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What Makes Sammy Run?

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,035 ratings  ·  120 reviews
What Makes Sammy Run?

Everyone of us knows someone who runs. He is one of the symp-toms of our times—from the little man who shoves you out of the way on the street to the go-getter who shoves you out of a job in the office to the Fuehrer who shoves you out of the world. And all of us have stopped to wonder, at some time or another, what it is that makes these people tick.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2002 by Random House (first published 1941)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Book Circle Reads 82

Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Everyone of us knows someone who runs. He is one of the symptoms of our times—from the little man who shoves you out of the way on the street to the go-getter who shoves you out of a job in the office to the Fuehrer who shoves you out of the world. And all of us have stopped to wonder, at some time or another, what it is that makes these people tick. What makes them run?

This is the question Schulberg has asked himself, and the answer is
Aug 27, 2015 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hollywood heels, blacklisted writers, authors who get in brawls with John Wayne
You might think a book written in 1941 about Hollywood would be too dated to be of interesting to anyone but Hollywood historians. Wrong, baby, wrong! This modern classic is a must-read for anyone who is fascinated by Hollywood, or interested in character studies of incredibly compelling anti-heroes. In the 21st century, What Makes Sammy Run? is essentially a historical novel, but it's still a damn fine character-driven story, and let's face it, Hollywood is still crawling with Sammy Glicks.

Ben Loory
a book about an asshole, narrated by a dickhead.
Plans to film “What Makes Sammy Run?” have been bandied around for decades, but the movie has already been made more or less via another Budd Schulberg story, “A Face In The Crowd”, i.e. boy-meets-girl as casualties of an arrogant, greedy media climbing monster. Anyone who has enjoyed films like “The Player”, “The Bad And The Beautiful” or “Barton Fink” will have a great time reading this, and Schulberg never runs out of great dialogue.

Richard Knight
A criticism not only of Hollywood moguls but also of ruthless ambition, What Makes Sammy Run? is a landmark work from the 40s that turned out to be hauntingly prescient. Sammy's stab you in the back to ahead mentality represents America, and this book makes for an interesting Hollywood story that is relatable in every aspect of modern day business. You may even have a Sammy Glick in your life, which is scary to say the very least.

The story centers on the aforementioned Glick, and it's told from
Thomas J. Hubschman
Good stuff. Great perennial American character, like Gatsby.

A good example, though, of what Pritchett said about psychology being reduced to motivation in contemporary literature. The narrator is obsessed with finding out, well, what makes Sammy run--and run over so many people as he does so.

I admire Schulberg if for no other reason than his old-fashioned attitude that there is more to write about than one's own ethnic group. Waterfront (the novel) could have been written by an Irish-Catholic f
Jon Boorstin
He knows whereof he speaks. It's remarkable that he had the perspective to write this book as a young man, having grown up at the center of power in Hollywood. A smart and empathetic assessment of the state of the business he was steeped in from birth. Movies aren't the center of the culture, as they were then, before television, much less the web. If the Sammy Glicks of the world are now hustling Apps, only the details have changed.

Andrei Alupului
"A grand book, utterly fearless and with a great deal of beauty side by side with the most bitter satire." Right on, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
What Makes Sammy Run tells the story of Sammy Glick, a man with boundless ambition and no morals to stand in his way. It is told from the point of view of Al Manheim, who watches Sammy's meteoric rise with anger, jealousy and awe. It has come to be one of the classic "Hollywood Novels" portraying Hollywood at its worst and most truthful, and as someone who works and lives in Hollywood, a lot of what Schulberg was trying to convey still remains true to this day. The book got a lot of criticism fo ...more
This is a great little book. And very indicative of the type of "me first" thinking that has come to infect and identify American culture as we have come to know it of late.

