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In The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward White explores the Hitchcock phenomenon—what defines it, how it was invented, what it reveals about the man at its core, and how its legacy continues to shape our cultural world. The book’s twelve chapters illuminate different aspects of Hitchcock’s life and work: “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up”; “The Murderer”; “The Auteur”; “ In The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward White explores the Hitchcock phenomenon—what defines it, how it was invented, what it reveals about the man at its core, and how its legacy continues to shape our cultural world. The book’s twelve chapters illuminate different aspects of Hitchcock’s life and work: “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up”; “The Murderer”; “The Auteur”; “The Womanizer”; “The Fat Man”; “The Dandy”; “The Family Man”; “The Voyeur”; “The Entertainer”; “The Pioneer”; “The Londoner”; “The Man of God.” Each of these angles reveals something fundamental about the man he was and the mythological creature he has become, presenting not just the life Hitchcock lived but also the various versions of himself that he projected, and those projected on his behalf. From Hitchcock’s early work in England to his most celebrated films, White astutely analyzes Hitchcock’s oeuvre and provides new interpretations. He also delves into Hitchcock’s ideas about gender; his complicated relationships with “his women”—not only Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren but also his female audiences—as well as leading men such as Cary Grant, and writes movingly of Hitchcock’s devotion to his wife and lifelong companion, Alma, who made vital contributions to numerous classic Hitchcock films, and burnished his mythology. And White is trenchant in his assessment of the Hitchcock persona, so carefully created that Hitchcock became not only a figurehead for his own industry but nothing less than a cultural icon. Ultimately, White’s portrayal illuminates a vital truth: Hitchcock was more than a Hollywood titan; he was the definitive modern artist, and his significance reaches far beyond the confines of cinema.


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In The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward White explores the Hitchcock phenomenon—what defines it, how it was invented, what it reveals about the man at its core, and how its legacy continues to shape our cultural world. The book’s twelve chapters illuminate different aspects of Hitchcock’s life and work: “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up”; “The Murderer”; “The Auteur”; “ In The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward White explores the Hitchcock phenomenon—what defines it, how it was invented, what it reveals about the man at its core, and how its legacy continues to shape our cultural world. The book’s twelve chapters illuminate different aspects of Hitchcock’s life and work: “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up”; “The Murderer”; “The Auteur”; “The Womanizer”; “The Fat Man”; “The Dandy”; “The Family Man”; “The Voyeur”; “The Entertainer”; “The Pioneer”; “The Londoner”; “The Man of God.” Each of these angles reveals something fundamental about the man he was and the mythological creature he has become, presenting not just the life Hitchcock lived but also the various versions of himself that he projected, and those projected on his behalf. From Hitchcock’s early work in England to his most celebrated films, White astutely analyzes Hitchcock’s oeuvre and provides new interpretations. He also delves into Hitchcock’s ideas about gender; his complicated relationships with “his women”—not only Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren but also his female audiences—as well as leading men such as Cary Grant, and writes movingly of Hitchcock’s devotion to his wife and lifelong companion, Alma, who made vital contributions to numerous classic Hitchcock films, and burnished his mythology. And White is trenchant in his assessment of the Hitchcock persona, so carefully created that Hitchcock became not only a figurehead for his own industry but nothing less than a cultural icon. Ultimately, White’s portrayal illuminates a vital truth: Hitchcock was more than a Hollywood titan; he was the definitive modern artist, and his significance reaches far beyond the confines of cinema.

