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4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  108 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Cagney came from a poor Irish-American New York family but once he found his metier as an actor, it was not long before he was recognized as a brilliantly energetic and powerful phenomenon. After the tremendous impact of Public Enemy - in which he notoriously pushed half a grapefruit into Mae Clarke's face - he was typecast as a gangster because of the terrifying violence ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published January 21st 1999 by Da Capo Press (first published 1997)
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Charles Matthews
Dec 17, 2009 Charles Matthews rated it it was ok
This review appeared in the Washington Post in 1998:

“CAUTION: Contents under pressure'' would have been a good label for James Cagney, though he needed cautionary labeling about as much as dynamite wired to an alarm clock. A reviewer of his very first film noted his ''fretful tenseness,'' and when that tension was released, Will Rogers once observed, Cagney was ''like a bunch of firecrackers going off all at once.'' For almost three decades his energy and volatility were unequaled by almost any
J.J. Lair
Aug 09, 2015 J.J. Lair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was just a listing of awards or films. The author got into Cagney's background and what motivated him to success. Who he worked with and why. Why he made certain movies and based on others. Why George M Cohan was such a big inspiration.
I researched an wrote a bio on Cohan on my
I was surprised by profanity, street life of 1910s. There were hookers, pimps, gangs, all things that you never heard about back then.
Cagney stayed loyal in marriage, e
Sep 02, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"This is a definitive bio of one of my faves. McCabe does a good job of both illuminating Cagney’s onscreen performances and explaining all the complexities of his personality (if only he didn’t rely so much on long, long quotes). Cagney was a street kid who aspired to be a song and dance man like Fred Astaire, a faithful and loving husband who sequestered his two children in their own separate living quarters, and a famous actor who found his deepest fulfillment in farming. A very interesting m ...more
Travis Whirl
Jul 06, 2013 Travis Whirl rated it liked it
I call Cagney the "normal" actor- no drinking, drugs, adulteries plagued his life. It was refreshing to read about his life, but a little dull at times. It certainly is biographical, however, much of the book is filled up with intricate details of his movies, the characters, costars who were in those movies, and the pages devoted to its reviews. One chapter towards the end is completely devoted to the subject of acting. An enjoyable read nonetheless. Other Hollywood stars would of fared much bet ...more
Diane Heath
Sep 07, 2013 Diane Heath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This was a very interesting look at an actor who was much more than the roles he played. A previous biography of Bogart made the comment that Cagney and Robinson made lives outside their roles. This book shows the inner Cagney and is a good book to read
Jul 09, 2013 Lenny rated it really liked it
First rate book about a "Top of the World" kind of guy. Told all of the intimate little snippets of his life that you would want to read about. Well done!
Dec 17, 2014 Monica rated it it was amazing
I am he and we are he and we are all together. Goodness. Cagney had it. He gave it away, and always had more to give, even 'til his last wink.
Jan 01, 2008 Judy rated it really liked it
A fascinating read, much better than McCabe's ghosted autobiography of Cagney... but I'd still have liked more about the movies!
Jan 13, 2011 Jake rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Recommended for anyone who loves good biographies, Jim Cagney movies (and, indeed, to love movies is to love Cagney), and Hollywood's Golden Age.
Mar 16, 2016 Butch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great life..www.

We should all try to be more like Jim... The world would be better place for us all. Live long and prosper..
George Paterson
Feb 25, 2013 George Paterson rated it really liked it
Exhaustive study of a meticulous actor.
Stacie rated it it was amazing
Nov 15, 2016
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