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4.7 out of 5 stars
90
4.7 out of 5 stars
My Autobiography (Penguin Modern Classics)
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 10 October 2015
So much that I did not know about Charlie Chaplin. Despite the demise of silent films, of which he produced a phenomenal amount, he was truly successful from humble beginnings to meeting and befriending politicians, royalty as well as well known film and entertainment personalities. A good insight into the world in the early 20th century too.
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on 8 August 2016
Its great to read more about probably the greatest artist of the early 1900s. He made 82 films in black and white as well as with sound - managing the transition into the 'talkies'. its interesting to hear from his perspective about his childhood and later his fame as well. He seems to have omitted certain important characters (eg his wives) from the narrative and only glosses over them in a few sentences. Towards the middle of the book, it feels a bit repetitive at times when he describes yet another dinner or meeting with a famous person. Great insight into his life though and his character and how he thought.
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on 24 March 2012
This was the second time that I have read this book. Being brought up by parents who were a generation older than the norm, I was brought up watching Chaplin movies and so am a huge fan of his work. I bought my mother a copy of the paperback edition of this book as a birthday gift a few years before she died, and found it while clearing out her house, which is when I read it for the first time. I am not sure what happened to that original, but was inspired to download and read it for the second time following a visit to see The Artist.

Considering that this book was written when Chaplin was in his mid 70's (and unlike modern celebrity memoirs, he did indeed write this all himself) it is an astonishing feat of memory. As such it covers the period from his birth to the mid 1950's around the era of Limelight and Monsieur Verdoux, two of his most successful films, and his fall from grace in the United States, where he was accused of being a Communist sympathiser.

It is all in here, from his humble beginnings in Lambeth and Kennington and the grinding poverty that led his mother to repeated bouts of insanity, and his meteoric rise to fame. Despite his reputation as a womaniser, Chaplin is relatively coy about his love life, with little information on his four marriages - mostly it has to be said, to protect the elder of his many children.

Despite his rise to fame and incredible wealth, Chaplin never forgot his beginnings, and the things that matter. The book reveals an astute mind and understanding of what I would term humanist principles.

It is true what they say that films are not made the way they used to be, and I for one would welcome a revival of silent movies and this expressive form of acting and entertaining, where action reigns supreme and the true meaning is lost in words that act as mere symbols for what we feel.

To write a comprehensive review of this book would be a tome in itself, but suffice to say that this is a well written and exceedingly readable book, which makes a refreshing change from the egocentric modern celebrity tell-all memoirs. These so-called celebrities and indeed actors, could learn a lot from this man were he still alive.
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on 9 February 2016
This is one of the most enjoyable books I've read in a while. It reads like a novel and you can really hear Chaplin's voice throughout.
It's very honest and humble and gives you a real insight into this pioneer of cinema.
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on 25 May 2017
This book puts into perspective the reality of true talent and genius, especially when compared with the modern fashion for so many self proclaimed celebrities to produce several autobiographies before they have achieved very much at all.
From the early struggles caused by extreme poverty in London to fame, wealth and stardom worldwide, before eventual rejection in America, the story is very well told.
It ends with the release of his film Limelight which was the first film I was ever taken to see. Little did I know, or would have understood then, how much Charlie Chaplin had done on the film. Not only did he write it, direct it, and star in it, but he also wrote the music for it. Can anybody else match that? Ever?
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on 22 September 2016
A good read, especially his childhood years. Lots of name dropping after that, I did skim quite a few pages later on.
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on 20 May 2017
This is a very good read , source of information about Charlie Chaplin. The real man really comes through in his own words
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on 26 July 2017
I thought it was absolutely brilliant, great to learn about his poor workhouse background and how he became the rich and famous man everyone knows. One of the best autobiographies I have read.
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on 27 December 2016
What an amazing book. Eloquently and articulately written. Which is what I would expect from such a great and clever man! Just wonderful.
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on 18 July 2017
An enlightning autobiography.
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