30 review for The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense

  1. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

    Recommended. Even if you're a dyed-in-the-wool, thoroughly well-read Hitchcock maven, you may learn a thing or two — White is an excellent miner in the research department. And his assessment generator is a good steady one. He doesn't flinch from the artist's character flaws and bad actions, but approaches them with a level head and unusual compassion. It made me think about Hitchcock in ways that aren't quite new to my perspective...but encouraged me to go deeper with the author. Recommended. Even if you're a dyed-in-the-wool, thoroughly well-read Hitchcock maven, you may learn a thing or two — White is an excellent miner in the research department. And his assessment generator is a good steady one. He doesn't flinch from the artist's character flaws and bad actions, but approaches them with a level head and unusual compassion. It made me think about Hitchcock in ways that aren't quite new to my perspective...but encouraged me to go deeper with the author.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Alfred Hitchcock. His name alone can brings chills, fond spooky memories, discomfort, and nostalgia. I was still ten years old in 1963 when I saw The Birds from the back seat of the family car, parked at the local drive-in movie theater. My parents thought I would fall asleep. I didn't. The scene of a man missing his eye balls gave me nightmares for years. The next year, in 1964, I was nearly twelve when I saw Marnie. I am sure my folks did not expect me to be asleep that time. I did not underst Alfred Hitchcock. His name alone can brings chills, fond spooky memories, discomfort, and nostalgia. I was still ten years old in 1963 when I saw The Birds from the back seat of the family car, parked at the local drive-in movie theater. My parents thought I would fall asleep. I didn't. The scene of a man missing his eye balls gave me nightmares for years. The next year, in 1964, I was nearly twelve when I saw Marnie. I am sure my folks did not expect me to be asleep that time. I did not understand it, I had no concept of sexual dysfunction, so of course watched it every time it came on television, trying to puzzle out the feelings it raised in me. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1962) was a childhood staple. I learned the theme song, The Funeral March of the Marionette, on piano. It impressed the neighbor boy who was also a Hitchcock fan. I had story collections like Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery: Eleven Spooky Stories for Young People. Over the years, watching the classic films I had seen in the movie theater with my folks, including Vertigo. Rear Window, and North By Northwest, and those I only saw later on television, like Psycho, I understood things I could not as a girl. And I wondered why in the world did Mom take me to see those films! Today, scenes of rape, obsession, murder, and suicide would not be considered proper fare for the under-13-year-old child. As far as I can tell, the only harm these movies did me, other than nightmares about eyeless men, was a penchant for stylish suspense stories. I knew that birds would not flock and attack me in reality, or crop dusters chase me. "He was a child, you know, a very black-comedy child" screenwriter Arthur Laurents said of Hitch. Perhaps that was his appeal to children. Raised on Dick and Jane while undergoing 'duck and cover' drills and watching adults glued to the news during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, we were ready for the safety of theatrical horror. War became daily television fodder and political assassinations punctuated our teen years and watching Hitchcock movies on television were not as shocking any more. I had never explored the man behind the persona. The nine-line sketch Hitch walked into on his show was all I needed to know. The sketch, I learned in The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock, Hitch himself drew and propagated as part of his image. Edward White's biography considers the man through the lens of twelve aspects of his personality, each fully explored through Hitchcock's life and art. On the one hand, the book is hugely informative and gave me a full picture of the man and the artist. On the other hand, Hitchcock remains a mystery. He carefully controlled his persona, as deliberately and thoughtfully controlling our image of him as his films controlled our responses. Was his marriage to Alma platonic? Did he remain a virgin expect for once, resulting in the birth of his daughter? Did he lunge at actresses and ask his secretary to 'erotically entertain' him? I saw Tippi Hendren talk about her experience. Can we tell the difference between the persona Hitch offered and truth? He grew up with WWI air raids, the 1918 flu pandemic, in a rough part of town, with a Catholic Education. There is a lot of horror to draw from with that background. And yet, Hitch was averse to conflict and could not deal with "complex emotions." He would not use animal cruelty in his films and preferred to have his victims thrown off a building than shot as in American films. Still, he was fascinated by violence and cruelty, grew up reading classic British crime fiction including G. K. Chesterton and John Buchan. He once expressed his belief that he would have made a great criminal lawyer. I learned about his middle class, Catholic childhood, his struggle with his appearance, the art and film and stories that inspired him. The book is always fascinating, always interesting, and often disturbing. Especially when I ask myself what kind of person is a Hitchcock fan, as perhaps it reveals things about myself I would rather not consider. I received a free galley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Great artists can be jerks: I don't think that's a surprise to anyone. (I am always arguing that they don't *have* to be). And I am privileged enough to be able to decide how much their jerkiness matters to me when I read or listen to or see their work. I find filmmakers to be the hardest to process: I can decide pretty easily whether to take or leave the work of Ernest Hemingway and William Burroughs, Wagner or John Lennon, Gauguin or Pablo Picasso. I find it easier to keep their personalities Great artists can be jerks: I don't think that's a surprise to anyone. (I am always arguing that they don't *have* to be). And I am privileged enough to be able to decide how much their jerkiness matters to me when I read or listen to or see their work. I find filmmakers to be the hardest to process: I can decide pretty easily whether to take or leave the work of Ernest Hemingway and William Burroughs, Wagner or John Lennon, Gauguin or Pablo Picasso. I find it easier to keep their personalities and actions separate from their work, and unless the work itself is specifically or spectacularly offensive, I can balance the person and the work in my head without a lot of cognitive dissonance. But the works of filmmakers --and also, I suppose, photographers, and comedians--are harder for me to keep separate. I find it very hard to like (or even appreciate) Woody Allen at all the way I did when I was in college, after seeing Husbands and Wives--and seeing Manhattan again after #MeToo. But I still love Love and Death, just like I still love parts of the early albums of Bill Cosby, and I have yet to come to terms with that. Hitchcock is like that for me--I think Rear Window, Vertigo, Shadow of a Doubt and Psycho are all works of genius and are among my favorite movies. But Hitchcock himself is trouble, and how do you keep him out of the discussion when you can see what he did to Tippi Hedren right there on screen in The Birds? Can you have him as an auteur and visionary without also seeing him as a sadist and a womanizer? All that is to say that this biography is able to address the issue effectively by using different ways of looking at Hitchcock in each chapter. Instead of feeling that there has to be a unified story that agrees with everyone's opinions of Hitchcock, this reads much more like an oral history, where the reader looks at Hitchcock as an Auteur, as a Womanizer, as an Entertainer (which includes a bit on his sadism) and nine other ways. There is a very loose chronological structure, but White is freed by this method to fold in any time periods and movies from Hitchcock's life. It works very well with Hitchcock's complicated personality. White is a good writer, so he manages to handle the whole very well, and only the last couple chapters (Hitchcock as Londoner, Hitchcock as Catholic) don't really seem to work. This is not the book to learn about Hitchcock's accomplishments in filming (it is very non-technical), but it is the first view of Hitchcock I've read that seems to get behind the cartoonish and fictionalized view of himself that Hitchcock (and others) created and that most bios seem to embrace. Is he still a jerk? Yes, to a lot of people. Is he still a genius? Yes, to a lot of people. He also seems human, for once. I read this as an ARC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    Edward White unravels the conundrum of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock — “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” as Churchill once said about Russia. His films still mesmerize but his reputation has been tarnished, especially since release of Tippi Hedren’s 2016 memoir, in which she documents his sexual abuse of her, and as scholarly papers explore his misogyny. White explains Hitch’s many contradictions in this brilliant bio, which reveals his essence through 12 thoughtful chapters: The Bo Edward White unravels the conundrum of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock — “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” as Churchill once said about Russia. His films still mesmerize but his reputation has been tarnished, especially since release of Tippi Hedren’s 2016 memoir, in which she documents his sexual abuse of her, and as scholarly papers explore his misogyny. White explains Hitch’s many contradictions in this brilliant bio, which reveals his essence through 12 thoughtful chapters: The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up, The Murderer, The Auteur, The Womanizer, The Fat Man, The Dandy, The Family Man, The Voyeur, The Entertainer, The Pioneer, The Londoner, and The Man of God. This kaleidoscopic approach helped me understand, for example, why I love “Rear Window,” yet why the relationship between characters Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly made me cringe. She has brains, beauty, and style (those Edith Head costumes!) but he gives her wounding mixed messages about her desirability. It’s typical of many male-female interactions in his films and truly maddening! A must-read for Hitch fans and film buffs, and those who love substantive bios that entertain. 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 13 Apr 2021 #TheTwelveLivesofAlfredHitchcock #NetGalley Thanks to the author, W. W. Norton & Company, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Goth

