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Charlie Chaplin and His Times
     

Charlie Chaplin and His Times

4.0 1
by Kenneth S. Lynn
 

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With his trademark bowler hat, baggy trousers, and impertinent mustache, the Little Tramp dazzled audiences and catapulted Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977) to an incendiary degree of fame and international iconography. This astute biography of Chaplin’s life and times delves into his childhood, career, and often controversial relationships with four wives

Overview

With his trademark bowler hat, baggy trousers, and impertinent mustache, the Little Tramp dazzled audiences and catapulted Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977) to an incendiary degree of fame and international iconography. This astute biography of Chaplin’s life and times delves into his childhood, career, and often controversial relationships with four wives and a slew of mistresses to illuminate his elusive genius and cinematic output, as well as his sometimes reprehensible personal behavior.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
With the psychologically penetrating insight that marked his award-winning Hemingway, Lynn probes beneath the mystique of the Little Tramp, the first true worldwide celebrity, whose unmatched comic genius masked a complex, sometimes tragic life. Includes photos.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The life of the movies' first superstar receives comprehensive treatment in this big-shouldered bio from Lynn (Hemingway, etc.). Although it's based largely on secondary sources (earlier Chaplin bios, the published memoirs of people who knew him, press accounts), the book provides a vivid portrait of Chaplin's intensely energetic working habits, his vaguely left-wing politics and his restless (to say the least) personal life, especially his huge appetite for young women. As every Chaplin biographer must, Lynn makes a stab at sorting out Chaplin's early life in Britain, all accounts of which are colored by Chaplin's own self-mythologizing and inconsistent versions. The text picks up momentum and authority with Chaplin's arrival in Hollywood. The book's chief claim to originality is summed up by the second half of its title: in nearly every chapter, Lynn provides quick and evocative sketches of important people or events that affected, or were affected by, Chaplin. These virtual sidebars include passages on the British music halls, Douglas Fairbanks and even Hitler (whom Chaplin parodied in The Great Dictator). Lynn is especially good on the controversies of Chaplin's later career, when problems with the Hays Office (the film industry's semi-official censor) and Communist-hunters in the federal government helped to destroy his career and drive him into exile. Although it lacks the scholarly authority of David Robinson's Chaplin: His Life and Art (1985) and comes rather hard on the heels of Joyce Milton's fine Tramp (1996), Lynn's book is a splendid popular biography, witty, engaging and informative. Photos. (Mar.)
Library Journal
On the heels of Joyce Milton's excellent Tramp (LJ 5/1/96) comes a second critical biography of film's greatest comic. Lynn (Hemingway, Harvard Univ., 1995) deftly interweaves Chaplin's life with the events and personalities of his era, including British music hall impresario Fred Karno, silent screen star and pal Douglas Fairbanks, numerous lovers and wives, brother Sydney, and Adolf Hitler. Lynn has done meticulous research, consulting census and asylum records to evaluate Chaplin's relationship with his increasingly schizophrenic mother. Through London maps and late 19th-century sociological studies, he detects a lower-rung but not entirely poverty-stricken Chaplin childhood; other dissimulations found in Chaplin's My Autobiography (LJ 10/15/64) are explained as well. Lynn addresses his subject's leftist views and makes sense of the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigations of 1947 that led to Chaplin's European exile until 1973. All a biography should be, this is enthusiastically recommended.-Kim R. Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, Pa.
Chicago Tribune
A comprehensive biography of the famous entertainer.
The New York Times Book Review
According to this huge warts-and-all biography, the entertainer was driven by a never-fulfilled fantasy that he could rescue his mother form madness through his success. The result is an " often fascinating, prodigiously researched book."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476783352
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
02/01/2014
Pages:
632
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.80(d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth S. Lynn (1923-2001) served as a professor at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard. His other books include Mark Twain and Southwestern Humor and his Los Angeles Times Book Award-winning biograpny Hemingway.

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Charlie Chaplin and His Times 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Kyle_Hanss_Martin_VII More than 1 year ago
A thoroughly researched biography of Chaplin. Though a bit tedious at times with a sociological perspective that enables the title of this work to include "and his times", this tediousness becomes forgivable when describing Chaplin's relationships with other actors as well as lovers. An excellent and well-done biography.