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TRUMBO Paperback – September 8, 2015
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"Let me end by again stressing how wonderful this book is. If you have any interest in Hollywood history, the postwar communist witch hunts, screenwriting or the art of biography, you should grab this new paperback of TRUMBO."―The Washington Post
"TRUMBO the biography, is fascinating... The book, first published in 1977, is a great example of how a biographer can take readers by the hand and lead them on a journey through the subject's life."―The Oregonian
"One of the great strengths of this biography is its sense of immediacy... I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to shine a light onto a dark period of American history."―Huffington Post
About the Author
Bruce Cook (1932-2003), veteran critic, journalist, and author, wrote this biography with Dalton Trumbo's full cooperation in 1976. Under the name Bruce Alexander, Cook wrote eleven mystery novels featuring the real-life historical figure Sir John Fielding, magistrate of the Bow Street court during the latter half of the eighteenth Century. Under both names Cook wrote a total of 23 books, both fiction and nonfiction; they include a crime fiction series featuring Los Angeles private detective Chico Cervantes. Cook's last completed novel, Young Will: The Confessions of William Shakespeare, was published posthumously. Born in Chicago, Bruce Cook lived in Los Angeles and Paris with his wife, the violinist Judith Aller.
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Cook keeps his subject at the forefront and in so doing offers as clear an explanation of the blacklist and its impact on American culture as I have ever read. Trumbo was a man of contrasts--a Communist who loved to live well, a talented writer who abandoned literature for the the money he could make in Hollywood and a political figure who refused to back down from his beliefs.
I haven't seen the new movie based on Cook's work, but I look forward to it and I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the era of the Great Fear or anyone who enjoys biographies of people of conviction and integrity.
I'd give it 5 stars, but there were a couple of issues with the book that kept it from the highest rating. First, I just couldn't get interested much in Trumbo's early life and that took the first third of the book. Second, instead of writing in a strictly chronological fashion Cook make side trips into the present (well his present) to report on his interviews with his sources, almost like a magazine article.
But once the book got to what I consider the meat of the matter, Trumbo's time as a radical and screenwriter and under the black list the story took over. Either the writing got tighter and better or the story itself was so compelling that it just took over. The latter two thirds of the book was so well written I could hardly put it down.
I highly recommend it.
You will thoroughly enjoy this book. I am looking forward to the movie adaptation.