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My Autobiography (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 24 Apr 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (24 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141011475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141011479
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

CHARLES CHAPLIN [1889-1977] was one of the greatest of all filmmakers and comedians.

DAVID ROBINSON is the author of CHAPLIN: HIS LIFE AND ART (also published by Penguin)


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I was born on 16 April 1889, at eight o'clock at night, in East Lane, Walworth. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Abiding in the fields on 23 Nov 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A few months ago whilst on business on a rainy day in Kennington South London, I found myself standing outside a house with a blue plaque "Charlie Chaplin lived here ...".

I then saw this book "Charles Chaplin My Autobiography" and bought it out of curiosity and for something to read on the Tube-not expecting very much.

I was was completely wrong. It is brilliant so well written and the way Charlie writes is so vivid & engaging. He clearly was often very interested in the people he met and what motivated them and the situations in which he found himself.

It certainly pushed asided the preconceptions I had about him as just playing the "little tramp" and just being a silent movie star without much relevance to modern times. On the contrary his life was astonishingly rich and he was greatly loved and respected by people of all walks of life. But although he became very wealthly, he never forgot where he came from and he supported socialism. He suffered for this at the hands of the American authorities during the McCarthy Era and the anti communist witch hunts.

As regards the criticism by another reviewer of his film "the Great Dictator" and the way it pokes fun at Hitler and the Nazi's. Well seeing the funny side is a very English way of dealing with monsters. But when Charlie made that film he did not know about the concentration camps. We know about them but we still poke fun at the Nazis in comedies such as "Allo Allo"

This book is definitely a good read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kona TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Dec 2008
Format: Paperback
Charlie Chaplin's life story makes a real page-turner of a book. The misery of his first twelve years had me almost in tears; he lived with his mentally ill mother in an endless series of tiny rooms in the worst slums of Victorian London. Charlie lived on pennies a week and was eventually sent to a workhouse for over a year where the beatings were right out of Dickens. What a contrast to his adult life! While traveling in a vaudeville show in the U.S. he was invited to Hollywood where he created the character of the tramp and rose to international fame and fortune.

Chaplin writes in a very readable style, recounting the horrors and high points of his life with fascinating detail (except for his many love affairs and marriages which are barely mentioned). He socialized with royalty and traveled the world, yet he never forgot his humble beginnings. Highly recommended, especially for film fans.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By S. Turnbull on 28 Oct 2007
Format: Paperback
In early Hollywood cinema there were only a few leading lights and Charlie Chaplin was one of them.Famous for his clowning and mime,he has been copied and imitated right into the twenty first century.This book take us by the land and leads us from the poverty of Victorian England to the glam and glitz of Hollywood.
Charlie was born in South London in the latter part of the 19th century and both of his parents were music hall entertainers.He lived mainly with his mother and first stepped onto the stage as a young boy after his mother lost her voice and could no longer sing.After spells in Victorian workhouses and pauper schools,Charlie and his brother Sydney fell into life on the road as part of several troups of touring productions,one of which took them to America....
To review this book in total would take pages and pages.He writes beautifully and if selective memory kicks in on occasion, well,that's his perogative.His life story is a fascinating insight into so many things,Victorian London~Victorian Music Hall~Early Cinema and much more.He recounts conversations and meetings with many historical figures including Winston Churchill and Ghandi.
I would highly recommend this book for many reasons but to sum up ~ buy this book 'cause it's a thumping good read!!.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Miss E. Potten on 27 Mar 2009
Format: Paperback
What a fantastic book! All you 20-something wannabes (Kerry, Chantelle, I mean you) take note - this is how an autobiography SHOULD be written: at the end of a long, fulfilling and fascinating life, not after a normal childhood and ten minutes on a reality TV show.

This is a sweeping and beautifully written story covering the entire span of Chaplin's life at the time of writing, from his poverty-stricken London childhood and his early theatrical career, through the evolution of Hollywood and the development of his most famous and well-loved character, the `Little Tramp', to his dazzling rise to fame and fortune, his brushes with the harsh face of American politics, and his final escape to Switzerland with his wife Oona and their large family, where he remained until his death in 1977.

Not only is this a wonderful journey through the world of theatre and the development of the film industry, it is also overflowing with interesting people, places and anecdotes. His was a golden era of sparkling society in which the aristocracy and the intellectual elite mixed on equal terms and travelled frequently. Thus Chaplin can legitimately name-drop a veritable wealth of friends, acquaintances and casual meetings, from Albert Einstein to Winston Churchill, Lord and Lady Mountbatten to John Steinbeck, Rachmaninov to Picasso. On top of all that there is a meandering thread of personal philosophy, politics and considered opinion, all of which come together to form a rounded picture of someone whose genius could otherwise have become buried under his comedy.

I picked up the book on the strength of the film `Chaplin' (starring Robert Downey Jr.
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