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A Child of the Century

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  41 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Ben Hecht was brilliant, coruscating, gallant, and outrageous and never dull. His works uniquely reflect the man, and this is the landmark work of the journalist and co-author of plays, The Front Page and Twentieth Century.

As Sidney Zion observes in his introduction: "To write a great autobiography, you have to live it. And while most writers are lucky to life half a life

Paperback, 672 pages
Published May 30th 1985 by Plume (first published 1954)
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Jun 10, 2013 Sketchbook rated it liked it
Buttered popcorn -- a junk food you can't stop eating, that's the Ben Hecht movie version of his life. And why Hecht ? Coauthor w Charles MacArthur of Broadway hits, The Front Page and Twentieth Century, and scripter of Nothing Sacred, Spellbound and Notorious, among others, he's also the uncredited writer on just about every entertaining movie made during the 30s-40s. He shaped Hollywood and Hollywood defined America.

The School of Hecht : smart, independent babes duet w sardonic, wisecrackers w
Kit Fox
Aug 30, 2009 Kit Fox rated it it was amazing
Guess it should come as little surprise that one of the greatest screenwriters of all time would write such a fascinating autobiography. Almost more a book of philosophy than a memoir, Hecht doesn't get to his time in Hollywood till, like, page 400-and-something. But who cares? By then he'd lived enough for seventeen lives. His accounts of post-WW I Germany were really fascinating, and I didn't know about all he did to champion the cause of Jews before, during, and after WW II. Full of more ente ...more
Joshua Buhs
Feb 24, 2013 Joshua Buhs rated it liked it
A very good and very interesting autobiography. The book starts with a bang--not the usual, I was born here and at this time stuff, but meditations upon god and self--that are punchy and interesting. Hecht then moves on to cover his life, relying more on anecdote than chronology. The stories are often quite good.
He is a dripping misogynist, but fortunately his thoughts on women do not undermine the structure of the autobiography. Surprisingly, he's fairly conservative, too--he is very much for t
Fred Andersen
Not sure how much of this is literally true, and how much is embellishment, but there's no doubt Ben Hecht was a heckuva writer and a keen observer of some fascinating times. His tales of big city newsrooms and his reporting on post WW1 Germany; his immersion in the world of New York intellectuals and artists in the 1920s, and in golden-age Hollywood; and his inside account of the formation of the nation of Israel are all gripping.
Nov 15, 2007 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
Shelves: biography
well, if you're a fan of the great Ben Hecht, you'll love this book. He was a wise, funny and prolific writer. Nice blurb in there about himself, David O Selznic and Victor Flemming writing the screenplay to Gone With The Wind. Locked in Sleznic's office eating peanuts and bananas for 5 days. Great insight to a great man.
Julien Gorbach
Jan 15, 2009 Julien Gorbach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book, and it's a crime that it's out of print. It's not perfect--Hecht could have done with a tough editor and there are a few passages that can be skipped, but Child is packed with great stories and truly astonishing prose. Full of mystery, beauty and history, this book will take you places...
May 10, 2010 Paulg rated it it was amazing
Really excellent even outside his reluctant time in Hollywood. He only scratches the surface regarding his friend Charles MacArthur, so I think I'll read Hecht's biography of him next.
Tom Stamper
Nov 21, 2014 Tom Stamper rated it it was amazing
Remarkable memoir from maybe the greatest screenwriter of all-time. He lived such an interesting life that Hollywood is covered in a single chapter.
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“A wise man will always allow a fool to rob him of ideas without yelling “Thief.”
If he is wise he has not been impoverished.
Nor has the fool been enriched.
The thief flatters us by stealing.
We flatter him by complaining.”
“I know that a man who tries to convert me to any cause
is actually at work on his own conversion,
unless he is looking for funds under the mask of some fancied nobility.”
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