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on 27 January 2014
We live in an age where every Z list celeb writes a ghastly memoir of trite balderdash and calls it an autobiography. Step back a generation and open this book for instant medicine for tired senses. I read this book nearly forty years ago and it had me in convulsions of laughter. Niven is a master story teller, an absolute genius, and he is a splendid writer too, filling every page, it seems, with a new hilarious memory. He mocks himself too, which is always a good sign, and while there are elements of tragedy, which must have been unendurably painful for him, he keeps that private and doesn't descend into bathos or self pity. Rereading the book, with an older, wiser, more cynical pair of eyes, I found myself delighted to reacquaint myself with Niven's madcap life. The story had lost nothing over the intervening decades, and I laughed joyously at so much of it. The story of the Fire Engine at Dover Castle may be just about the summit of hilarity for me, but it is hard to choose a favourite piece: there are just so many. I rather wish that BBC TV could make a series of some of the stories. Anyway, for those who have never read this book, do so. Don't do it near the fire, open windows, stairwells, sharp objects etc etc as you will be convulsed with laughter and may hurt yourself. Brilliant
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on 20 March 2016
This is a book I had always promised myself to read. DN was also one of my favourites and was a good enough reason to watch any film in which he acted; his autobiography does not disappoint either. He shows himself to have been reckless, patriotic (despite living abroad), a hell-raiser and home-maker; someone who was always his own man. His book is sad, laugh-out-loud funny, tragic and never boring. It is an easy five star event and has left me wanting to read even more about him.
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on 15 January 2017
A brilliant brilliant book. I bought it without being a fan of David Nivens movies. Being just under 40 most of his work was done before my time but he seemed like an interesting man. I couldn't have been happier with this book. It's great. No other word for it. Such a fascinating life. Even if you took out the Holywood side it would still be a must read. Upon finishing I bought the follow up straight away and if it's half as good as this I'm in for a treat. Loved this book
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on 26 May 2014
Great autobiography by a true true legend. This book is written by a Hollywood actor who really has a story to tell. When you look at the type of autobiographies written now by C listed so-called stars with 12 minutes in the profession, this is really head and shoulders above their ghost writers efforts. There is clearly more to an actor's career than sleeping with a Page 3 model, appearing in 4 episodes of Eastenders and having a picture in Hello magazine.
Covering his school days, joining the army, fighting in the war, becoming an actor and then starring in some huge films with some brilliant antidotes along the way from Hollywood's golden era. It's not all fun though, there is some tragic tales also recalled.
I recommend this book to everyone.
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on 29 June 2018
I read this circa 1976/77 and revisiting, enjoyed the walk down memory lane even more. So well written. David Niven was such a humble man and yet such a talented entertainer. No wonder he was so well loved. I'm off to download David's second offering of laughter and entertainment: Bring on the Empty Horses!
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on 25 August 2017
I have read this book three times and it never fail to entertain and amuse me. What a great story teller
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on 18 December 2017
This book is charming old Hollywood sad in parts and very funny in parts and you don't really need to know the actor as his life is explained. I did know who he was though
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on 6 March 2018
I read this book when it first came out, and when I found it in my amazon libruary I just had to read it again, the funny things that David Niven got up to was absolutely hilarious, and also at that time I read the novel Bring on the empty horses with David
Niven and Errol Flynn that was even funnier. Two great autobiographies I really enjoyed.
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on 15 October 2015
For anyone who recalls spending long Saturday afternoons watching David Niven films, this book is a gem. It's an entertaining, funny and vibrant account of his life, as recounted by himself. He's a bit of a name-dropper at times,but can be forgiven that since the rest of the book is a fine read. I didn't get bored once, which is more than can be said of my own life story.
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on 13 June 2012
I absolutely love this book.
I read it thirty years ago when my children were little and I wanted a good laugh.
I loved David Niven and he was renounded for his sense of humour.
It felt like he was doing a lot of name dropping(which he was) but who cares I dont doubt that he did meet so many famous people and rubbed shoulders with politicians.
The book harks back to a time when anything was possible,i.e. going off to Hollywood with hardly any money and getting in to acting by chance.
The begging of the book was about his very sad childhood when as a privilidged child he was sent off to boarding school,you could feel how lonely he must have been.He showed his sense of fun from the begging and it made me laugh out loud.
I will keep this book to read over and over again.
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