Sammy Glick is the fore-runner to all of the Wall Street bankers of today - the oil industry execs - all of the "contestants" on the reality shows who think that they deserve the prize more than anyone else (and they'll pay people to vote for them, bribe people, etc) - of the fashion industry wannabes who stab people in the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Schulberg hits on something really archetypal here. He chronicles the rise of fictional film mogul who's part C. F. Kane and part Howard Hughes, from the perspective of a narrator who's part Salieri and part Nick Carraway. And it's pretty amazing, actually. On one level, it's a sharp dissection of a 40s insider Hollywood: a takedown of what was wrong with the studio system. But then it becomes more: a portrait of Jewish angst and hardship at the turn of the century. But really, it's an absorbing ...more
A portrait of a particularly American monster, the man on his ruthless way to the top of what he deems the ultimate success. Chilling and brilliant and, often, very funny.
I liked parts of this book, the parts that dealt more with the narrator protagonist Al Mannheim's life, particularly his growing involvement with labor issues in Hollywood and another writer, the very appealing labor activist Kit Sargent. Much less successful are the parts that deal with Sammy Glick, a character I found unconvincing and poorly illuminated. The edition I read included an introduction by Schulberg that discusses the charge by critics that the book is anti-Semitic. Schulberg crafte ...more
[Note: I recognize Budd Schulberg as a talented screenwriter, but cannot ignore that he apparently testified in 1951 before the House Un-American Activities Committee of the U.S. Congress in that time period - specifically he 'named names' of reputed Communist Party members, Reds, communist / Marxist sympathizers, free-thinkers and their associates, blah blah blah. He had supposedly come of age at Dartmouth writing expose's of the plight of local quarry workers, so no-stranger-to-uncomfortable-p ...more
I did not expect much when I started reading Budd Schulberg's best known novel, What Makes Sammy Run?. Years ago, I had met Schulberg at Dartmouth College (he is an alumnus); but I had never read any of his works. I did see On the Waterfront, however, with Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, and Lee J. Cobb. He wrote the script.

Years ago, I read F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, which was a far far cry from The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald knew a thing or two about th
Colin Heber-Percy
A masterpiece. For On the Waterfront alone, Schulberg deserves to be considered one of the great American writers of the C20th. But What Makes Sammy Run? confirms his position. A savage and witty attack on an entire political / social philosophy (or rather a non-philosophy), the book charts the rise and rise of Sammy Glick from the gutter of New York's East Side to Beverly Hills. The individualism, the greed: the heartlessness at the heart of the American dream.
Phillip Oliver
I first heard about this book while watching a Dick Cavett interview with Bette Davis. He asked her which book she thought had the most accurate portrayal of Hollywood and she said it was this one. It is a portrayal of a narcissistic , ruthless heel named Sammy Glick, who rapidly rises from office boy to studio head, destroying careers, lives and backstabbing everyone he comes in contact with along the way. The story is told through the eyes of Manheim, a fellow co-worker, who witnesses Glick's ...more
An easy, quite witty and fast book that sticks to the topic, thus a 'study' of Sammy Glick and to some degree--Hollywood scene of the late 30's/early 40's.
It's 1940s Hollywood and a young upstart Jewish kid from New York is determined to make it to the top.

But all that runs through the narrator's mind at this kid who ran copy for him back in New York is this: What Makes Sammy Run? What drives Sammy to be so ambitious to get to the top that he'll sell his own soul and relationships for a bigger position and salary?

Budd Schulberg's book is a masterpiece. So reflective was it of Hollywood at the time, that many of his family friends shunned him out o
Really interesting read, as I've been aware of the book for ages (it was published in 1941, I think), and I may have seen the movie 'way,'way back when, probably on TV, but realized only recently that I'd never actually read it.

Almost from the beginning of the book, it reminded me of The Great Gatsby, a very different book, but also focusing on the trajectory of an obsessed American self-inventor, and narrated by a secondary but instrumental character in the plot.

Would be interested in reading
"The Great Gatsby" in Tinsel Town.

Here are some highlights from the novel:

-Schulberg capturing a few essential truths about the public's fascination with Hollywood in this brilliant description of the crowd outside a film premiere:

"The theater entrance was full of excitement that came mostly from women who were attracted to the leading man, and men resentful or regretful that they would never go to bed with anybody like the star, and unimportant people who idealized their envy into admiration
What a read. Budd Schulberg wrote the screenplay for A Face in the Crowd, which you may not have seen but absolutely should and for On the Waterfront, which I have to imagine you have seen and if not, shame shame.

