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Ivanushka (London)

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Pickford: the Woman Who Made Hollywood
Pickford: the Woman Who Made Hollywood
by Eileen Whitfield
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Superb!, 10 Aug. 2006
I read the brilliant Scott Eyman biography of Mary Pickford a few years ago and doubted that any other biography could do as good a job of telling her life story. How wrong I was!

This book is a riveting, and ultimately heart breaking read. From Mary's Dickensian childhood as an overworked child actress fighting to keep her family together, through her rise to become the first global superstar of the 20th century and on to the advent of the talkies, the end of her career and her descent into reclusiveness and alcoholism, the pace never lets up. The reader is left with an image of a woman who was kind, courageous, stubborn, insecure and driven all her life by childhood demons that would ultimately overwhelm her.

A must read for anyone interested in the silent era. Give it a try. You will not be disappointed.


In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences (Essential Penguin)
In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences (Essential Penguin)
by Truman Capote
Edition: Paperback

64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genuine classic, 26 July 2006
This is one of these books that everyone tells you is a classic. Personally speaking, that sort of recommendation always puts me off, but having seen and loved the film "Capote" I thought I should give the book a go and boy, am I glad I did!

The story is a harrowing one, and in the hands of a less skilled writer its telling could have become overwrought. Capote's greatest skill is his ability to keep his emotions in check, avoiding making judgements, just telling the facts as best he can and as a result allowing all of his characters to come to life on the page. The Clutter family are not canonized, but instead shown as real people, all with their own problems, hopes and fears. Smith and Hickock, though never excused by Capote, are shown as three dimensional, flawed human beings rather than two dimensional monsters.

Reading this book was an emotional experience. You are left feeling sad and shocked, yet with a sense of hope. It is a book that will stay with me for a long time and one that truly deserves to be called a classic.


Empress Orchid
Empress Orchid
by Anchee Min
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic on detail, plodding on plot, 30 May 2006
This review is from: Empress Orchid (Paperback)
I had high expectations of this book. The story of the Dragon Empress is such an amazing one that any writer would be hard pushed to make it dull. Or so I thought...

The attention to detail is superb. You really get a sense of what day to life was like in the Forbidden City. The problem is that the detail overwhelms the story. You don't get enough sense of the Empress as a person. Also the book effectively ends just after her rise to power, thus missing out at least half of her life.

Worth a read, but could have been better.


The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution, 1926-1930: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution, 1926-30
The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution, 1926-1930: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution, 1926-30
by Mr. Scott Eyman
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of an amazing era, 4 May 2006
This is fantastic book for anyone remotely interested in the silent screen and the traumatic shift it made into sound. Not only is Eyman excellent on the technical side of things but the book is also full of human interest stories too, particularly the shattering of John Gilbert's career. A first class work and an excellent read.


Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B Mayer
Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B Mayer
by Scott Eyman
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story, well told, 11 April 2006
I read this book on holiday and finished it in only three days. It is packed full of fascinating detail not only on Mayer himself but also on MGM and Hollywood in its golden age. My only slight criticism is that sometimes it does get a little bogged down in anecdotes that slow up the story - something that was the not in the case with Eyman's superb biography of Mary Pickford. Still, a very enjoyable book though. Highly recommended.


Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
by Scott Eyman
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent study of a fascinating life, 8 April 2002
This review is from: Mary Pickford (Hardcover)
Mary Pickford, now largely forgotten, was once the most famous woman in the world and is still, arguably, the most famous woman who ever lived. Eyman's book is a brilliant study not only of her life but of the industry that made her. Non sensationalist but also non sanitised, it paints a portrait of a likeable, admirable but flawed woman, far more complex than the sunny characters she played on screen. Highly recommended!


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