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HANK AND JIM

THE FIFTY-YEAR FRIENDSHIP OF HENRY FONDA AND JAMES STEWART

An entertaining, richly documented biography that will be appreciated by film and theater scholars as well as fans of these...

A dual biography tracing the careers and 50-year friendship of two iconic American actors.

In his engrossing new book, biographer and film historian Eyman (John Wayne: The Life and Legend, 2014, etc.) vividly portrays the lives and work of two Hollywood legends: Henry Fonda (1905-1982) and James Stewart (1908-1997). As young actors, they worked together in regional theater with the University Players and eventually became roommates in New York. Upon moving to Hollywood, their individual careers took off, and their friendship continued to endure over the next several decades. Aside from political differences—Fonda was a Democrat, Stewart a Republican—they shared interests, core values, and personality traits that would distinguish them from many actors, including a highly disciplined approach to their work and an aversion to the superficial trappings of celebrity. “They were two loners who went off to see the world and remade component parts of it into their own images,” writes the author, “two fiercely private men who were quite capable of confounding their own families….In their friendship they created a safe place for themselves, away from the fears and frustrations of their careers, their domestic problems, the responsibilities of their legendary status.” While their long-standing friendship is notable, in tracing their personal lives and accomplishments, Eyman’s narrative is even more compelling. He provides a fascinating overview of the industry and the ebbs and flows of his subjects’ careers in film, on stage, and eventually TV (Fonda ultimately felt more at home on stage, while Stewart preferred working on film. Additionally, the author offers in-depth portrayals of key industry players who would remain their close associates, including writer/director Josh Logan, agent/producer Leland Hayward, and Fonda’s first wife, Margaret Sullavan, the talented, somewhat troubled actress for whom both actors shared a lasting, deep affection until her death. Of further note were their individual military achievements in World War II, experiences that greatly influenced their lives and values throughout their remaining years.

An entertaining, richly documented biography that will be appreciated by film and theater scholars as well as fans of these memorable actors.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-0217-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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