adolf Hitler, he stayed on the job. . . It is doubtful any individual has ever given more entertainment, pleasure and relief to so many human beings when they needed it the most.” —Martin Sieff
“For me, comedy begins with Charlie Chaplin. I know there were screen comedies before he came along . . . But none of them created a persona as unique or indelible as the Little Tramp, and no one could match his worldwide impact.” —Leonard Maltin
“For a star who made his fortune in the silent movies, Charlie Chaplin has a surprising way with words. His My Autobiography, published in 1964 and recently reissued, moves along at a quick clip, lit up throughout its many pages by bright anecdotes, easy humor, and a confident way with a good yarn.” —Biographile
From the Publisher
Top Customer Reviews
This book is invaluable in getting an insight into early days of Hollywood. It also provides a great account of Charlie's life and struggles. So the learning is tremendous.
However, the best part of the book is its humanness - fallible, confused, hesitant, and shy and yet successful, rich, adored, and mobbed by fans.
What struck my heart is the loneliness in the midst of a celebrity status and Charlie's ability to get in touch with it and share it.
What is also moving is his trauma during the McCarthy era and his eventual 'reverse migration' to Europe.
Even JFK could not get him back.
It seems to be the general standpoint that the first twelve or so out of the twenty-nine chapters are the most fascinating. Born in London in 1889, Chaplin's recollections of the late Victorian era, as seen through the eyes of someone who suffered a confused and insecure childhood, are often heartwrenching. Although Chaplin's early years are told in retrospect, half a century after he became one of the richest and most celebrated personalities of his time, one senses through his writing that feelings of desperation and inferiority never quite left him. I constantly found myself imagine not Chaplin the man, but Charlie the boy telling me his story as though it happened yesterday. His first spontaneous appearance on the stage at five, the constant struggle to make both ends meet, his mother's first and subsequent transmissions to mental asylums, the death of his alcoholic father, his first experience with love, his rise from a child dancer to a major music hall comedian, which led to his first movie contract while on tour in the States; it is all here, told through a vast amount of anecdotes.Read more ›
The book spends a considerable amount of time in his early life. Chaplin struggled with a rarely present father and a mentally ill mother. It was through this poverty that he followed the chosen career path of his parents in the theatre. The theatre would would lead him to America where he would begin working in the new film industry. Through this industry he made classic films that continue to influence modern cinema despite their age. When Chaplin made a film, it had something to say. It was art that spoke to the human soul with humor, love, and hope. His films were not merely a way to make money.
Aside from his work in films, Chaplin was a humanitarian. He supported America in times of war depite not being a citizen. Chaplin never forgot his roots, making him empathetic to the needs of the less fortunate. This trait led to the revoking of his residency when he spoke of openly of opening a second front in Russia during World War II. It was through this stance that he was labeled a "communist". In spite of these attacks led by J. Edgar Hoover, Chaplin rarely mentions Hoover in his book. Nor does he harbor ill will toward America. It is a travesty that this film legend and humanitarian was treated so poorly by the American government in his later years.
The book ends shortly after Chaplin has settled in to his new life in Switzerland. With his new life, Chaplin has a positive outlook. One has to wonder what might have been if Chaplin finished his life in America. Surely he was capable of creating more great work. However, sometimes a man's greatest work and pleasure is his family.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating to learn about his childhood. Although his childhood takes up slightly more than one third of the book I could not put the book down. Read morePublished 5 days ago by B. Sahn
Charlie Chaplin was one of the world's most unusual men. He included in his accomplishments a play and comedy writer, an actor, a mime, a composer, a musician and now an... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Co-Founder,
I'm an enormous Chaplin fan, so I anticipated widening my perspective on the supremely-talented artist. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book is a huge uninteresting work written by a man definitely overrated. A series of silly anecdotes, a history of success and profits, this is not a conscious, reflective and... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Guia Risari
This without a doubt is a must read.....if you know anything about Chaplin or even if you don't. He was a brilliant, talented man that lived a sorrowful life growing up. Read morePublished 1 month ago by fitzi
Charlie Chaplin takes you back to another place in time. I felt like an observer, on a movie set. I give any woman kudo' s for being able to live with him. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I hesitated to review this book several weeks after I read it because I knew I wouldn't be able to give Chaplin 5 stars. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Drassie