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The Pythons' Autobiography By The Pythons (Monty Python) [Hardcover]

Michael Palin , Terry Jones , Terry Gilliam , Eric Idle , John Cleese , Graham Chapman , Bob McCabe
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Sep 2003 Monty Python

For the first time all surviving Pythons have agreed to create the definitive story of Monty Python's Flying Circus and the 'genius' who created it.

Over thirty years ago, a group of five Englishmen - and one wayward American - rewrote the rules of comedy. Monty Python's Flying Circus, an unheralded, previously unseen half-hour show of sketches, hilarities, inanities and animations, first appeared on the BBC late one night in 1969. Its impact has been felt on the world ever since. From its humble beginnings, it blossomed into the most influential movement in modern comedy.

THE PYTHONS' AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE PYTHONS is a unique look at arguably the most important comic team of the modern age, lavishly illustrated with 1000 photographs, many culled from the team's own personal collections, many more seen for the first time. This is the definitive word on all things Pythonesque.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (15 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752852930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752852935
  • Product Dimensions: 3.7 x 26.1 x 32.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

That The Pythons by the Pythons is going to be an absolute treat is evident even from the book's blurb. The six men behind Monty Python's Flying Circus--the most influential of all British TV satires--are actually four Englishmen, one Welshman and an interloping American, and it's largely in the words of John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam that we're told about the fractious process through which one of the great glories of British TV and film came into being.

Yes, Graham Chapman is here too, although sadly he died some years ago. The acerbic Chapman would have loved the frequent irreverent references to the fact that now he's dead. But nobody is spared in the hilarious introduction: its unsparing analyses of the post-Python careers of the participants would have most showbusiness types phoning their lawyers. But that's just one of the many joys in this chunky, arm-straining celebration of the glorious and surrealistic humour of the Monty Python team. Bob McCabe, the man who managed to corral the unruly members of the team here, has helped create this marvellous tome. It functions as a history of a well-loved comedy phenomenon, a biography of six extremely talented men and also a really eye-catching object: the book's design utilises the unmistakable animation style, created by Terry Gilliam, that was so much a part of the TV series and films. The iconoclastic attitude to the participants is perfect, but who would have accepted anything less from social critics as deadly as the Python team?

In fact, the revelation here that they were often at each others' throats suggests that inter-Python conflict may have been the catalyst that produced their inimitable humour. The only problem with The Pythons by the Pythons is resisting the temptation to read it at a sitting. --Barry Forshaw


This is indeed Holy Writ for Python fanatics (Roger Lewis The Spectator)

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Michael would have been the first Python I ever met, although I didn't know it at the time. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TRUE MUST!!! 10 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This is by far the best book ever written about monty python. Even if you haven't seen everything they did or even you are a die hard fan (like me) here is every detail anyone could want to know. You need hours, weeks, months to see all the pictures and read everything. You can find out everything about their lives, the situation in british comedy in the sixties, how they met, the extremely detailed story of the flying circus, all the movies, the books, the albums and an enormous amount of unseen fhotos. A true achivement. Nothing less could satisfy the fans of those geniouses who made us laugh, made us think, made us better people, gave us great memories and now finaly... talk about it.
Thank you John,Eric,Graham,Terry,Michael and Terry.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I found this is my stocking! 25 Dec 2003
First of all merry xmas to everyone!!
I was so deliriously excited when i opened my stocking to find this i couldn't put it down for 3 hours!As a result i didnt open my other presents.The only reason i put it down was to go to sleep,well it was 4a.m..
This is a must have for any python fan.Or any fan of comedy.
It chronicles all the of the pythons childhood and beginings in showbusiness.There are many,many pages dedicated to the tv shows and the movies.I have managed to get through the first half of it and i love it.And as for the weight of the book above stated.Yes it is a heavy book but that is because it is crammed full of a thousand never seen before pictures!In full glossyness.
overall this is a must buy!I am no going to finish the rest!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable and unpickupable! 27 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The first thing I should warn potential buyers about is the size and weight of this book if you buy the hardcover edition. I did not realise that something weighing marginally less than a slab of marble would eventually be trying to make its way through my letterbox. The hardcover edition of this book is for only the sturdiest of bookshelves and the beefiest of arms. In short; it is not a tome to be read in the bath.

