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Editor reviews

Fans of classic Hollywood, take heed: In Jimmy Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend, Michael Munn has engineered a fascinating glimpse into the hitherto clouded public and private lives of one of the most famous figures in film history.

Performed with great energy by actor Mark Whitten, this comprehensive biography provides keen insights into the man behind the mask, emphasizing the differences and similarities between Stewart’s assumed public persona and his private self, delving deeply into his patriotism and FBI service alongside his relationships and rage issues.

Summary

In this definitive biography of one of Hollywood's most beloved stars, Michael Munn reveals the truth behind the diffident, earnest and kindly persona of Jimmy Stewart. Drawn from the author's formal interviews and informal meetings with the star and his friendship with Stewart's wife, Gloria, is this portrait of a man who came from the Presbyterian traditions of Pennsylvania to become one of the silver screen's enduring legends.

An openly right-wing Conservative and super-patriot, Stewart worked for the FBI at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover, directing his undercover sleuthing to crack organised crime in Hollywood. But he was unscrupulously manipulated by the president into flushing out Communists from the film industry. Among these revelations, there are also tales of heady love affairs, hookers and hoodlums, and of Stewart's run-in with the most dangerous of all gangsters, Benjamin 'Bugsy' Sigal. Accusations of racism are explored, as is Stewart's notoriously volatile temper. There is a comprehensive account of his experiences as a colonel in the US Air Force in World War Two - and, of course, there are the films: It's a Wonderful Life, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, the westerns and his Academy Awards.

©2013 Michael Munn (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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Very Very good!

This is an excellent book. I listened to it in a week of long, dark early morning runs through the countryside and it's gripping from beginning to end. The reading is superb and some of the best I've heard on any audio book and the book itself is perfectly balanced and never long winded. Clearly it helps if you like James Stewart though I don't think it's essential as the biography brings in so many other interesting famous and non famous people and also describes war time and the politics of Hollywood and indeed the USA so well that anyone interested in 20th century Popular culture would enjoy this.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Sandor
  • banbury, oxon, United Kingdom
  • 21-03-15

Fascinating listen

If you could sum up Jimmy Stewart in three words, what would they be?

Gentleman, film star, human

Who was your favorite character and why?

James Stewart himself

Have you listened to any of Mark Whitten’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I found his vocal performance to be excellent but I have not heard him before

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

As a fan of James Stewart I found the book fascinating and found him even more endearing.

Any additional comments?

Naturally if you don't like James Stewart ( could there be anyone ?) you're not going to enjoy this, but if you love him you'll find it a great listening experience, informative and entertaining.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The real Jimmy Stewart.

With Jimmy Stewart what you see is mostly what. This book is from conversations and interviews with Jimmy ( himself ), his wife, family and friends. The thing that soon becomes apparent is that Jimmy is a man who is liked by most of the people he met. This is definitely a read again, and one I recommend and hope you enjoy the book as much as I have.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyed from start to finish

Have always liked Jimmy Stewart as a film star and found this to be an enjoyable story of his life . Had some interesting stories and gave an insight into the person behind the camera

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Jimmy Stewart

Informative and very well narrated by Mark Whitten spoken in the style of Stewart. Book based on interviews conducted with Stewart, wife Gloria and friends during 1970's. Felt some further in-depth information should have been added in order to give greater understanding of very talented actor/human being.

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  • Harry Boyle
  • 22-09-13

Entertaining and very informative

If you could sum up Jimmy Stewart in three words, what would they be?

Uniquely talented actor

What about Mark Whitten’s performance did you like?

He kept my attention

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I had had the time perhaps I might have tried but the book was too long

Any additional comments?

I always enjoyed Stewarts skills. The book helped me get to know the person. I have found few actors I enjoyed more over the years.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • 14-07-18

An excellent depiction of Jimmy Stewart

A hallmark of a nonfiction book or a biography is that it reads like fiction. This wonderful portrayal of actor Jimmy Stewart reads as if it was the fictional account of his life. The story is intimate. I could not stop reading it every minute I could spare. And, the narration was near perfect I highly recommend this book!

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  • C SUE DAVISON
  • 04-02-18

My favorite actor's life!

Anyone who has ever loved any Jimmy Stewart movie will love this book even if you think you've heard it all before. It is an excellent story because of its excellent chronology.

The only thing I didn't like about this book, and I'm beginning to hear it in more and more audibles narrated by men, is their need to talk in a woman's voice when narrating women's quotes. What is with that? I find it very grating and frustratingly insulting. First they tell you "she said" or the character's or woman's name, then they proceed to try to talk like a female. Is that truly necessary? To me it's almost as annoying as fingernails down a chalkboard and that it takes away from the narration and storyline. I have listened to several women narrators and find they do not do this.

However, with this book, I found the subject matter so wonderful and interesting that I could get passed it. DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK FOR THAT ISSUE. You may find that you'll regret it later.

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  • Amahra
  • 21-01-18

Great Bio!

I really liked learning certain things about Stewart that I didn't know. This was not a whitewash, but honest with human faults.

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  • M. Murphy
  • 15-01-18

Engaging and wonderfully delivered

An interesting telling of the life of Jimmy Stewart, skillfully narrated with a good impersonation of Jimmy’s voice and that of his wife Gloria

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  • Me
  • 21-08-17

Superb

Munn's research and telling are excellent and Whitten's narration is superb. Highly recommended and absolutely required for any fan of Jimmy Stewart's.

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  • David
  • 11-08-17

Great story

Wonder book of you want to know more about Jimmy Stewart. Great narration! Loved the story and it is an emotional ending. Highly recommended.

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  • john coffman
  • 06-07-17

Awesome

A very good story. lots of memories for me as my grandfather was very similar to Jimmy and his mannerisms.

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  • honolulu girl
  • 30-06-17

Honolulu girl

it's always special when you discover a legend is exactly how you envisioned them, that they actually lived up to your expectations. the narrative could have been better, but the material/story was exceptional.

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  • rae
  • 15-03-17

Wonderful biography of an equally wonderful actor

Where does Jimmy Stewart rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was quite good though not my favorite, due to the narration.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Mark Whitman's attempt to sound like Stewart and others was a bit off putting, as well as his mispronouncing people's names or in the case of Henry Fonda calling him Henry Ford at least once. As a trivia buff I am aware that Bette Davis referred to herself as Bet, but when Whitman refers to her in this manner it's just confusing.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Perhaps one of the final lines "Moments in time: The Jimmy Stewart Story"