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20th Century Journey - The Start : 1904-1930 Hardcover – Apr 1984

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Hardcover, Apr 1984
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Company; First Edition edition (April 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671221957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671221959
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,182,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

A memoir of a life and the times. The Start 1904-1930. With 39 illustrations in black and white 8vo pp. 510 ril tela, sovrac (cloth, DJ)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Connolly on 18 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
William Shirer was 21 years old when he got a job with the Chicago Tribune working on its Paris edition and from that developed an amazing career as a Foreign Correspondent. Paris was the place to be in the 1920's the nexus of culture, politics, fashion and the many other things that go into making somewhere hip.Thrust into this whirlstream fresh from the staid american midwest was a heady experience and within a short period the young journalist was rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce and Isadora Duncan plus a host of others that have faded from popular memory.

The First part of Volume 1 recounts his upbringing in The US, imitially in Chicago and subsequently in Cedar Rapids. This account of a world long since gone is not without interest but is perhaps a little overlong with extended passages detailing various luminaries who came to town, few of whom resonate much to-day. The second part of the book covers his first five years in Europe, based predominently in Paris but also with extended periods in London, which he found staid, dirty and dull. Shirer was an American of liberal views and his keen interest in international affairs made him a fascinating observer of the european scene at a momentous time. Whilst a man of his time this is still an interesting read although the author can at times seem just a little full of himself.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Powerful Memoir 19 Dec. 1999
By K.Goldberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Shirer's moving account of his formative years in Chicago, Cedar Rapids, and as a young reporter in Paris ranks as solid autobiographical writing. I like how this renowned journalist parallels history with a revealing narrative of his youthful yearnings, setbacks, and rebellious insights. Future historians will read this volume to feel the rhythms of everyday life from 1904-1930. Career, personality, and luck exposed young Shirer to many notables, and his portraits of acquaintances like Hemmingway, Sinclair Lewis, Isadora Duncan, and Eamon De Velera add spice to the narrative. Some academic historians jealously dismiss Shirer's best-selling books, but I find his eyewitness accounts illuminating and his prose superior. The first of three volumes, this memoir is more personally revealing than The Nightmare Years, Shirer's superb account of Nazi Germany and A Native's Return, his homecoming finale. Writes Shirer in the introduction, "...it is an interesting fate being an American in the Twentieth Century. I am glad it was mine."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Volume I of Shirer's 4 Volume Memoirs (including the volume on Gandhi) 4 Oct. 2009
By Mr. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So begins volume 1 of Shirer's 4 volume memoirs. As the title indicates, this volume covers 1904-1930. Shirer talks about his growing up in the midwest, his college year at Coe College in Iowa, and his subsequent experience in Europe. There is considerable interesting material about extensive ex-pat literary community in Paris. Also, there is a nice segment on Shirer's coverage of Lindbergh's landing in Paris.

As discussed in the third official installment of the memoirs (Native's Return), Shirer wanted the Volume II to focus on his encounters with Gandhi, but Simon and Schuster turned down the idea and the second installment. So Shirer ended up going with Little, Brown. And the Gandhi volume (which I would consider either volume 1.5 or 4) was later published as a separate volume.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Top-Notch and Fascinating Autobiography 2 Jan. 2006
By Uncle Lars - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
William Shirer, best known for The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, here presents a fascinating account of the first 25 years of his life. Young childhood in Chicago, growing up in rural Iowa, then being lucky enough to land a newspaper job on a trip to Europe (days before having to head back to Prohibition-time rural America), and then spending his young adulthood in the glorious cities of Europe in the Golden Years, before the shadows of Fascism and Nazism began to dim the lights...(but that leads to the second book of his autobiographical trilogy).

I find this man's accounts of life in the U.S. Midwest, of meeting celebrities and writers and leaders of the thriving, to-be-short-lived Europe of the Twenties (and falling in love as well..don't we all), to be gripping and entertaining. I envy Mr. Shirer's life, too. My favorite autobiography of any I have read, bar none.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
But the sub-titles are stressed to the point that it was not easy to realize that the three constituted a set 4 Oct. 2014
By Michael S., J.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"A Native's Return 1945-1988" is the third volume of Shirer's autobiography. I didn't read this and have not bought it. What I recently bought and read was the first volume of this autobiography: "The Start. 1904-1930". Previously I read the second volume: "The Nightmare Years, 1930-1940" but only discovered part way through that it was volume two of Shirer's three-volume autobiography. The three volumes are collectively entitled "20th Century Journey" with separate sub-titles for each: The Start, the Nightmare Years, and A Native's Return". But the sub-titles are stressed to the point that it was not easy to realize that the three constituted a set.
I particularly bought "The Start" to read about Shirer's life in Paris in the 1920s which was interesting but I would have liked more of Paris. This book has a lot more than Paris including growing up in Chicago then Iowa with some interesting details about Shirer's neighbor, artist Grant Woods whose most famous work is American Gothic. Another surprise is in the "Nightmare Years" which was that in 1933 Shirer and his bride took a year off and lived in Spain as a next-door neighbor to Pablo Casals.
It looks to me that Shirer became a small writing industry the last years of his life after he apparently was fired from CBS. He published about a dozen titles with what appears to be some overlapping content. Reviews of "A Native's Return 1945-1988" on Amazon do not make me want to get into this book in a hurry.
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Probably should take a pass 28 Aug. 2009
By N. Perz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For anyone who has already read _Rise and Fall of the Third Reich_ (which is a masterpiece), this book is probably not worth the investment of time. Mainly, I read it because I had heard the Shrier was an OSS agent, which is either untrue or he just doesn't discuss it (I suspect the former). Unless you're related to the author, you're probably not going to be too interested in his domestic travails. The second half of the book get more interesting but, like I said, it doesn't really add much to RaFotTR.

Shrier writes well and it's midly interesting but, if you're already read RaFotTR, then you should probably take a pass on this one...

Not recommended.
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