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Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger Hardcover – Unabridged, 3 Jun 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson; 1 edition (3 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0283070242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0283070242
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,223,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


" No American immigrant' s tale of our time is more extraordinary than that of the man who is not only Mr. Universe Emeritus but also Hollywood' s beloved Terminator, California' s popular Governor, the star Republican of the Kennedy family and the nation' s possible future President: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Charting Arnold' s rise from the backwoods of Austria to the pinnacle of success, Laurence Leamer has written a modern Horatio Alger story that guides us through the hidden rooms of bodybuilding, action movies and finally politics in America in the 21st century. Rich with new interviews and sources, the book illuminates not only Schwarzenegger' s life, but the very process of achieving fame itself. Utterly fascinating, unflinchingly candid and relentlessly readable, "Fantastic" will be the standard by which all other works on Arnold Schwarzenegger are judged." -- Nigel Hamilton, author of "JFK: Reckless Youth""" " Balanced and insightful... a splendid account." -- "The New York Times Book Review" " A serious attempt to present a balanced picture of a man who, despite increasing doubts of Californians, is arguably America' s most popular (and certainly most intriguing) Republican politician." -- "The Economist"""" Provides rich insights into the conditions that have made Schwarzenegger what he seems to be, material that will no doubt form the basis for any subsequent biographies... . Leamer provides extensive details... persuasive." -- "The Washington Post"""" [Leamer] has done a splendid job... his book is fair andbalanced." -- "The New York Sun"""" [A] painstaking biography... Leamer achieves a depth of nuance." -- "The Daily Telegraph" (London) " Delicious... fascinating." -- "People "magazine " An impressive and substantial piece of work... " -- "Sunday Mail" (London) " Absorbing" - "The Sunday Telegraph" (London) " An even - handed assessment of the warrior king." -- "The London Sunday Times" " An exhaustively researched and richly detailed book." -- "The Sacramento Bee" " ["Fantastic"] sorts through the pulp and the fiction on a search for the real Arnold and... finds him... . Leamer skillfully sails between the idolaters and the iconoclasts, heading toward the multitude of readers interested in Arnold' s character and life." -- "Booklist" "" "Leamer is an assiduous researcher, and a master of narrative...FANTASTIC will certainly stand as a serious, fair-minded examination of a paradigm of self-invention, and a man whose success says something serious about America." --"Cox News Service" " Despite the cooperation Mr. Leamer received, his book is not hagiography. All his subject's lowlife moments are presented, from his cruel jokes and harassing sexual overtures to his obsessive narcissism." -- "Wall Street Journal" " Laurence Leamer' s lavish, well-researched rendition of the post-fiction, meta-narrative that is Arnold is an amazing feat." -- "New York Press" " (Leamer) is not starry-eyed about his subject - he really rather likeshim, which makes his objectivity all the more commendable." -- "The Financial Times" " Through Leamer's exceptional access to Schwarzenegger, the reader gains a more complete understanding of who he is. FANTASTIC is a rare opportunity to read a fairly portrayed account of Arnold, replete with entertaining stories and characters." -- "The Weekly Standard"

Book Description

The life of Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most extraordinary success stories of our time. Born in a village in Austria, he became the greatest bodybuilder in history and then the number one movie star in the world. Today he is the Republican husband of a Kennedy princess, and the governor of the greatest of American states. Leamer has had exclusive interviews with Arnold Schwarzenegger and his closest associates, including his Austrian schoolfriends, his mentors, bodybuilding competitors, lifelong friends, first serious girlfriend, political rivals, agents, publicists and producers, many of whom have never been interviewed before. The resulting biography is studded with revelations - from the untold story of his traumatic relationship with his father to how his first mentor, a Jewish partisan in the Second World War helped shape him; from the movie star who tried to ruin his career to why Arnold married Maria Shriver and the startling story of their wedding day; from how Arnold overcame the sordid sexual revelations that marred his campaign for governor of California to the game plan that may bring him to the White House. Insightful, highly entertaining, this book captures the public and private Schwarzenegger, a cultural and political figure unlike any other.

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By Tech 2.0 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really good enjoyable read. I've always been interested in Arnold as a self made man. He literally went form nothing to being in charge of an American state which is a bigger economic power than most countries! From his very humble roots this book takes you through as much of his journey as possible! And regardless of what people think he is simply the best! Bodybuilder/Actor/Politician. Though I doubt now he would be in a position for the presdency of the USA I wouldn't put it past him. Intereste din biographies then read this. Very motivational!
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Format: Hardcover
Arnold has had and continues to have an astonishing life. From a beginning in the obscurity of Austria, a country with little impact on the outside world, Schwarzenegger has conquered everything his has put his mind to, and if were not the for rules on birthplace then this man would doubtless be or have been the US President by now. This book chronicles that journey and is remarkably well researched and well written. Biographies often sell on the basis of the subject alone rather than how well that subject is handled. This one bucks that trend. I could only put it down when my arm got tired!
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Format: Hardcover
While I am possibly shooting myself in the foot by saying so; I will admit to being a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his movies. Thus, it was predominantly the documenting of his movie career that drew me to this book.

You will notice that I have given it 2 stars. The first one goes to the author: because you can't fault him! With every page you read, it is evident that this guy REALLY did his homework surrounding the personal and public life of the Austrian action hero. The second star, I give for the sections of content about his movies. As a movie geek myself, this is what I was most interested in. His rise is again well documented and makes for interesting reading.

However, this book is still far from 'Fantastic'. I haven't read many biographies; but I can say that because it is a 'bio' and not an 'auto-bio', it is often a very dry and quite struggling read. It's just written in such a way that makes it very hard for you to WANT to turn the page. I only read it to the end, just so I could say I had. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have bothered. Especially since the final third of the book is filled to the hilton with political jargon. Yes, I know it's to be expected, because politics is now a big part of his life. But if you're anything like me without any kind of political brain; the last portion of the book will have your mind in a haze.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not dismissing the book completely; but for me, it was a great dissapointment which left me hoping that Arnold's life story will never again see pen and paper.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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