    Alfred Hitchcock is the most written about filmmaker of all time. As someone who has read countless books on the Master of Suspense, I was unsure how much more I could learn. The Twelve Live of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense by Edward White does the near impossible: it unearths new facts about Hitchcock.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jammin Jenny

    I really enjoyed this look into Alfred Hitchcock's life. The author kinds of leads us through his life by looking at some of his greatest movies. We get some insights into his childhood, his marriage, his personality both on and off the set, and some of his greatest moments. I had a good time listening to this audiobook. I received an e-ARC of this book by the author and publishing via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book. I really enjoyed this look into Alfred Hitchcock's life. The author kinds of leads us through his life by looking at some of his greatest movies. We get some insights into his childhood, his marriage, his personality both on and off the set, and some of his greatest moments. I had a good time listening to this audiobook. I received an e-ARC of this book by the author and publishing via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    Pretty neat way of structuring a biography that really allows White to delve in to all aspects of Hitchcock. The decision to filter most of his life through the context of his films is also well done and makes for an easy and satisfying read, perfect for diehard Hitchcock fans and causal reader alike.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews

    For this and other book reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com I’m not quite sure when I discovered Alfred Hitchcock’s movies. It was sometime after Nancy Drew books and James Bond films aired on commercial television as the movie of the week. My best friend’s parents had a small selection of movies and we watched and re-watched Rear Window and To Catch a Thief over and over. Then, my freshman year in high school, we had a teacher who looked so much like Anthony Perkins in Psycho, we couldn’t help For this and other book reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com I’m not quite sure when I discovered Alfred Hitchcock’s movies. It was sometime after Nancy Drew books and James Bond films aired on commercial television as the movie of the week. My best friend’s parents had a small selection of movies and we watched and re-watched Rear Window and To Catch a Thief over and over. Then, my freshman year in high school, we had a teacher who looked so much like Anthony Perkins in Psycho, we couldn’t help but dive deeper into the Hitchcock library of films. The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense by Edward White explores Hitch’s films and life through twelve different facets of his personality. Who was the man behind some of cinema’s most classic suspense films? That’s what The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock attempts to explore, through different parts of his personality. Some chapters work better than others. “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up”, “The Family Man”, and “The Voyeur” were some of the better chapters because they rely on Hitchcock’s real life as well as his films to study his personality. “The Man of God” was very interesting; I had no idea Hitchcock was raised Catholic. Either this wasn’t mentioned in the biography I read years ago or it wasn’t touched upon other than a mention. White shows how certain Catholic teachings remained with Hitchcock as an adult, even though he did not go out of his way to show his Catholicism. But his daughter was raised Catholic and her children as well, and when Hitch was at the end of his life, he had regular visits from a priest to receive communion and a prayer service. I always thought I Confess, the Hitchcock movie that has a priest being accused of murder because he can’t reveal the confession of the real murderer due to his oat a rather good film, but Hitchcock didn’t like the end result. “The Voyeur” was also a treat to read, because really, all Hitchcock’s films are about voyeurism in one way or another, but none so much as Rear Window, where James Stewart is house-bound by a broken leg and he looks out on the apartment building across the courtyard of his Greenwich Village home. Hitchcock took great delight in showing us things that hadn’t been seen before in movies, like a toilet in a bathroom in Psycho, or a woman still half-dressed after a mid-day romp in the same film. The book goes back and forth in time, discussing Hitchcock’s films from Hollywood as well as his time in England. Indeed, I found a wealth of information about his early films, of which I’ve only seen a few. I’ve never seen his silent films, but count The 39 Steps and his original version of The Man Who Knew Too Much one of my favorite of his. He enjoyed the story so much he later re-filmed it in Hollywood with James Stewart and Doris Day. I enjoy both films, but the original seems more intense. “The Fat Man” was a chapter I had issues with, only because in this day and age to call someone fat is offensive. Hitchcock constantly referred to himself as fat, and made frequent references to his girth. His repeated diets, his drawing of the Hitchcock silhouette with the extra chin, in fact, walking on camera in profile so one could see that rotund silhouette was something Hitch never shied from. He often made jokes at his own expense, which can be seen as a defensive mechanism: laugh about yourself so others don’t start teasing you. Still, despite the thorough look at Hitchcock’s life through these facets of personality, I found him a man hard to know. He kept so much of himself private that only his wife and daughter and later grandchildren really knew him. Hitch constantly projected this serious side when in public, but he had an incredible sense of humor, which is often found in his films to break up the suspense. I’ve seen home movies of Hitchcock where he’s laughing and playing about in his rolled up shirt sleeves, and they’re odd to see since he always projected this image of a proper English gentleman with his dark suits and droll way of talking. The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock is released to the general public April 13, 2021. Thanks to NetGalley and W.W. Norton Company for the ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    Every few years, it seems that a new biography comes out about a celebrity that alters the perception long held by fans and even peers. THE TWELVE LIVES OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK falls into this category. Edward White, author of THE TASTEMAKER: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America, “dissects” Hitchcock into what could be considered multiple personalities, each one supposedly contributing to his genius (although when reading some passages, one might call the legendary director an evil genius Every few years, it seems that a new biography comes out about a celebrity that alters the perception long held by fans and even peers. THE TWELVE LIVES OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK falls into this category. Edward White, author of THE TASTEMAKER: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America, “dissects” Hitchcock into what could be considered multiple personalities, each one supposedly contributing to his genius (although when reading some passages, one might call the legendary director an evil genius). We have seen some of the material within White’s overview before: Hitchcock’s obsession with blondes; his “voyeurism”; his legacy as a pioneer and auteur; the way he (mis)treated his actors, especially the women; and his childhood fear of police and authority. But what is especially interesting are chapters covering his attitudes regarding style and fashion, religion, and even his own weight issues. Hitchcock was probably no better or worse than many of his contemporaries. He could be petulant, sarcastic and downright mean, but he was also a staunch family man and willing to take chances where others wouldn’t. I’m sure some of his performers and crew members could tell stories about perceived abuse, pettiness and jealousy, which was all part of the game. So in that regard, was Hitchcock more of a bad egg because he didn’t like to share the spotlight or credit with others (save his beloved wife, Alma)? Was he especially harsh on his actresses, like Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak and Grace Kelly? The chapter “The Dandy” was especially entertaining and illuminating as we learn about the attention to detail taken when it came to wardrobe and set furnishings. Describing the elegant designs for Rope, which was set in New York and was one of Hitchcock's more technically original (if not box-office successful) films, White writes, “It was a material existence that Hitchcock understood, for it mirrored his own. It was he who guided the selection of the artworks to be hung on the apartment walls; he who stipulated the color of [the actors’] suits. Despite looking like a staid British bank manager, Hitchcock apportioned great depth to the surface of things. He wasn’t showy or decorative in his dress, but he was committed to the perfection of appearance as a way of exerting control over himself and the world around him.” White doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty about Hitchcock’s filmography as Francois Truffaut did in HITCHCOCK. But it’s just this type of inspection that sets his book apart from previous examinations. However, this is not a perfect book by any means. Some readers might look askance as the author seems to take a certain pleasure in pointing out Hitchcock’s not insubstantial faults, although those looking for gossipy tidbits might enjoy such disclosures. Similarly, there is a haughty film studies feeling in spots where White might discuss aspects of the movies beyond the casual fan’s education. Overall, though, THE TWELVE LIVES OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK makes a worthy addition to the cinephile’s library and undoubtedly will appeal to Hitchcock devotees. Reviewed by Ron Kaplan