This pace of the prose moves every bit as fast as the hellbent for success Sammy Glick does from page one to an ending that I forgave for being slightly more preachy than poetic. Schulberg could not have made what the Gotham Writers' Workshop Writing Fiction instructional book refers to
Nov 21, 2011 Gaston marked it as to-read
Everyone of us knows someone who runs. He is one of the symp-toms of our times—from the little man who shoves you out of the way on the street to the go-getter who shoves you out of a job in the office to the Fuehrer who shoves you out of the world. And all of us have stopped to wonder, at some time or another, what it is that makes these people tick. What makes them run?

This is the question Schulberg has asked himself, and the answer is the first novel written with the indignation that only a y
Kane Faucher
A quintessential case study of pathological narcissism. The obsession of the protagonist, Al Manheim, with the exuberant, merciless ambition of Sammy Glick(Stein) is an attempt to draw an etiological set of reasons and conditions for what makes people like Sammy possible. It should be noted that this variety of aggrandized secondary narcissism and an inability to form proper object relations was, at the time of the book's writing (1941), becoming a systemic feature of corporate culture and the r ...more
If Schulberg had written a sequel, it would have been the story of Citizen Kane, or that's how I think of this book and the character Sammy. Then again, when reading about the author's father, BP Schulberg and his short-lived partnership with Mayer (of MGM), you'd think that Mayer inspired the character of Sammy.. but of course, Sammy is a composite character.

If you're a film buff, you'll probably relish this book even more. There was one section where Schulberg compared the story's scenes to mo
Budd Schulberg's What Makes Sammy Run? is a devastating portrait of ambition and success, set against the glimmering backdrop of 1930s Hollywood. Sammy Glick is a screenwriter and then producer who has no artistic talent whatsoever, and yet becomes a great success due to both his own relentless, remorseless drive and the town's warped values. Though he has no artistic talent, he wantonly steals from and exploits those who do, and turns their creative work into his own personal success through hi ...more
Great, cynical narrative of Hollywood's Golden Age, focusing on the ruthless ambition of Sammy Glick, who rises from newspaper copy boy to Hollywood producer through a combination of other people's talent and his own lack of scruples. It occurs to me that it should be read alongside the two other great Hollywood novels of its moment, Day of the Locust and the unfinished The Last Tycoon (the latter of which I'll reread next). This is especially because Schulberg (himself the son of a Hollywood pr ...more
Paul Lyons
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Schulberg, whose father B.P. Schulberg was a top executive at Paramount Pictures, had a good deal of guts to unleash this book when he did (it was published in 1941when the Hollywood studio system was in full flower). The immigrant-Jew-becomes-mogul rags to riches story that was once so typical of the movie industry bigwig—Mayer, Goldwyn and Zukor, among others, all came from that mold—is used by Schulberg to tell the story of Sammy Glick, formerly Samuel Glickstein, who drops one identity to pu ...more
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Budd Schulberg (1914–2009) was a screenwriter, novelist, and journalist who is best remembered for the classic novels What Makes Sammy Run?, The Harder They Fall, and the story On the Waterfront, which he adapted as a novel, play, and an Academy Award–winning film script. Born in New York City, Schulberg grew up in Hollywood, where his father, B. P. Schulberg, was head of production at Paramount, ...more
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“They looked at each other until they weren't acquaintances any longer.” 4 likes
“I thought of Sammy Glick rocking in his cradle of hate, malnutrition, prejudice, suspicions, amorality, the anarchy of the poor; I thought of him as a mangy puppy in a dog-eat-dog world. I was modulating my hate for Sammy Glick from the personal to the societal. I no longer even hated Rivington Street but the idea of Rivington Street, all Rivington Streets of all nationalities allowed to pile up in cities like gigantic dung heaps smelling up the world, ambitions growing out of filth and crawling away like worms. I saw Sammy Glick on a battlefield where every soldier was his own cause, his own army and his own flag, and I realized that I had singled him out not because he had been born into the world anymore selfish, ruthless and cruel than anybody else, even though he had become all three, but because in the midst of a war that was selfish, ruthless and cruel Sammy was proving himself the fittest and the fiercest and the fastest.” 4 likes
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