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The Moon's a Balloon Paperback – 27 Oct 1994


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The Moon's a Balloon + Bring on the Empty Horses (Hodder Great Reads) + My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Autobiography of Errol Flynn
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (27 Oct 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140239243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140239249
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

* 'An immensely enjoyable, witty and racy memoir (Sunday Times * 'Forthright, bawdy and often hilarious, zany and zestful, his anecdotes should keep you entertained for hours’ )

Sunday Express --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description

David Niven's first volume of autobiography, which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 22 May 2006
Format: Paperback
Are you looking for an excellent read which will make you or someone in your life laugh? Then look no further. The Moon's a Balloon (and "Bring on the Empty Horses!") are two of the funniest and most satisfying books I have ever read.

David Niven was not always a star. He had to go away and learn his trade in "B" movies before being allowed to enter the big time. He learnt that trade so well he eventually won an Oscar. Unlike some who were destined to become greats of Hollywood, he also put his entire acting career on hold whilst he served as an officer in a fighting unit throughout WW2. This book tells the first half of his life's story and what a story it is. Like every biography ever written, the best bits are not found at the beginning, so some readers, therefore, might find it slow going at first - though most will not. Then we meet the rich and famous stars of Hollywood from another era and learn a little about each of these people and their various relationships as we move from one to another and sometimes back again.

Written in David Niven's own hilarious style, there is so much humour here that you "will" find yourself insisting others read this book. In fact, it is so funny - especially his descriptions of the wrong use of English words by foreign movie directors, one finishes the book in the knowledge that had David Niven not become an Oscar-winning movie star, he would easily have achieved great success as a writer.

Refreshingly, Niven writes about his fellow personalities from that golden age of the Hollywood of yester-year with charming frankness. Where others might expose drunkenness or sordid behaviour, Niven simply makes us laugh and, in so doing you really do get the feeling that those of whom he speaks would approve.

The underlying theme, of course, is David Niven's life and, as one reviewer has said elsewhere, this book leaves you wishing you had met this man. Me too.

NM
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 July 2000
Format: Paperback
If, as a novelist, you set out to create a fictional character who is sublimely witty and supremely charismatic but who has a lively capability to disregard "acceptable behaviour" then the end product would surely mimic Niven.
Niven's anecdotes and recollection of experiences from early childhood through his schooling and military career had me enthralled and laughing out loud on more than a few occasions. Recalling his Hollywood years in the company of a "Who's Who" of the Silver Screen enlightens the reader perhaps too young to have followed his career at the time.
There is no doubt Niven lived his life to the full. Equally, be in no doubt that he has the skill and humour to write of his experiences and to keep the reader absorbed and cheered.
How I wish I had met David Niven. An aristocrtic "Diamond Geezer" of the highest order!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Feb 2000
Format: Paperback
I found this book hard to put down. This book gives an honest account of a most extraordinary man and his life from childhood to the height of his hollywood career. His meetings with Women of the night and some of the worlds most important political figures. A story of love, hate, tragedy and ill health.One of those "must read" books
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 29 May 2011
Format: Paperback
Are you looking for an excellent read which will make you or someone in your life laugh? Then look no further. The Moon's a Balloon (and "Bring on the Empty Horses!") are two of the funniest and most satisfying books I have ever read.

David Niven was not always a star. He had to go away and learn his trade in "B" movies before being allowed to enter the big time. He learnt that trade so well he eventually won an Oscar. Unlike some who were destined to become greats of Hollywood, he also put his entire acting career on hold whilst he served as an officer in a fighting unit throughout WW2. This book tells the first half of his life's story and what a story it is. Like every biography ever written, the best bits are not found at the beginning, so some readers, therefore, might find it slow going at first - though most will not. Then we meet the rich and famous stars of Hollywood from another era and learn a little about each of these people and their various relationships as we move from one to another and sometimes back again.

Written in David Niven's own hilarious style, there is so much humour here that you "will" find yourself insisting others read this book. In fact, it is so funny - especially his descriptions of the wrong use of English words by foreign movie directors, one finishes the book in the knowledge that had David Niven not become an Oscar-winning movie star, he would easily have achieved great success as a writer.

Refreshingly, Niven writes about his fellow personalities from that golden age of the Hollywood of yester-year with charming frankness. Where others might expose drunkenness or sordid behaviour, Niven simply makes us laugh and, in so doing you really do get the feeling that those of whom he speaks would approve.

The underlying theme, of course, is David Niven's life and, as one reviewer has said elsewhere, this book leaves you wishing you had met this man. Me too.

NM
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Crookedmouth on 6 Oct 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
David Niven started life relatively inauspiciously; having lost his father to the Great War, he was unceremoniously shunted from boarding school to boarding school, gaining a reputation as a bit of a delinquent and suffering somewhat as a result. He eventually earned a commission to a Scotish Regiment in the British Army, but soon discovered a talent for acting. He travelled to Hollywood and, not without difficulty (and the intervention of the Second World War, in which he played an active part) he achieved the stardom he craved.

Despite his image as a genteel upper class Englishman, his first speaking part was as a cockney sailor, uttering the words ''Orl right. I'll be off then.' before being hurled into the street through the window of a brothel. He went on to star in a number of films of note from the inter war and post war periods; "The Prisoner of Zenda", "Dawn Patrol", "Wuthering Heights", Powell & Pressburger's classic A Matter of Life and Death, before winning a Best Actor Oscar for "The Moon is Blue".

Perhaps the whole superstar autobiography has been cheapened over the intervening decades by the "famous for being famous" bio, written a few months after the sleb's first film/eviction from the BB house/second place in Britain's got talent. At least Niven could claim to have earned a notable place in the entertainment industry's history books before sitting down to write about himself. When he did so, he indulged in a fair bit of unapologetic name-dropping, which does become a little repetetive after a while. Perhaps this is why the book does seem to lack a little of the charm for which he was himself noted.

Nevertheless, it sold over five million copies.
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