  10. 4 out of 5

    V. Briceland

    Rather than assay another birth-to-death biographical approach to the one director whose work dominated much of twentieth-century cinema, Edward White in The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock takes a multi-faceted approach. Dipping here and there in Hitchcock's timeline as he pleases, he organizes his dozen chapters into as many themed reflections upon the director's many public and private faces. One chapter reflects upon Hitchcock's boyhood and how it manifested through children's roles in his f Rather than assay another birth-to-death biographical approach to the one director whose work dominated much of twentieth-century cinema, Edward White in The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock takes a multi-faceted approach. Dipping here and there in Hitchcock's timeline as he pleases, he organizes his dozen chapters into as many themed reflections upon the director's many public and private faces. One chapter reflects upon Hitchcock's boyhood and how it manifested through children's roles in his films, for example, while another focuses upon his cycles of eating and dieting, and how although many of his contemporaries wrote seemingly incessantly on his shape and size, Hitchcock himself made his easily-recognized silhouette an essential part of his brand. A chapter on Hitchcock's womanizing dives—though perhaps not deeply enough—into the sexual harassment and stalking behaviors experienced by his actresses, then acknowledges how a triptych of his films were behind the original thesis of what we think of as 'the male gaze' in popular culture. While many of the chapters are quite entertaining—the one on 'The Dandy' in particular offered some interesting insights into how Hitchcock's approach to his own wardrobe extended to the costuming in his own films—some seem a stretch. A chapter on 'The Entertainer' more or less boils down to the self-evident notion that the director wanted movie-goers to enjoy themselves at his hands. And 'The Man of God' attempts too neatly to wrap up the last chapter of Hitchcock's life by examining his boyhood Catholicism...even though Hitchcock himself many times proclaimed with seeming certainty that he wasn't a religious man in the least...with White's argument boiling down to little more the unconvincing notion that many of Hitchcock's characters want redemption, so therefore it has to be his Catholicism at work. The number of so-called lives White examines in his biography seems pretty arbitrary: there's really no solid case for that number and that number alone. (Why not thirteen faces? That missed opportunity seems a superstitious set of digits the director might have appreciated.) A casual reader looking for a traditional assessment of the Hitchcock will probably walk away disappointed: the approach here is scattershot, and the author seems to assume a working knowledge of at least the director's Hollywood films. By parading with such a wayward approach these various facets of a master's decades at work, White's essays really don't tell us much about the life and works of Hitchcock as a director...but they do offer intriguing and often contradictory glimpses into Hitchcock, the man behind the camera lens.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Well-researched book about a highly talented and controversial figure in 20th century film-making, and I own it. That Hitchcock was talented, no doubt. Could do everything on a movie and often did. Directed, wrote, produced, worked on lighting, props, sound, transitional elements, special effects - could do it all. That he gave women work, plum jobs, credit, attention, also no doubt. That he deserves a special place in film history for his body of work, again, again, no doubts there. That he also Well-researched book about a highly talented and controversial figure in 20th century film-making, and I own it. That Hitchcock was talented, no doubt. Could do everything on a movie and often did. Directed, wrote, produced, worked on lighting, props, sound, transitional elements, special effects - could do it all. That he gave women work, plum jobs, credit, attention, also no doubt. That he deserves a special place in film history for his body of work, again, again, no doubts there. That he also had a somewhat seamy side, which was rare, but happened, yes, yes again. One thing though, when he made what we older folk would call 'a pass,' he didn't force the issue. He could also treat his actors like they were parts of the set - a light? a shoe on the floor? - yes again. There are many stories of actors actively disliking the man, but just as many where actors enjoyed working with him. Hitchcock came from a lower-middle class background, and in English terms, an acceptable one. He was an East Londoner and could affect a Cockney accent when it suited him. In 1939 he left England for the US, where he became an even bigger success than he already was. His films will go on forever, though he himself will be tainted by a few incidents which don't do him proud. In many cases, with a man like this, I'd prob. say nah, not gonna read HIM anymore, or watch HIS films ever again. Can't do this here. This man was too complicated. He was teased and adored, berated for his weight, which he struggled to contain, and praised for his talent behind the camera. This particular book divides Hitchcock into his many 'personae' - the Londoner, the Auteur, the Family Man, the Man of God, etc. Anyone of us could prob. do the same with our own lives. (I'd be the Child, the Teacher, the One Who Drove Her Mother Crazy; you get the drift.) At any rate, I found it a fascinating and thoroughly truthful read, with both sides represented as concerns some of the charges levied against him. Most of the actresses who worked with him found him to be a kind gentleman, though he expected a lot from them when it came to their acting roles. But this does happen even today. If one is accused of harassment, there'll be a dozen who say, 'not with me, he wasn't!' But my focus on reading this book was on the films: how he made them, what were his sources, why did he choose that book or that writer, how did he get that effect, how did he interact with Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Doris Day, Sean Connery - four of my fav. actors. So overall, four stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Lovato

