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Charlie Chaplin: A Brief Life Audio CD – Audiobook, 28 Oct 2014

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Audio CD, Audiobook, 28 Oct 2014
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
£71.32 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.



Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (28 Oct. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1483024733
  • ISBN-13: 978-1483024738
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,974,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Haunting... Brilliant and unsparing" (Simon Callow Guardian)

"Compact, engrossing, intelligent" (John Carey Sunday Times)

"Chaplin's rise makes an enthralling story, and it's one perfectly suited to Peter Ackroyd's prodigious and idiosyncratic talents... Ackroyd acknowledges Chaplin's many human failings, while at the same time giving us a vivid sense of what made the man a genius" (Lucy Hughes-Hallett The Telegraph)

"A beautifully judged book, driven by a powerful sense of life’s sadness" (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday)

"[A] fine biography… The luxury of a short book about a vast life cannot be overestimated" (Susie Boyt Financial Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A fresh look at Chaplin from the masterful Peter Ackroyd --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By V. Denham on 31 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I imagined that this book would be a very hefty tome being by Peter Ackroyd, but it is a fairly slim volume. However that doesn't mean that it isn't an excellent little book. It is a fairly comprehensive study of the life, films and music hall days of Charlie Chaplin. It has much to say about his chaotic love life and his often difficult personality. Very well written. I enjoyed it very much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Hayes on 19 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is an amiable enough survey of Chaplin's life story, but it is hard to see why an author of Ackroyd's stature undertook this rather insubstantial commission. This book doesn't seem to add any new insight into the Chaplin phenomenon, and doesn't provide much additional context about his legacy as a comedic genius, film-maker, and cultural icon. Several periods in Chaplin's life appear skipped over, or dealt with very briefly, and I agree with another reviewer that, given the nature of the subject matter, Ackroyd's prose style is not at its most scintillating. This is disappointing given Ackroyd's estimable track-record - I couldn't help wondering, why didn't he pull all the stops out and produce a the thumping great multi-volume biography that his subject here deserves?
I've read other biographic books about Chaplin, and venture to the say that the definitive account of his extraordinary life has actually yet to be written.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gardenaunt on 2 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover
I must agree with reviewer C.J. Tordoff who called this book a "cut and paste" job. I have almost all the books listed in the bibliography and while reading, often knew exactly which one the information was taken from. Quite frankly, I feel I could have written the book myself! Reviewer Gerry Mandel notes photos with no attribution. Worse, some of these incorrectly identify people and events. For example, Chaplin's signing with Mutual is misidentified as his signing with Keystone. Lillita MacMurray, signing her contract with Chaplin as "Lita Grey" is said to be "Chaplin Marrying Lita Grey, 1924". As unhappy as he was to marry her, would he really have done it in full Tramp get-up? As both those photos are correctly identified in any number of places, this is either a case of poor research, poor editing or both. And no, that is not Edna Purviance with him on page 125, and no, again, the year is not 1918. Anyone who has a decent interest in Chaplin would know that just by looking at the small size of the Tramp's moustache. (BTW, I do not know Mr. Mandel, but you may want to check out his novel, "Shadow and Substance; My Time With Charlie Chaplin". I was actually a bit teary at the end!). While this is not a horrible introduction of Chaplin for those who know little or nothing about him (although it does lean towards his negative side), people may want to check out some of the books Mr. Ackroyd used to research his subject.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Intermeddle on 26 April 2014
Format: Hardcover
Another of Peter Ackroyd's idiosyncratic lives of Londoners, showing how Chaplin's early life continued to influence and haunt him and his art. Chaplin's terror of poverty, squalor and madness drove him for much of his life, and predisposed him to the half-hearted socialism that caused him to be ostracised in fifties America. Ackroyd reviews each of Chaplin's major films to trace these influences, but this is not an appraisal of his work or his significance in film history.
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Format: Paperback
This is a delightful and informative book about the life of Charlie Chaplin. Ackroyd writes sparingly, so this is a small book that covers a vast subject. But the descriptions of Charlie's early life of poverty in London and his early days in cinema at the Keystone studio in California are evocative. Chaplin's comedy mixed with pathos and violence had universal appeal. He was the first truly iconic actor to be instantly recognised across the world. His silent films needed no dialogue and so could be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. His films were the first glimpse many immigrants to the USA had of American life. This book captures all of this and is an important addition to our understanding of Chaplin and his genius. Recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. M. D. Bennett on 24 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the the 1950s I ws working in Singapore. Being on shift work I sometimes had weekdays free and sometimes in those afternoons I would go to a local flea-pit cinema that usualy showed just Hollywood second-rank movies. However one day it offered Chaplin's The Kid. At the end I relaised that the cinema was much much fuller than usual for that time - mostly by young Chinese such was Chaplin's appeal.

I found the book a good run though his life though he does not mention that Chaplin apparently thought Mary Pickford 'an undersized bitch.'
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BRIAN MOWAT on 6 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Ackroyd has gathered together a large amount of information about Chaplin in this easily-read and comprehensive biography. I particularly liked the accounts he gives of Chaplin's childhood in London and of his rapid rise to fame in silent films in Hollywood. This is a really startling contrast in lifestyles.
It is still difficult to understand Chaplin's behaviour despite considerable efforts to do so by Peter Ackroyd. Why was he so horrible to people he worked with and to family members?
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gerry Mandel on 3 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
There is absolutely nothing new in Ackroyd's book on Chaplin. Since 2014 is the 100th anniversary of The Little Tramp's first appearance on-screen, I can hear the publisher now: "Let's get someone to write another bio on Chaplin, but not take too much time; somebody with decent credentials but no standards." So Ackroyd gets the call. He looks through dozens of published books on the subject, extracts what he thinks works, stitches them together in a decent narrative, and picks up his check. There is no original research in this book. You'd be better off buying a bio by Robinson or Vance or Lynn or Maland etc etc. Ackroyd also has photos of Chaplin in there but no attribution. As I understand it, the Chaplin archives retains control of those, and all photos should carry a "courtesy of Roy Export SSA." If you want to find out what made Chaplin one of the greatest figures of the cinema, take a large detour around Ackroyd's embarrassing efforts.
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