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All of Me: My Extraordinary Life Hardcover – 21 Sep 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 449 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; 1st edition (21 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747270074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747270072
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 507,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

I always felt I was more than just a busty blonde with a giggle and a wiggle.

Barbara Windsor is forever enshrined in the national psyche as a cheeky Cockney, the blonde bombshell star of that quintessentially British creation, the Carry On film. Windsor's career in showbusiness has spanned an incredible 50 years--from her first appearance in pantomime at the age of 12, to soap-star matriarch behind the bar at the Queen Vic in Eastenders.

Windsor (born Barbara Deeks; the name-change came in 1952, Coronation year, and was "particularly apt") grew up torn between her rowing parents who nevertheless instilled in her a passion for film-going. Aware that her looks and cheeky air would get her work, Windsor secretly deplored being eternally typecast as a "bimbo in white stilettos" and saw herself instead as a "theatre comedy actress". Her comic talent and sheer capacity for hard work led her, after years of damp dressing rooms and end-of-the-pier shows, to an enduring status as an icon of sorts, her ultimate accolade being made an OBE in 2000.

Yet Windsor is almost as famous for her private life as she is for her public achievements, and she is exceptionally candid about her affairs--most notoriously with fellow Carry On star Sid James, though there was an occasion over some salt-beef sandwiches with jazzman Ronnie Scott ("I felt he had taken me on more for my bosom than for my singing"). There were also her abortions, her friendships with some of the biggest stars of the 60s--Kenneth Williams and she were so close that he came on her honeymoon--and she has always held a rather dubious affection for the Krays. Her first husband, Ronnie Knight, became Britain's most wanted man after his involvement in a robbery, her second sold his story to the tabloids after their marriage ended; she has recently married her third husband after a turbulent relationship. "I'd always been a grafter, not a whinger; always got out there and done it when the chips were down", writes Windsor and we never expect anything less of her.

The enjoyable and slightly scandalous All of Me is written in the best British tradition of self-deprecation, hard work, laughter and tears--with a touch of sauciness thrown in. Just like a Carry On film, in fact. --Kate Weaver

Review

A whopping, no-holds-barred rollercoaster of a book ...This is the best showbiz memoir for years (Mail on Sunday)

'A whopping, no-holds-barred rollercoaster of a book...This is the best showbiz memoir for years' Mail on Sunday

By living up to its title alone it makes a nonsense of every other showbiz bleat 'n' brag ever put to paper (Julie Burchill)

'By living up to its title alone it makes a nonsense of every other showbiz bleat 'n' brag ever put to paper' Julie Burchill

Infinitely more interesting than the sentimental schmaltz we have read about her before (Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph)

'Infinitely more interesting than the sentimental schmaltz we have read about her before' Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph

'Racy' Express

'big and bouncy' Sunday Telegraph

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose five star because this lady wrote a book that I didn't want to put down, I feel sad I've finished it now. I believe from reading this book that Sid James truly loved Barbara, that Barbara would have been a brilliantly mum and a fantastic older sister, I wish she was my older sister.
I hope she and Scott have many, many more happy years together and since this book I know she's been awarded even more tributes and I believe she is dame Barbara Windsor.
Thank you Barbara for writing this book I'd love to read how everything has worked out since and God bless you
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Format: Paperback
I am an American (and not a very old one at that) so I never saw the "Carry On" films. I first "met" Barbara Windsor when she toddled onto the screen as the second Peggy Mitchell on EastEnders. Hearing her referred to as a national treasure by many EE fans I thought that I would give the book a go. I'm not sorry that I did.
Overall, it was well-written in a colloquial way, however I wish that her editor had cleaned up a few things from spelling ("OK" for "okay") to facts (contrary to Miss Windsor's belief, there actually have been 2 full-scale wars fought on American soil - the Revolutionary War and the Civil War). Whatever weaknesses the book has, she seems likable and tells an interesting story.
Because I never saw her as the big breasted "Carry On" girl, I had no preconceived notions about who or what she is. I was ready to accept her at her word. From her unhappy, often unstable, childhood through her many abortions, affairs, and marriages she comes alive through the pages. She relays her life's experiences with a great deal of enthusiasm and wit, albeit with too much naivete to be believed. (If she really had no idea that Ronnie Knight was a gangster, how come she had Freddie Foreman's home phone number?) She seems to be attempting painful honesty about some things (abortions, affairs) yet glosses over other events (Knight's source of income, why she allowed her affair with Sid to continue.)
I have read several other television autobiographies (Martine McCutcheon's and Mike Reid's come to mind) and Miss Windsor seems to have put in the most effort to recall details and express herself clearly. If there are things that she chooses to fudge . . . well, they don't harm the book that much. And having liked her before, I like her better now for having read it.
Doing so was a quick, easy, interesting way to pass beach hours.
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By A Customer on 4 July 2001
Format: Paperback
Whilst promoted as a no holds bar autobiography, I came away with the distinct feeling that Miss Windsor has been fairly selective on content. Except for one sentence towards the end of the book there is no reflection on the unusual number of terminated pregnancies. Perhaps, after all, we don't have a right to look into another's soul. Having said that however, Miss Windsor can do little wrong in my eyes. I found the book "unputdownable"!
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Format: Hardcover
This was a surprising Christmas gift but without question my favourite. This book tells of a ladies wonderful Highs in life, but very truthfully and explicitly of her Downs. A fascinating read and very difficult to put down once I began with it.Would recommend it to anyone and everyone.I would love to have this lady as a friend.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book to take on holiday. I had a peek beforehand and was hooked - unfortunately I was halfway through it before I left Gatwick. You cannot help but admire Windsor for her strength and determination to succeed she is frank and honest, never claiming to be holier than thou. If the truth be known what woman wouldn't secretly admire her but choose instead to stay at home and mop the kitchen floor. Barbara Winsor is her own person - you take her or leave her and she will do the same. She doesn't come across as an offensive person,though I'm sure there are those who could find this book a little offensive (so wake up and smell the coffee). Coming from the East End of London myself I can relate to certain places that are mentioned and Barbara Winsor has managed to convey the atmospshere perfectly. I loved this book, it has become part of a holiday memory.
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By A Customer on 29 Dec. 2000
Format: Hardcover
I received "All of Me" in my Christmas stocking because I am a big Carry-on fan. I was naturally taken back by the vulgar pink book cover. Once reading however, I could not put it down. She has had a brilliant career spanning 40 years and she tells many interesting stories about the plays and films in which she appeared. She is very open and honest, especially about her love life and reveals many scandalous liaisons! It is hard not to grow very fond of her as you read the book and I will never look at her on Eastenders in the same way again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bab's has written a great and straight to the point book. Outlining some tragic moments in her life but many more where she has overcome tragedy, and heart ache turning it all around with a positive and onward look at life. An excellent book I purchased initially for my wife, then read myself. Thanks Bab's for sharing personal details with your loyal followers. Enjoy yourself, and I recommend this book to all. Following Barbara's stance in Life will give that confidence also to so many others. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was expecting a lot about her early years, and there was, but I was surprised by how much of the book concentrated on her Eastenders career. I think there could have been more about her time in the 50's and 60s but the book was still a great read.
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