    I jumped at the chance to renew my professional respect for Alfred Hitchcock Posted on May 24, 2021 by michellelovatosbookreviews, world's first book color commentator, book reviews with a twist I am glad that I could not pick up my college degree without learning about the genius of Alfred Hitchcock. I went to one of those community colleges that allowed me to take art-related classes to learn the fascinating subject of human history. It was fun and instilled in me a life-long desire to relate li I jumped at the chance to renew my professional respect for Alfred Hitchcock Posted on May 24, 2021 by michellelovatosbookreviews, world's first book color commentator, book reviews with a twist I am glad that I could not pick up my college degree without learning about the genius of Alfred Hitchcock. I went to one of those community colleges that allowed me to take art-related classes to learn the fascinating subject of human history. It was fun and instilled in me a life-long desire to relate life and art. My respect for Hitchcock and his career is immense. If I could siphon off a tiny piece of that strange genius Englishman’s talent, I might somehow ooze a bit of his classic dry humor and terrifying ability to understate horror. Available on audio, e-book, or hardcover, this fascinating biography approaches the life and career of Alfred Hitchcock from 12 different viewpoints. Each viewpoint showcases various parts of Alfred Hitchcock’s life and how that facet influenced his professional artistic career. Like his movies that continuously questioned its viewer’s perception of reality, so too did Hitchcock’s life question the sanity of human nature. Like everyone else’s, Hitchcock’s career was heavily influenced by his upbringing in England during World War II. Hitchcock’s film, The Birds imitated the terror of Nazi bomber planes swirling in over the English sky during his youth to replace innocence with a landscape of destruction and horror. White looks at Hitchcock through the eyes of a child, a murderer, the filmmaker, womanizer, fat man, an admired leader, family man, voyeur, entertainer, pioneer, Londoner, and man of God. Fascinating. White reveals layer upon layer of this man’s complicated through these chapters. One of the drawbacks of audiobook versions is that I did not see the included 32-page photo album. The e-book and print versions of this title do, however, share this collection. On a side note, I never did pick up my college degree. I gave birth to my third daughter instead. Though I can’t hang my darling child on my wall with a tassel, the exchange was well worth the effort and lifetime. I could go back and finish. My daughters continue their life-long encouragement. But why? I’d rather focus my time and efforts on writing a cozy mystery series. [email protected] [email protected] Happy are those who respect the Lord and obey him. You will enjoy what you work for, and you will be blessed with good things. Psalm 128: 1-2

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jerry James

    I am somewhat of a Hitchcock biography junkie and this is the best one I’ve ever read. Not only is it the best Hitchcock bio, it is one of the best bios in general! Most biographies tend to follow a chronological template and while there’s nothing wrong with that, they often neglect the subject’s later life. They focus on the formative and exciting ‘hot’ years when the subject accomplished their claim to fame. The subject’s life is dutifully followed through whatever tragedy or triumph is most in I am somewhat of a Hitchcock biography junkie and this is the best one I’ve ever read. Not only is it the best Hitchcock bio, it is one of the best bios in general! Most biographies tend to follow a chronological template and while there’s nothing wrong with that, they often neglect the subject’s later life. They focus on the formative and exciting ‘hot’ years when the subject accomplished their claim to fame. The subject’s life is dutifully followed through whatever tragedy or triumph is most interesting for a time, and if a catharsis is included then that is obviously showcased, but often a healthy chunk of their life is just glossed over (the ‘unexciting’ part). And by doing this the subject’s life often comes off unfairly as depressing to the reader especially in the last chapters. When bios do it right they give the subject’s WHOLE life, even the later years, full consideration. Two film bios in the past year about music artists did just that: Tina and Zappa. These gave wonderful attention to the artist’s FULL lives. White’s solution/innovation is to approach the subject’s life in a non-chronological fashion and focus on different aspects that round out the person. In Hitchcock’s case White writes about “twelve lives” such as: “Tho Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up,” “The Auteur,” “The Womanizer,” “The Dandy,” “The Pioneer.” These angles overlap each other and flesh out a more complete picture of Hitchcock and his ENTIRE life. The good and the bad have better context. As White writes in the intro, “…contradictions have encouraged astonishingly diverse interpretations of Hitchcock. The reading of him as lecherous ogre competes with the image of Hitchcock the uxorious husband. Hitchcock the brooding artist is countered by Hitchcock the vaudevillian. The dyspeptic misanthrope identified by some contrasts with the hopeless romantic that others recognize when they delve into Hitchcock’s filmography.” His mythology, his genius, his flaws become more human when you deal with him as different components that make up a whole. You come away knowing him as a full human being, and that’s exactly what a biography should do. Most surprisingly though, this approach also allowed a freer and deeper exploration into the details/technique of Hitchcock’s craft as a director (something many other bios have failed at). I am excited for other biographers to follow White’s approach. It seems to be a much better and more satisfying way to write a biography.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    Alfred Hitchcock directed over fifty movies. Many of them immediate box office hits like Psycho, To Catch a Thief and Rebecca. Some missed the mark, and some savaged by critics that could have ended his career. Edward White does an excellent job of weaving Hitchcock’s personal life and career. He manages to separate the rumors from facts but including both. Hitchcock always thought of himself the way White labeled his first “life”: The boy who could not Grow Up. He created a trope of a cameo in Alfred Hitchcock directed over fifty movies. Many of them immediate box office hits like Psycho, To Catch a Thief and Rebecca. Some missed the mark, and some savaged by critics that could have ended his career. Edward White does an excellent job of weaving Hitchcock’s personal life and career. He manages to separate the rumors from facts but including both. Hitchcock always thought of himself the way White labeled his first “life”: The boy who could not Grow Up. He created a trope of a cameo in each project. He was a hotel guest leaving his room as Tippi Hedren entered her room. A poster boy for a weight loss program on a newspaper floating by the characters in “Life Boat.” He found his soul mate in Alma Reville and, along with his daughter, Patricia, referred to them as the gang of three. Alma was an amazing cook, and this led to calorie-loaded, five course meals and expensive wines. This led to health problems for both later in life. However, in today’s world, he would have been called out. For being sexist and racist. His heroines had to be blonde, who looked virginal. He trashed Latin women and Marilyn Monroe for faces that “showed too much sex.” He would also have been a target for the “Me Too Movement” since actresses and staff now accuse him of sexual harassment. They never spoke out when the incidents happened because of bribes and threats. The male writers who were successful on their own, such as John Steinbeck, Evan Hunter and others were constantly asked to change the script until it got a “Hitchcockian” feel. Some had their work rewritten after they left the project. His career that spans from 1919 to 1976. There there is no doubt that his love of movies never waned and was always looking forward to his next project. I would recommend this book. A biography of a man, his career and family with world history thrown in. It includes film evolving with additions – sound, color, television. 50 years of industry changes and Alfred Hitchcock weathered them all. It is also a tale of never giving up and holding on to a vision. Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy for my honest review