However, once you have decided whether or not obscenely large books are for you, I would definitely recommend this one. It is one of the more interesting books about the Pythons because it is actually written by them; hence the title. All of the Python's, bar Graham as he is conveniently dead, have written a few pages about their childhood and first forays into comedy, culminating in the formation of Monty Python. I found it incredibly fascinating to learn about the different backgrounds they each came from and the circumstances which eventually brought them all together.

In between the mini autobiographies are lusciously printed photographs spanning their entire career; taken on their film sets and various live performances among other locations. They really help to bring alive the Python's descriptions of their experiences of making their TV show and subsequent films and live tours. This book is perfect for the fair weather and the hardcore Monty Python fans alike.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooray! 5 July 2004
As an eighteen year old python fan, any substantial and comprehensive Python stuff is quite difficult to come by as it all seems to have been made and released before I was born. You see where my problem lies. Anyway, this book certainly compensates for my lack of Monty Python things. It is a very big book. That's one thing to be said for it, it is also very interesting. All the team are interviewed here and it gives a very thorough insight into how they came together, making the TV shows (of which I have seen very little! Release the TV series on DVD in the UK!! I can't understand why it's been released in North America and not over here!) also into making the fantastic films and beyond...
It was good to find out all this information because I learnt a lot that I didn't know already. This certainly isn't a cynical release, unlike the recent re-release of The Holy Grail and Life of Brian on DVD with no new special features just different packaging (why?) This book will be of genuine interest to any python fan, no matter how much or how little they feel they actually know. As someone who admittedly knows little, it only made me want to find out more.
It suprises me how badly Python is served in terms of'mercandise' these days. Obviously a few years ago there was more, but it was so influential, you'd think there would be more...maybe because it was only a cult thing...I don't know...Anyway, this book is extremely valuable to anyone who loves the show, the films etc. I really would recommend it. You find out how the group worked, the inner tensions, and basically what it was like to be part of the funniest thing in the history of things.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Python, in definitive terms. 26 Dec 2003
This book is fantastically written providing personal perspectives - biography, insights in to how the TV series and films were shot and the ideas developed, and the issues that came up - including mentions of the famous interview with the Bishop of Southwark and Malcolm Muggeridge where they discuss Life of Brian.
All this in a huge, beautifully illustrated book. A must have for any Python fan.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light Entertainment - Heavy Book! 15 April 2004
Considering I wasn't even born when most of this was dreamed up is testament to the influence these guys have had on popular culture. This is at times a dip into the past, with diary entries from Terry J and Michael, but is mainly the story of Python told by those who knew him... as it were. What comes is out is not just the fractious nature of the relationship between the members, but more amusingly the way in which some stories are recounted in 5 or 6 different ways, each remembering it differently to the others. The author has crafted some great confusion from the interviews he recorded.
It is certainly not bedtime reading. Not because of the material, but because the book is laughably heavy. Definitely not possible to be carried by swallows, African or European, even on a piece of string.
Blessed are the Cheesemakers!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Say No More!
The problem with this book is that it's really fragmented, you get one Python for half a page, then another for the other half, than another, then another and sometimes they're all... Read more
Published on 17 July 2010 by Duluoz Lautrec
3.0 out of 5 stars Half the Meat
My problem with this book is you get the lowdown on intergroup politics and business wranglings, production technicalities etc but very little colourful anecdotal material about... Read more
Published on 15 Jan 2008 by Mr Clag
1.0 out of 5 stars Wish It Was Something Completely Different!!!
Well this was the first Autobiography I have read, and I didn't like it. Maybe autobiographies are not my type of book but for me this book was VERY boring. Read more
Published on 10 Nov 2006 by Stephen Winter
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you mean to tell me coconuts migrate?
The shear volume of material in this book is enough to keep one entertained for hours. I am also among the breed of younger python fans and have found this book incredibly... Read more
Published on 23 July 2004 by Ms. P. V. Young
2.0 out of 5 stars A little content spread over a large book
This is the latest in a series of (some might say money-spinning) Python books. It is a large-format hardback volume, perhaps modelled on the recent Beatles and Rolling Stones... Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2004 by Phil Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ripping Yarn!
A must for all Pythonites as the team tell all in their own words. Particularly strong on early Python history and their feelings for each other. Read more
Published on 18 Sep 2003 by Mr. Neil R. J. Saint
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