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4.1 out of 5 stars10
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 7 March 2010
Ignore the nonsense written by "A Customer." This is simply the best biography of Noel Coward ever written. The book got rave reviews when first published and it's about time it was reprinted. I thought I knew everything about Coward having read Sheridan Morley's and Cole Lesley's classic accounts, not to mention the Master's autobiographies and diaries and other books, too. But no! Philip Hoare produces masses of new information and his book is beautifully written. Sheridan Morley said this is 'the defintive Coward biography.' He was right.
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on 10 September 2011
Although I have learnt about Noël Coward from his letters and diaries, this is the first biography that I've read. I'm aware that there are others but I was highly impressed with it. This, I believe was Philip Hoare's second book, although I appreciate that since then, he has written several more, and the amount of painstaking research which he has injected into it is admirable. Coward comes across as charming, vitriolic, amusing, egotistical and cruel - as well as very highly talented - and not least, as a predatory homosexual. But that's by-the-by; it's Mr. Hoare's writing which is excellent. My favourite piece in the book is his account of Coward's encounter with Lady Clementi, which led to the hilarious song which Coward composed in her honour.
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on 30 May 2008
I am puzzled by the rancour of other reviews here. Carefully and comprehensively researched and fluently written, this is without doubt the definitive biography of Coward. It's just a puzzle that it's no longer in print.
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on 19 February 2012
Coward is portrayed as a middle class boy/man, social climber, free loader, sponger with a sycophantic crowd of hangers on to pander to his childish demands, hence he behaves more like the Mistress than the Master!
Hoare writes much about Coward's sexual exploits as well as those of many of his friends. Hardly a page goes by without some reference to whom was sleeping with who, so much so that I was left wondering which was more important, Coward's writing or philandering! Alas in the end the tantrums, bitchiness, attitude and arrogance have the effect that in the end there is little admiration for the man which is a pity as his words still remain a legacy to the English language.
Excellent research marred by trying not to be just a collection of dates and facts, consequently the time scale becomes muddled, a little more attention to detail wouldn't have come amiss. Most of the time Philip Hoare is remote enough from his subject but occasionally he lets his feelings get the better and the words come across as opinionated.
This could well be the definitive book on Coward though I doubt it, but certainly researched in depth and does show what a sexual predator Coward was and also how prolific and speedy his output was - but then he was always a shallow man who thought he was the centre of the universe!
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on 15 June 2016
An in-depth biography covers every aspect of Coward's life. My only criticism would be that it was almost too detailed at times, making it difficult to read for long periods. How many times can you read that Coward crossed the Atlantic in one reading session for example!
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on 30 October 2015
Arrived within given dates. Condition as described. Just started reading this book and think it will be very interesting.
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on 8 June 2015
first class in every respect
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on 20 October 2001
What a disappointment this book is. It has to be one of the worst Coward biographies ever written. The book jumps about too often, many of Coward's great achievements are missed out. There are many better books on Coward on the market.
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on 29 December 2014
Mesmerisingly excellent !!!
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on 25 August 2014
Ok read
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