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Owens

    Subtitle: A Fresh, Innovative Interpretation of the Life, Work, and Lasting Influence of the Twentieth Century’s Most Iconic Filmmaker I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This book isn’t a pure biography, in that it doesn’t proceed through the subject’s life in any organized manner. Instead, this book is an examination of Alfred Hitchcock’s life in terms of twelve different aspects of his life that could be seen as Subtitle: A Fresh, Innovative Interpretation of the Life, Work, and Lasting Influence of the Twentieth Century’s Most Iconic Filmmaker I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This book isn’t a pure biography, in that it doesn’t proceed through the subject’s life in any organized manner. Instead, this book is an examination of Alfred Hitchcock’s life in terms of twelve different aspects of his life that could be seen as defining him as an artist, celebrity, and person. By necessity, it consists of a lot of biographical information. I won’t go into the details of all twelve aspects here, but will instead highlight a few of them: The Murderer – Many of Hitchcock’s films feature at least one murder. It was interesting to be able to track the murders and Hitchcock’s presentation of them across the body of his work. The Womanizer – Hitchcock was known for being a bit difficult with the actresses featured in his films and for crafting films that put his female characters into extremely stressful situations. He also believed that he made films that appealed specifically to female viewers. The Fat Man – This section examined Hitchcock’s weight through the years, including his attempts to lose weight, and his self-deprecating humor concerning his weight. The Entertainer – At the peak of his career, Hitchcock was considered a bigger box office draw for his films than the actors that starred in them. As a result, often was featured in the movie trailers and commercials for them. This section also looked at how Hitchcock became a multi-media star, with his television shows, books, and magazines that used his name to sell copies. I gave The Twelve Lifetimes of Alfred Hitchcock four stars on Goodreads. As a result of learning about a wider variety of Hitchcock films, I put a couple of DVDs on hold at our library. One is North By Northwest, and the other is 2012’s Hitchcock, which tells the story behind the making of Psycho.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    While dozens of books on Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) already exist, Edward White ("The Tastemaker: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America") sidesteps familiarity with an inventive and clever new way to present his biography and critical assessment of the filmmaker. Rather than tell Hitchcock's life in chronological order, White has written 12 lengthy chapters, each presenting a different aspect of his subject. "Only when all twelve are seen together will the full picture be complete," While dozens of books on Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) already exist, Edward White ("The Tastemaker: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America") sidesteps familiarity with an inventive and clever new way to present his biography and critical assessment of the filmmaker. Rather than tell Hitchcock's life in chronological order, White has written 12 lengthy chapters, each presenting a different aspect of his subject. "Only when all twelve are seen together will the full picture be complete," he writes. The chapters (or "lives") begins with "The Boy Who Couldn't Grow Up," which examines Hitchcock's childhood phobias that seemingly lasted his entire life. "The Murderer" posits "Hitchcock had a lifelong fascination with cruelty and violence that fueled his creativity." "The Auteur" shows how Hitchcock's persona changed after decades of being regarded as merely a Hollywood hit-maker until French critics declared him an "artiste" in the mid-1960s. One of the more fascinating chapters is "The Womanizer," which looks at Hitchcock's wildly conflicted treatment of women on and off screen. Hitchcock was, White writes, "caught between feelings of admiration and resentment, identification and estrangement, an instinct to worship and a desire to control." Other fascinating chapters include "The Voyeur," "The Entertainer," "The Dandy" and "The Fat Man," which poignantly examines his lifelong relationship with food ("the source of joy and companionship, disgust and shame"). The final chapter begins in 1979 with Hitchcock in failing health and closing down his office at Universal studios. "Life away from work proved an oxymoron," writes White. White's clever, authoritative and opinionated critical biography of Hitchcock is a treat for film buffs. Edward White's outstanding Alfred Hitchcock biography divides his epic life and film output into 12 insightful and fascinating chapters, creating a vibrant portrait.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    In The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward White employs a unique approach to discussing the life and work of Alfred Hitchcock. Instead of the expected chronological listing of events, evaluating both his work and personal development along the path of a lifetime, White compartmentalizes attributes of the man and his work into 12 categories: "The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up”; “The Murderer”; “The Auteur”; “The Womanizer”; “The Fat Man”; “The Dandy”; “The Family Man”; “The Voyeur”; “The Enterta In The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward White employs a unique approach to discussing the life and work of Alfred Hitchcock. Instead of the expected chronological listing of events, evaluating both his work and personal development along the path of a lifetime, White compartmentalizes attributes of the man and his work into 12 categories: "The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up”; “The Murderer”; “The Auteur”; “The Womanizer”; “The Fat Man”; “The Dandy”; “The Family Man”; “The Voyeur”; “The Entertainer”; “The Pioneer”; “The Londoner”; “The Man of God.” Each section covering the span of his life and career from the point of view of that one characteristic. While much of what Mr. White writes has been written about and discussed by others (he freely gives credit to his sources), there are a few tidbits and food for thought that will engage even the most learned Hitchcock devotee. By simply threading together personal experiences and career milestones with these twelve individually colored threads, you see the whole tapestry in a new light. I must confess that I have spent many hours in the dark watching Hitchcock films, have read many books and written analytical papers on the works of Alfred Hitchcock. I have a BA in Radio, Television and Film and have always had an affinity for his work. This bond was made even greater when I discovered we share the same birthday (luckily, different years). I write this sitting in front of a gallery of Hitchcock artwork collected and given to me through the years. All of this is to say that I would gladly have this book sitting along the many others I own on Alfred Hitchcock. It is an entertaining and informative read for both the interested filmgoer and film students alike.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristi | Hidden Staircase |

