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Are you looking for an excellent read which will make you or someone in your life laugh? Then look no further. The Moon's a Balloon (and "Bring on the Empty Horses!") are two of the funniest and most satisfying books I have ever read.

David Niven was not always a star. He had to go away and learn his trade in "B" movies before being allowed to enter the big time. He learnt that trade so well he eventually won an Oscar. Unlike some who were destined to become greats of Hollywood, he also put his entire acting career on hold whilst he served as an officer in a fighting unit throughout WW2. This book tells the first half of his life's story and what a story it is. Like every biography ever written, the best bits are not found at the beginning, so some readers, therefore, might find it slow going at first - though most will not. Then we meet the rich and famous stars of Hollywood from another era and learn a little about each of these people and their various relationships as we move from one to another and sometimes back again.

Written in David Niven's own hilarious style, there is so much humour here that you "will" find yourself insisting others read this book. In fact, it is so funny - especially his descriptions of the wrong use of English words by foreign movie directors, one finishes the book in the knowledge that had David Niven not become an Oscar-winning movie star, he would easily have achieved great success as a writer.

Refreshingly, Niven writes about his fellow personalities from that golden age of the Hollywood of yester-year with charming frankness. Where others might expose drunkenness or sordid behaviour, Niven simply makes us laugh and, in so doing you really do get the feeling that those of whom he speaks would approve.

The underlying theme, of course, is David Niven's life and, as one reviewer has said elsewhere, this book leaves you wishing you had met this man. Me too.

NM
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on 5 July 2000
If, as a novelist, you set out to create a fictional character who is sublimely witty and supremely charismatic but who has a lively capability to disregard "acceptable behaviour" then the end product would surely mimic Niven.
Niven's anecdotes and recollection of experiences from early childhood through his schooling and military career had me enthralled and laughing out loud on more than a few occasions. Recalling his Hollywood years in the company of a "Who's Who" of the Silver Screen enlightens the reader perhaps too young to have followed his career at the time.
There is no doubt Niven lived his life to the full. Equally, be in no doubt that he has the skill and humour to write of his experiences and to keep the reader absorbed and cheered.
How I wish I had met David Niven. An aristocrtic "Diamond Geezer" of the highest order!
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on 9 February 2000
I found this book hard to put down. This book gives an honest account of a most extraordinary man and his life from childhood to the height of his hollywood career. His meetings with Women of the night and some of the worlds most important political figures. A story of love, hate, tragedy and ill health.One of those "must read" books
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on 5 December 2000
Hugely enjoyable, funny, moving and painfully honest.
Probably the finest autobiography I have read. A must read. Would make an excellent present for almost anyone.
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on 17 February 2011
This, as widely described, is a very engaging, very human biography. The book is fully reviewed elsewhere. This is a review of the Kindle version, and how disappointing that the publishers are prepared to put forward an edition for which they would be disowned by their mothers, had it been published on paper. The proof reading is terrible, inexcusable. Footnotes appear at the end of each chapter but you cannot flick to them and back to text. It's very sloppy. I'm not saying don't read it - please do, it's great, but buy the paperback (cheaper, of course, because of VAT), or be prepared to be very, very tolerant. I find reading a Kindle very easy and enjoyable, but I resent paying top wack for sloppiness. I feel insulted.
0Comment| 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Are you looking for an excellent read which will make you or someone in your life laugh? Then look no further. The Moon's a Balloon (and "Bring on the Empty Horses!") are two of the funniest and most satisfying books I have ever read.

David Niven was not always a star. He had to go away and learn his trade in "B" movies before being allowed to enter the big time. He learnt that trade so well he eventually won an Oscar. Unlike some who were destined to become greats of Hollywood, he also put his entire acting career on hold whilst he served as an officer in a fighting unit throughout WW2. This book tells the first half of his life's story and what a story it is. Like every biography ever written, the best bits are not found at the beginning, so some readers, therefore, might find it slow going at first - though most will not. Then we meet the rich and famous stars of Hollywood from another era and learn a little about each of these people and their various relationships as we move from one to another and sometimes back again.

Written in David Niven's own hilarious style, there is so much humour here that you "will" find yourself insisting others read this book. In fact, it is so funny - especially his descriptions of the wrong use of English words by foreign movie directors, one finishes the book in the knowledge that had David Niven not become an Oscar-winning movie star, he would easily have achieved great success as a writer.

Refreshingly, Niven writes about his fellow personalities from that golden age of the Hollywood of yester-year with charming frankness. Where others might expose drunkenness or sordid behaviour, Niven simply makes us laugh and, in so doing you really do get the feeling that those of whom he speaks would approve.

The underlying theme, of course, is David Niven's life and, as one reviewer has said elsewhere, this book leaves you wishing you had met this man. Me too.

NM
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on 8 February 2007
I picked this up to read on the train when I first started work and was the first biography I read. That was over fifteen years ago and I still remember much of this book. David Niven takes you through the highs and lows of his life. You are taken on a journey from the early twentieth century through his school years to Hollywood, back home to serve his country in the second world war, to the changing times of the sixties. There are real highs and a devastating blow that you would not want to experience in your own life. This book covers a span of time and experience that current biographies (Jade/Chantelle etc etc) cannot match as none of these chancers have experienced anything yet!
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on 28 November 2016
An entertaining and genuinely honest book with much wit and humour. Certainly giving information on actors and stars not known previously. Interesting information of David's time in the Army espevially when drafted to serve in Malta. Well worth purchasing and so much good humour and information about film stars and their lifestyles.
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on 7 May 2004
I wasnt really interested in this book originally, my father had implored me to read it for the last 4 years however i havent seen any films with niven in and really wasnt interested. eventually i did decide that i may as well read it becuase i had some free time.
I found it initially hard to get into but i perservered and when i got into his hilarious stories about school i was hooked, i couldnt put it down. although i knew nothing about the man or his films i found his entry to hollywood fasinating and was intregued about his relationship with a prostitute.
i am now a die hard fan, i have watched many of his films and am discovering new actors like william powell and carole lobard. His humour and self-depricating descirption were wonderful, i would go as far to say that this man should have wrote books professionally, he is better than many writers today.
i would recomend this book to anyone with our without an interest in hollywood.
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on 31 August 2006
I first read this book when I was about 14 & try to read it at least once every couple of years. Its laugh out loud funny, touching & charming. From the moment I first read this wonderful book I fell in love with this true gentleman & only wish I could have spent just one hour in his company.

Everyone must read it at least once & find out what it means to have real class.
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