- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (December 6, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679734228
- ISBN-13: 978-0679734222
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 88 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Makes Sammy Run? Paperback – December 6, 1993
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From the Inside Flap
What Makes Sammy Run?
Everyone of us knows someone who runs. He is one of the symp-toms of our times--from the little man who shoves you out of the way on the street to the go-getter who shoves you out of a job in the office to the Fuehrer who shoves you out of the world. And all of us have stopped to wonder, at some time or another, what it is that makes these people tick. What makes them run?
This is the question Schulberg has asked himself, and the answer is the first novel written with the indignation that only a young writer with talent and ideals could concentrate into a manuscript. It is the story of Sammy Glick, the man with a positive genius for being a heel, who runs through New York's East Side, through newspaper ranks and finally through Hollywood, leaving in his wake the wrecked careers of his associates; for this is his tragedy and his chief characteristic--his congenital incapacity for friendship.
An older and more experienced novelist might have tempered his story and, in so doing, destroyed one of its outstanding qualities. Compromise would mar the portrait of Sammy Glick. Schulberg has etched it in pure vitriol, and dissected his victim with a precision that is almost frightening.
When a fragment of this book appeared as a short story in a national magazine, Schulberg was surprised at the number of letters he received from people convinced they knew Sammy Glick's real name. But speculation as to his real identity would be utterly fruitless, for Sammy is a composite picture of a loud and spectacular minority bitterly resented by the many decent and sincere artists who are trying honestly to realize the measureless potentialities of motion pictures. Tothis group belongs Schulberg himself, who has not only worked as a screen writer since his graduation from Dartmouth College in 1936, but has spent his life, literally, in the heart of the motion-picture colony. In the course of finding out what makes Sammy run (an operation in which the reader is spared none of the grue-some details) Schulberg has poured out everything he has felt about that place. The result is a book which the publishers not only believe to be the most honest ever written about Hollywood, but a penetrating study of one kind of twentieth-century success that is peculiar to no single race of people or walk of life.
"From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Budd Schulberg wrote On the Waterfront, made into a movie starring Marlon Brando, and The Harder They Fall, made into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart. He won an Oscar for the screenplay of On the Waterfront several awards for his film A Face in the Crowd, and a Tony nomination for his Broadway adaptation of The Disenchanted. He attributed his ability to adapt his own work to stage or screen to his upbringing in Hollywood, where his father ran a major motion-picture studio. He died in 2009 at the age of 95.
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Sammy Glick is a poor Jewish kid from the streets who wasn't about to let anything stand in the way of his success. That includes love, honesty, trust, friendship and morality. "What Makes Sammy Run" is told from the perspective of Al Manheim, who meets Sammy at age 16 when Sammy comes to work as a copy runner for a newspaper. Al despises the kid on first sight but finds himself fascinated at the same time and makes it his mission to find out "What Makes Sammy Run?". Through the book Al develops a grudging respect and a bit of pity for Sammy, even as Sammy runs over everyone in his path in an effort to reach...what? That's the big question and what makes "Sammy" an exceptional book.
Readers interested in how Old Hollywood worked, and what the town was like in the Golden Years will find much to enjoy in "Sammy". I came to this book through a late '60s Dick Cavett interview with Bette Davis who said this is the best book ever written about Hollywood. If it's good enough for Bette, it's good enough for me. And you. Give it a shot, you won't be disappointed.
This is the story of Sammy Glick who is a consumate narcissistic hustler.It's told by Al Manheim who is a reasonably decent, sane guy and you ask yourself why he would be so fixated on Sammy.He's so different.Yet, it makes sense because Sammy is a fascinating spectacle.Even though , in a way, he's insufferably boring.How interesting can a shallow person whose only interest is in self advancement be? Well , actually , very.You just don't come across that many people who are so single mindedly devoted to their own self advancement.There is a horrible splendor to it !
When the book gets too far from Hollywood, it drags a bit.Al's visit to Sammy's boyhood home on the Lower East Side is the least successful part of the novel.I think the LSE was a kind of Mars for Schulberg.Schulberg grew up in LA, wealthy and my guess is , not very religously observant.Here we have crime , poverty and Orthodoxy.It's not Al or Schulbergs world and it shows.Also Schulberg is at his most annoying when he tries to explain things that don't need to be explained.The reader already suspects this is the kind of place Sammy came from.We can't wait to get back to Hollywood ! There the author is in his element.
This edition contains two short stories which are in effect early treatments of Sammy notable largely for having Sammy come from the Bronx rather than the Lower East Side.There is also a biographical note from Schulberg which contains a funny story.John Wayne apparently hated the novel(I like John Wayne but I have a hard time believing he actually read it and the thought of him reading a book about largely Jewish urban characters strikes me as funny.He would have made a hysterical Sammy Glick on par with his Ghengis in The Conqurer.).He wanted to beat up Schulberg and apparently took a crack at it.John Wayne upholding the honor of Louis B. Mayer, that's funny !
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As a salesman who reads too many sales books, I really to spice up my reading list with a little fiction.Read more