    This book has a very interesting take on the biography format, which I really enjoyed. Instead of just laying out Alfred Hitchcock’s life (or film career) in a timeline fashion, it is instead separated into twelve chapters, each of which look at a certain aspect of Hitch’s personality, and the impact that had on his films. It is set up so the early chapters coincide more with his early life, and later chapters the later years, so it is somewhat sequential. I found this format very engaging and li This book has a very interesting take on the biography format, which I really enjoyed. Instead of just laying out Alfred Hitchcock’s life (or film career) in a timeline fashion, it is instead separated into twelve chapters, each of which look at a certain aspect of Hitch’s personality, and the impact that had on his films. It is set up so the early chapters coincide more with his early life, and later chapters the later years, so it is somewhat sequential. I found this format very engaging and liked to exploring how his films and television reflect some of these different personality traits. I didn’t know a lot about Hitchcock as a person before listening to this biography. The author lays out the good and the bad throughout the novel. I really enjoyed some of the deeper dives on the different films, whether it was casting choices, or filming techniques, or what drove Hitch to create certain films. One of my favorite chapters was “The Dandy”, which focuses on Hitchcock’s sense of style both as a person and in the design and costuming of his films. I liked the narrator; I think this is an enjoyable book to either listen to or read. If you want to know more about a specific movie, this may not be the right book for you as you can’t just open up to a single chapter discussing The Birds for instance. Many of his films are discussed across different chapters, as more than one “life” was an influence in their creation. This is a great read for movie buffs, and of course fans of Hitchcock. I realized as I was listening to this book that I’ve only seen a very small number of Hitchcock films (all of which I love), and it’s been many years since I caught a rerun of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I definitely need to remedy that.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cindi

    I would like to thank the author, publisher and Net Galley for providing a free ARC e-audiobook in exchange for my honest review. I listened to the audio book performed by Garie Marshall (Narrator). I think this was my first book narrated by him, and found his voice to be easy to listen to. There were a few stutters in the playback, but I suspect that was more the download/playback than the narrator's speaking voice, so I would certainly look for other books by this narrator. Full disclosure - I L I would like to thank the author, publisher and Net Galley for providing a free ARC e-audiobook in exchange for my honest review. I listened to the audio book performed by Garie Marshall (Narrator). I think this was my first book narrated by him, and found his voice to be easy to listen to. There were a few stutters in the playback, but I suspect that was more the download/playback than the narrator's speaking voice, so I would certainly look for other books by this narrator. Full disclosure - I LOVE Alfred Hitchcock movies! When I saw this book was being released, I immediately put it on my Wishlist, and was very excited to not only get approved for an ARC, but for the audio version. Though I've grown up watching Hitchcock's movies, TV shows and reading his magazine (for many years, it seemed to be the ONLY source of good mysteries and spooky stories!) , I never really looked into his actual life. After listening to this book, maybe he wasn't the greatest guy. But - what he could do with a story was magical. And, given the times he lived in, I don't really feel like it's right to judge him by today's life and standards. I really enjoyed listening to this book, and I think I will look for a print copy when it comes out, as a reference for some portions about different movies I've really enjoyed - hearing the process behind the big scenes and story lines is just exciting to me. I have no problem giving this a 4 star review. I would certainly recommend this book to Hitchcock fans or people interested in the history of movies and film making. Love him or hate him in his daily life, Hitchcock was a master for his storytelling.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jody Blanchette

    Synopsis via Goodreads: In The Twelve Lives Of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward White explores the Hitchcock phenomenon-what defines it, how it was invented, what it reveals about the man at its core, and how its legacy continues to shape our cultural world. This book is separated into twelve parts, starting from life to death with everything and anything in between. Hitchcock's layers are stripped down in each chapter, leaving nothing out. This book gives you every fact about his life, his work, his re Synopsis via Goodreads: In The Twelve Lives Of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward White explores the Hitchcock phenomenon-what defines it, how it was invented, what it reveals about the man at its core, and how its legacy continues to shape our cultural world. This book is separated into twelve parts, starting from life to death with everything and anything in between. Hitchcock's layers are stripped down in each chapter, leaving nothing out. This book gives you every fact about his life, his work, his relationships and his quirks. Prepare yourself for a fact overload. Alfred Hitchcock's films were a staple of my youth. I watch the Birds with my dad countless times, and will always think of it as the scariest movie ever made. I admired his films, but never knew too much about Hitchcock as a person, or director. After listening to this book, I dont think there is anything left to wonder. I'm not sure if I would have liked Alfred. He was an egotistical, grumpy, glory hogging womanizer. But you don't have to like someone to appreciate their talent or genius. He was a pioneer of his time, and branded his style to become the thing of legends. I read this book as an audiobook, and I'm glad I did. With insane amount of information pumped out, if I had been sitting with the book I would have walked away a few times. It was better to have Hitchcock's story told to me, like listening to a documentary. The narrator has a pleasant voice, maybe slightly monotone.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    My thanks to NetGalley and W. W. Norton & Company for an advanced copy of this book. Edmund White in The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense has written one of the most interesting studies of the director that I've read. Informative, not gossipy, with plenty of facts and interviews and interpretations. Mr. White covers Mr. Hitchcock's entire cover from his start writing lines for silent films to his last movie in the 1970'. Even some of the movies that have been My thanks to NetGalley and W. W. Norton & Company for an advanced copy of this book. Edmund White in The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense has written one of the most interesting studies of the director that I've read. Informative, not gossipy, with plenty of facts and interviews and interpretations. Mr. White covers Mr. Hitchcock's entire cover from his start writing lines for silent films to his last movie in the 1970'. Even some of the movies that have been thought lost to time are examined, which is sad to think that such a great director could have lost works. Each chapter is devoted to a different theme, such as "The Dandy" or "The Londoner", and covers the director's career from that view. The book shows a different side to the cold maker of thrillers fat fellow that seems so familiar, presenting a man who serial dieted, loved his wife, and fashion, but maybe did not like himself. His treatment of his leading women is examined, and found to be lacking in some areas, possibly criminal in others. A compelling biography about a very complex man.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julesreads

