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A.A.Milne: His Life Paperback – 2 Sep 1991

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New edition edition (2 Sept. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571161685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571161683
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 405,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Ann Thwaite was born of New Zealand parents in London in 1929. She was educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford and has been a writer, biographer and reviewer all her life. She lives with her husband, the poet Anthony Thwaite, in Norfolk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Simon Thomas VINE VOICE on 11 July 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is truly in a class of its own - the best biography I have ever read. Ann Thwaite appreciates Milne's unique talent and versatility - docutmenting in full his plays, sketches, essays, poems, novels, autobiography, work on pacifism and, of course, children's books.
Ann Thwaite's book is so readable because she clearly loves Milne's books, whether she is dealing with his life (as the title suggests) and therefore him as a father and husband, or his professionaly life, or childhood, Thwaite deals with each topic in a stylistic and researched manner.
Nobody should read the Winnie the Pooh books until they have read this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. H. Yule on 24 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well-written, perceptive piece of work about an interesting and little-known character. The unexpected success of the Pooh books had a major impact on this writer, his family and in particular his son, Christopher Robin. It is a unique, poignant and absorbing tale that will be interesting to many, and not just fans of Winnie-the-Pooh. Ann Thwaite recounts events in a balanced manner, allowing the reader the space to draw their own conclusions.

This book is deserving of more attention, and is thoroughly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The definitive biography of A.A. Milne 7 Feb. 2002
By John Wheeler - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It really is too bad that all the good books seem to be out of print. When I saw this one on sale, I knew I had to grab it -- good, bad or indifferent, a book of this size that would give me so much information on one of my favorite authors had to be mine.
Little did I know what a treasure trove I'd found. A.A. Milne had written an autobiography, of course (in which he kept much of himself "buttoned up", so to speak), and his son Christopher (Robin) Milne had added to that in his own autobiographical trilogy; but no one had done a definitive biography. Ann Thwaite got Christopher's permission to try, but Christopher himself felt he would be of little help; all the relevant information seemed to have been destroyed by his mother. Happily, that was far from the case; much had been sold to the University of Texas at Austin and Trinity College in England, and many other family members and acquaintances were able to assist.
The result of Ms. Thwaite's massive efforts is a very detailed, yet very readable biography of a complex man. If there is a great deal of background on Christopher and the Pooh Books along the way, so much the better; but Alan Alexander Milne was a highly regarded writer and editor for Punch and a highly successful playwright long before his short interlude as an author for children. Ironically, it was the Pooh Books that made his fame -- and added an unwelcome burden to his son's life. Yet his natural and acquired pacifism is no less evident in his adult writings, especially in his works pleading for the abolition of war.
If you are a lover of the Pooh Books and want to learn about the man behind them, this is the book to beg, borrow, or...well, maybe someone will permit you to photocopy it. Not I. ....
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Is Wit Vanity? 11 Sept. 2009
By theboombody - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I started this book, I was amazed to find that much of A.A. Milne's correspondence in letters is actually kept in one of the libraries at the University of Texas in Austin, which isn't too far from me. I was initially planning on taking a trip over there to ask a librarian to see the letters, but this book is SO exhaustive, I don't really feel the need to see them anymore.

Despite its exhaustiveness, much about Milne remains unanswered. It's like the biography "His Excellency" of George Washington. While being a wonderul, lenghty, in-depth book, the biographical figure is just plain hard to pin down. Nobody can do it. But Mrs. Thwaite puts an unbelievable amount of effort into it, probably reading more to complete this work than I've read in my entire life. There's probably no greater expert you'll find on Pooh and his creator than this lady.

We see Milne's start as a child prodigy who cares only for his brother, follow him through his struggle to start a career after graduation, cheer as he gets lucky and lands his dream job, understand as he grows bored with his dream job and ventures into new fields, wonder how he manages to live through participation in a brutal war, marvel as he grows into a household name before even starting the Pooh books, smile in expectancy as we see his Pooh books outsell seemingly everything there is, grow weary with his thoroughly expressed political beliefs that seem so much less humorous than his writing, and sigh as he dies at the end of a writing career that has only declined since its long-ago peak.

I was inspired to read Ecclesiastes after reading this book. Milne's story really shows the vanity and ultimate unpredictability of the world. Even if you can read when you're two, and become a household name that will be remembered for generations, it doesn't really seem to matter in the end. All that praise Milne wanted for his later works just didn't happen, and everything he did earlier in his life couldn't change that fact. Whether this has anything to do with Milne's somewhat atheistic beliefs, I don't know. I do know that a lot of this biography is quite depressing. Imagine how Milne felt when he had to alter his whole pacifistic theory simply because a man as evil as Hitler could exist. He must have been so disappointed in humanity in order to lower his (very high) ideals like that.

Well, hopefully Blue and his son Billy Moon are somewhere out there in the universe now having a blast, despite the beliefs they had while previously living among us. I feel the need to always thank this man for Pooh, and I'd like to read Mr. Pim Passes By some day when I'm not so burnt out on Milne's name.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Pity 30 Sept. 2001
By Simon Thomas ( - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It is a great pity that books like this go out of print: a pity that goes hand-in-hand with the subject. Of A. A. Milne's hundred or so plays, books and poetry, only five books remain in print. Four of them we all know, the fifth is 'Toad of Toad Hall', and adaptation of Graham's 'Wind in the Willows'. Few people realise that, during his life, Milne was most valued as a playwright. Thwaite realsied this, and that is perhaps why the book is no longer available, despite its brilliance. Twaite concentrates on his wonderful plays and adult books (which can be found if 2nd hand bookshops are searched long enough) with a sensitive yet hard-hitting analysis of the reclusive author. Nobody should be allowed to read the Winnie the Pooh books (brilliant as they are) without reading this. Milne would have wanted it. Superb book. I hope Ann reads this review!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very Thorough, Very Kind 28 July 2011
By Anne Salazar - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once again, Ann Thwaite proves herself to be a very thorough and a very kind biographer. A.A. Milne was a sweet and talented man with a heart as big as all outdoors. He especially loved his son, Christopher Robin, so when the son began to show the chip on his shoulder I almost put the book away because it was very painful to read. I can only imagine the immense pain that Milne suffered, silently, for so many years. He was seemingly such a dear man, and his heartbreak must have been terrible, although he never really admitted it and he certainly wasn't the type to display any anger or any sort of disrespect toward his son.

The fact that the son resented the books and threw off the love of his parents and childhood friends does not in any way lessen the delight of the Pooh books, or any of Milne's other writings, especially the short verse from When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. The fact that Christopher Robin referred to himself as Billy Moon makes the books easier for me to read, and it's fine with me to think of all the characters in the books as made up by the author with no resemblance to anyone living or dead, as they say. Christopher Robin exists because A.A. Milne made him up, and there really is no one by the name of Billy Moon, anwyay.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Book For A Bear of 20/20 vision 1 Mar. 2011
By B.A. Hooper - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A thoroughly researched, comprehensive work;with information gleaned from a multitude of sources.You will be extremely knowledgeable on A.A.M. by the end of your read.
I would perhaps suggest that your eyes should not be as old as mine (Now They Are 60!)to read it comfortably,as (to get this much information in a book smaller than Eeyore's house) the text is written in a typeface size only big enough for the smallest of rabbit's friends and relations.
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