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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 listeners say about Jimmy Stewart

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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 people found this 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.

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Interesting

Very interesting to learn about James Stewart as I love him in films. Interesting to learn he was a pilot during WWII. The chapters about his films was interesting but not to the extent to have around 10 chapters devoted to that part of his life.

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James Stewart

What a fascinating read, I loved this book and didn’t realise how much of a ladies man he was. My favourite movie of his is a wonderful life. Can’t beat it. Brilliant story

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My heart is broken.

Too much waffle about the author and devastatingly news about Jimmy Stewart's political views.The author wisely says that the fan should not think they know the star from his roles.

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Disappointing

Good story unfortunately spoiled by narrator with appalling pronunciation and an American accent of an English author

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  • cg
  • 05-11-18

excellent account

very interesting and insightful book that was a pleasure to listen to. balanced account of the stars life beliefs etc ..who would have thought Stewart was involved with the FBI

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James Stewart

Great story telling at its best. Highly recommended
Just goes to show whats on screen is not the person you think they are.

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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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  • 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 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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Logan
  • 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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • CKWbama
  • 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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Cheri Reeves
  • 28-08-21

Great Biography to listen to

Really enjoyed this book. I’ve always loved Jimmy Stewart in pretty much anything he did. The only negative I found in this book was the fact that the narrator mispronounced so many names of the actors who populated Jimmy’s life. He attempted to speak a bit like Jimmy in the quotations, but it took him nearly the entire book to finally start sounding like him. Other than that, the book was a great listen. The narrator simply needed a bit of pre-recording research to learn how people and places are pronounced. It got irritating after a while, especially for someone raised in Southern California and whose mother and aunts came to CA to be involved in the movie business. Anyone who watches old movies on TCM even just once in a while knows how these names and places are pronounced. The narrator needs to do his research before he starts recording.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Blackeagle
  • 28-08-21

Informative

I found this book to be interesting and informative. The stories within this book gave me a new insight into the life of Jimmy Stewart.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-08-21

One of the best

I’ve always been a fan of James Stewart. As I left for work this morning I saw that Classic movie channel was airing his movies all day. I almost called off sick but my wife would have had my hide. This book gave me a great insight on who this great man was.

1 person found this helpful

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  • NetBoss
  • 04-09-21

Interesting.

Jimmie Stewart always seemed like a fairly decent and normal person. Overall, based upon this book, he was.

The only thing that kept distracting me was the mispronunciation of the names of som well known stars. Hmmm. Besides that, the narration was good.

Listened at 2.0x

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  • R. Frost
  • 04-09-21

Well worth the read.

I've always been a Jimmy Stewart fan and was eager to listen to this book. It was worth the listen, as it covers his life, from early years to his death. It was written by a friend who doesn't gloss over his moods.

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  • Cheryl Cook
  • 03-09-21

Love Jimmy Stewart

I really enjoyed the book and loved the stories about the movies and actors too!