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Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain

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"Was it worth it, this awful struggle to survive, no matter what the cost?"

Harold is Hal Holbrook's affecting memoir of growing up behind disguises, and his lifelong search for himself. Abandoned by his mother and father when he was two, Holbrook and his two sisters each commenced their separate journeys of survival. Raised by his powerful grandfather until his death when Holbrook was twelve, Holbrook spent his childhood at boarding schools, visiting his father in an insane asylum, and hoping his mother would suddenly surface in Hollywood. As the Second World War engulfed Europe, Holbrook began acting almost by accident. Thereafter, through war, marriage, and the work of honing his craft, his fear of insanity and his fearlessness in the face of risk were channeled into his discovery that the riskiest path of all—success as an actor—would be his birthright. The climb up that tough, tough mountain was going to be a lonely one. And how he achieved it—the cost to his wife and children and to his own conscience—is the dark side of his eventual fame from performing the man his career would forever be most closely associated with, the iconic Mark Twain.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 25, 2011 – From a boyhood spent wondering about parents who abandoned him to his iconic portrayal of Mark Twain, renowned stage and screen actor Holbrook recounts his early life in this stirring memoir. Raised primarily in South Weymouth, Mass., by his paternal grandparents after his father was committed to an asylum and his mother left for New York, Holbrook idolized his grandfather and was devastated by his death when Holbrook was 12 in 1937. He first discovered his love for theater at the Culver Military Academy, signing up for a drama class on a whim. He enrolled in Denison University's theater program after a stint in the army during WWII and took part in as many plays as possible. It was during his time in the army that he met his future wife, Ruby. Together, they went on the road in 1948, performing for clubs and schools around the country. But Holbrook's drive for success and the fear of ending up like his father led to marital strain even as his career took off and he performed his first solo act as Mark Twain, a role that would define him. While Holbrook's career stretches on for another half century, this encapsulation of his first 34 years is a movingly honest account of a life spent searching for meaning and purpose.

Customer Reviews

Special as always

Having spoke with Hal and corresponded with him on and across the Pacific in our tiny boats, AND mused with him long about writing and Mark Twain and those special nights at the Blaisdell, it is so special for this book to have arrived, and for him to share his experience with all of us. Belongs on every sentient reader's iPad. Thank you!

Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Sep 13, 2011
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 480 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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