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The Ragman's Son
     

The Ragman's Son

4.5 2
by Kirk Douglas
 

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Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, the son of an illiterate immigrant Russian-Jewish ragpicker and junkman, Kirk Douglas makes clear in this powerful, angry, and passionate book the ways in which his difficult childhood dominated his life as an actor, father, and man. 16 pages of photographs.

Overview

Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, the son of an illiterate immigrant Russian-Jewish ragpicker and junkman, Kirk Douglas makes clear in this powerful, angry, and passionate book the ways in which his difficult childhood dominated his life as an actor, father, and man. 16 pages of photographs.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Recalling a breakfast at the White House, Douglas marvels that a ragman's son is invited to eat scrambled eggs with the President, himself a Georgia farmer. Only in Americaor so this celebrity would have it, endlessly extolling his love of country as he recounts his government-sponsored goodwill missions around the world. Still, one can't fault him for his cloying patriotismhe is by no means a reactionaryor for pride in his achievements, this child of unlettered Jewish-Russian immigrants, the only son among seven offspring, raised in grueling poverty in upstate New York, who supported himself through college and acting school, became a considerable star and a millionaire. The most affecting memories here are of those early years and the son's relationship with the father, a heavy drinker and violent man; the most tedious, an extensive recap, seemingly requisite in show-biz bios, of sexual affairs. ``I am very often attracted to women who have a slight overbite,'' he writesand there are many such, alas for bored readers. Twice married, once divorced, the father of four sons, the author, 71 years old, felt intimations of mortality following a heart seizure, which became for him an occasion to assess his life, to balance the books on Issur Danielovitch, known in boyhood as Izzy Demsky, in celebrity as Kirk Douglas. Authentic, revealing, unself-conscious and self-centered, his performance here is a star turn. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Good Housekeeping. (August)
Library Journal
It seems that all it takes these days to have one's life recorded in print is that ``15 minutes'' of fame Andy Warhol spoke about. So it's all the more refreshing when not one but two excellent examples of the celebrity bio turn up at the same time and on subjects who have attained real and lasting fameDouglas and Katherine Hepburn. Douglas has written a candid and warm autobiography that shows a man who has never forgotten where he came from nor ceased to be grateful for what he has attained. The son of a Jewish immigrant, Douglas fought brutal poverty and prejudice to make his own way through college and into acting. His book is full of wonderful celebrity anecdotes and insider's details on a Hollywood that has now disappeared. More importantly, Douglas shares surprising vulnerability and insight, which belie his hard-jawed image. Much has already been written about Hepburn, but what sets Andersen's biography apart is that she is only a featured player in the story of her childhood: Her parents are the stars. In fact, Hepburn herself asserts that compared to her mother and father she is dull. Her mother was an early feminist and a cofounder of Planned Parenthood and the League of Women Voters, her father a pioneering physician in the field of venereal disease. Hepburn herself cooperated on this book and her quotes are interspersed. Two of the finest of their genre this year. Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Lib., Seaside, Cal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671637170
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
08/01/1988
Pages:
512

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The Ragman's Son 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Debbiesjm More than 1 year ago
I have read many Celeb. bio's and found this one to be really good reading. I am not a huge Kirk Douglas fan, but this book was well written and very reflective on a life in the old Studio structure. A good read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago