The Ragman's Son: An Autobiography

Kirk Douglas, Author Simon & Schuster $21.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-63717-0
Recalling a breakfast at the White House, Douglas marvels that a ragman's son is invited to eat scrambled eggs with the President, himself a Georgia farmer. Only in Americaor so this celebrity would have it, endlessly extolling his love of country as he recounts his government-sponsored goodwill missions around the world. Still, one can't fault him for his cloying patriotismhe is by no means a reactionaryor for pride in his achievements, this child of unlettered Jewish-Russian immigrants, the only son among seven offspring, raised in grueling poverty in upstate New York, who supported himself through college and acting school, became a considerable star and a millionaire. The most affecting memories here are of those early years and the son's relationship with the father, a heavy drinker and violent man; the most tedious, an extensive recap, seemingly requisite in show-biz bios, of sexual affairs. ``I am very often attracted to women who have a slight overbite,'' he writesand there are many such, alas for bored readers. Twice married, once divorced, the father of four sons, the author, 71 years old, felt intimations of mortality following a heart seizure, which became for him an occasion to assess his life, to balance the books on Issur Danielovitch, known in boyhood as Izzy Demsky, in celebrity as Kirk Douglas. Authentic, revealing, unself-conscious and self-centered, his performance here is a star turn. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Good Housekeeping. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Hardcover - 595 pages - 978-0-8161-4795-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-671-63718-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 464 pages - 978-0-671-73789-4
Paperback - 978-0-8161-4931-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-671-67569-1
Paperback - 544 pages - 978-1-4516-7242-8
Paperback - 510 pages - 978-1-84983-902-0
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