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Nevertheless: A Memoir Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“[A] rich, fascinating, occasionally irascible chronicle.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Swift, eloquent, witty.” (Chicago Tribune)
From the Back Cover
Over the past three decades, Alec Baldwin has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most gifted, hilarious, and controversial leading men. His work in popular movies—including Beetlejuice, Working Girl, The Hunt for Red October, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Cooler, and It’s Complicated—and his roles as Jack Donaghy on Tina Fey’s irreverent series 30 Rock and as Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, have made him both a household name and a deeply respected actor.
In Nevertheless, Baldwin transcends his public persona, shedding light on facets of his life he has long kept private. In this honest, affecting memoir, he introduces us to the Long Island child who felt burdened by his family’s financial struggles and his parents’ unhappy marriage; the Washington, DC, college student gearing up for a career in politics; the self-named “Love Taxi” who helped friends solve their romantic problems while neglecting his own; the young soap actor learning from veterans of the theater; the man struggling with a brief addiction to drugs and alcohol; the husband and father who acknowledges his failings and has battled to overcome them; and the consummate professional for whom work is everything. Throughout, he shares an insider’s anecdotes from the sets of beloved movies, insights into what the world’s foremost performers do on stage and screen, and stories of the people, famous and not, who have had the greatest influence on his work and personal happiness.
Told with his signature candor, astute observational savvy, and devastating wit, Nevertheless reveals an Alec Baldwin we have never fully seen before.
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I remember when I used to see him in the nineties, I always thought, "Now, there's a guy who's got it all going on. He's in the movies making gobs of money, he's married to a goddess." When I'd hear him talk about his marriage to Kim Bassinger, he was always funny. He reminded me of my brother.
I was genuinely shocked when he and Bassinger split up. Then his first book came out.
In those days I would go lie on the floor of my kid's bedroom and read him a story. Then while he fell asleep, I would lie there and read something for myself. It was there on the bedroom floor that I read Baldwin's first book.
I could not believe what I was reading.
It was so different from my imaginings about his life that it reminded me of the old TS Elliot poem that says, "Between the idea and the reality, falls the shadow."
In that book, I read about his agonizing love for his child, then i looked over at my kid quietly sleeping, and bonded with Baldwin. When I finished the book, I actually went back and read it again, like driving by a gut wrenching wreck then going around the block and cruising it again to see if it was as horrendous as you'd thought. (it was.)
This book is very different from that one. This is the Big View of his life from the beginning till now.
But the real hero of this book isn't Baldwin. The real hero of this book is Baldwin's father.
Baldwin's father was a guy with six kids who basically worked himself to death trying to propel them all to something better than he had, which is what every parent who's worth a damn wants. But he was an idealistic, self-sacrificing person who was a real bedrock of civilization sort of guy. He was so idealistic that in June of 1968 he rounded up his six kids and drove them to Robert Kennedy's funeral.
While they were standing in line at the funeral a wandering radio announcer shoved a microphone in a young Alec Baldwin's face and asked him if he would pray for Senator Kennedy.
Baldwin then recited the "Hail Mary" prayer on the radio for Robert Kennedy. Millions of New Yorkers must have heard it.
The weird thing is earlier tonight I was talking to my son, now twenty, who is taking an American History class in college. He looked up at me out of the blue and asked, "Is 1968 the year you're always going on about?"
I said yes.
He said, "It says here 1968 was a year when crises came so quickly that it seemed as if the fabric of society itself was dissolving."
I then told him, "The day Robert Kennedy died I remember thinking that the whole idea of America, a place where all these different kinds of people are trying to live together, might not workout. It just might not be possible. I was a Junior High kid thinking that on my own!"
Then I went in and opened Baldwin's book and read the story about Alec Baldwin saying Hail Mary for Robert Kennedy on the radio.
These are the publicly shared moments that make us a community.
This is an extremely American book and a story shaped by its time. Baldwin's father was a tragic, heroic man it would be as hard to forget as Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman." He never managed to lift his family completely out of poverty but he died trying. Even more poignant, he didn't live to see any of the success of Baldwin or his siblings.
All I can tell you is this is a book I'm glad I read..
In a way I think it's stupid to write a review of a book by a huge celebrity, but my understanding is that so many of these bad reviews were written by people who dislike Baldwin because of his politics that I decided to do it anyway. I live in the South but I'm blue to the bone. True Blue.
About fifteen years ago, I told a friend I intend to go to my grave a Bobby Kennedy democrat and I meant it. Baldwin's dad was a Bobby Kennedy democrat too, and it's for him I really wrote this review. It seems like the least I can do..
Thanks for reading this.
Baldwin is specific about the two passions in his life - acting and politics. As a child, his father drove to DC for JFK's funeral and a few years later, his father took a 10-year-old Baldwin along with 2 of his siblings to RFK's funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral in a snaking line to file past the casket. As a poly sci major at George Washington University, he interned for his congressman in DC. Baldwin chronicles how he moved twoard acting, how he trained inside and outside the classroom, became a hot commodity for a moment and then fell away. He writes an ode to his mentors. He doesn't blame others too much. The word "luck" is used often. He cops to but doesn't describe in detail bad decisions. He justifies his actions against paparazzi who cross the line. He chronicles the seismic shift in acting from theatre to blockbusters to indies to TV and shows made to stream because he lived it and had to adjust his career accordingly.
Throughout, he was in leadership positions in political education organizations mentored by the late Ron Silver and the late Christopher Reeve, registered voters in Massachusetts for Ted Kennedy with Michael Kennedy, and worked for candidates. He has political cred; he's not the mouthy no-nothing he's sometimes portrayed.
This is a great book for anyone interested in acting, how the business works, or wants to become an actor. It's tough. This is not a tell-all. You won't get the goods on other actors other than their special acting chops or names and details of sex partners.
My one complaint is the amount of time spent name dropping other actors and artists to elaborate on points being made. Unfortunately most of these names were lost on me due to my own lack of knowledge of these artists and though I got the gist of what was being said by the author, it still seemed a bit excessive.
All that being side, the author has a great book reading voice and is enjoyable to listen too.