cover image True Myths: The Life and Times of Arnold Schwarzenegger

True Myths: The Life and Times of Arnold Schwarzenegger

Nigel Andrews. Carol Publishing Corporation, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55972-364-0

""Somewhere between the simple truth and the possible souping-up... lies the wonderful zone of the True Myth,"" writes British film critic Andrews in his unauthorized biography of iconic superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger. As a hardbody, actor, businessperson, restaurateur, Republican and Kennedy-by-marriage, ""Arnold,"" as Andrews calls him throughout, seems a perfect subject to deconstruct in this vein. Andrews, an admitted Arnold fan, attempts to explore notions of fame and ambition by tracing the life of the man who rose from rural Austria to become a hulking, prizewinning bodybuilder, then a powerful figure in American entertainment and politics. Focusing on discrepancies in versions of well-known Arnold anecdotes, Andrews suggests that the actor is the malevolent maker of his own myth. It's hardly a shocking idea in the world of Hollywood PR machinery, and the author's lack of firsthand access to the star rarely makes these accusations ring true, or even interesting. Elsewhere, Andrews relies on previous bios to psychoanalyze Arnold's bodybuilding fixations and his relationship to his stern father. As he chronicles Arnold's weightlifting competitions, film work and marriage, Andrews rarely gets under the surface of his subject. Goofy chapter titles such as ""Conan the Workaholic"" and ""Arnold Cybernegger"" do little to crack the surface of his monolithic subject, either. Photos. (Sept.)