    I don’t read biographies almost ever. But this one felt perfect for its kind. An incredibly well researched book, streamlining and synthesizing all things “Hitch” from a lot of long books about the famed director. The “twelve lives” are all very interesting and follow a nonlinear look into Hitchcock’s life and his films. It isn’t a book of criticism, but traces of criticism find there way in. White is able to give his opinion without dominating the book with it and in fact goes harder towards op I don’t read biographies almost ever. But this one felt perfect for its kind. An incredibly well researched book, streamlining and synthesizing all things “Hitch” from a lot of long books about the famed director. The “twelve lives” are all very interesting and follow a nonlinear look into Hitchcock’s life and his films. It isn’t a book of criticism, but traces of criticism find there way in. White is able to give his opinion without dominating the book with it and in fact goes harder towards opening up the oft-repeated anecdotes and assumptions of Hitchcock to logical critique and/or questioning and/or complication. It is a winning concept, this book, and I must say I loved it. I simply must say it! When the cards on down, Hitchcock is my favorite filmmaker. So I had a bias in being interested. But this is a modern read, in that it is easygoing and gets out before the subject has a chance to get worn out. Come and get it, piggies! Suuuuu-eee!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Audiobook narrated by Qarie Marshall. Done clear and concise which made it very enjoyable to listen to. 50 years and 53 films. My favorite was Rebecca. Have you seen it? It was and still is a black and white film. That in my opinion is one of the greatest films I ever seen. I was a young adult and loved it. Anxiety, fear, paranoia, guilt and shame are the emotional engines that drove his films. He was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather. But first and foremost he was a talented director Audiobook narrated by Qarie Marshall. Done clear and concise which made it very enjoyable to listen to. 50 years and 53 films. My favorite was Rebecca. Have you seen it? It was and still is a black and white film. That in my opinion is one of the greatest films I ever seen. I was a young adult and loved it. Anxiety, fear, paranoia, guilt and shame are the emotional engines that drove his films. He was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather. But first and foremost he was a talented director. This book explores Hitchcock and the relationship with his films and: • Women’s roles in his films • His relationships with screenwriters • His body image and the public • His dedication to clothing • voyeurism • Catholicism I throughly enjoyed this and recommend it if you love AH. Thanks Dreamscape Media via Netgalley. I’ve voluntarily given my review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Audio ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I used to love anything Hitchcock. Each day at 11 and 11:30, Alfred Hitchcock Presents on TV Land was a must for me as a kid. But in a recent conversation with my mom, I said, "I don't think I could enjoy him anymore, knowing what I know now about his treatment of female actors." So when I saw this book on NetGalley, I read reviews to make sure that it didn't shy away from this side of Hitchcock. I loved this book, and I loved th Audio ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I used to love anything Hitchcock. Each day at 11 and 11:30, Alfred Hitchcock Presents on TV Land was a must for me as a kid. But in a recent conversation with my mom, I said, "I don't think I could enjoy him anymore, knowing what I know now about his treatment of female actors." So when I saw this book on NetGalley, I read reviews to make sure that it didn't shy away from this side of Hitchcock. I loved this book, and I loved the structure of it: each chapter centering on a different aspect of the famed director. I don't think that a straight timeline-based autobiography would work nearly as well. The whole time neither glossing over or making excuses for the more complicated aspects of his life and legacy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mystic Miraflores

    This is a detailed biography of a very complex genius who had many talents as well as many flaws. I remember as a child growing up in the 1960s watching "The Birds", "Rope", and "Rear Window" as well as the Alfred Hitchcock television series, with my late father, who was a fan of mysteries and thrillers. He passed that interest on to me. During the schoolhouse scene in "The Birds", I was absolutely terrified as the children in the movie were the same age as I was. I enjoyed this book but because This is a detailed biography of a very complex genius who had many talents as well as many flaws. I remember as a child growing up in the 1960s watching "The Birds", "Rope", and "Rear Window" as well as the Alfred Hitchcock television series, with my late father, who was a fan of mysteries and thrillers. He passed that interest on to me. During the schoolhouse scene in "The Birds", I was absolutely terrified as the children in the movie were the same age as I was. I enjoyed this book but because of its sheer length and density, often there were repetitions of the same type of information in various chapters. This book has whetted my appetite for more information on Alma. I know there is a 2003/2004 book co-written by her daughter, Pat. I may look for that book now.

  26. 5 out of 5

    David Sterritt

    Both the title and subtitle of “The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense” suggest that Edward White has written a sort-of-biography of Hitchcock, and the first parts are very much an agreeably scrambled rehash of material that aficionados already know very well. But chapters in the middle and last portions – viewing Hitch as a dandy, an entertainer, a Londoner, a pioneer – are original and strong, and the concluding chapter on “The Man of God” is worth the price Both the title and subtitle of “The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense” suggest that Edward White has written a sort-of-biography of Hitchcock, and the first parts are very much an agreeably scrambled rehash of material that aficionados already know very well. But chapters in the middle and last portions – viewing Hitch as a dandy, an entertainer, a Londoner, a pioneer – are original and strong, and the concluding chapter on “The Man of God” is worth the price of the volume by itself. Books about Hitch keep pouring out – hey, I’ve written two myself – and this one demonstrates the ongoing vigor of the topic when it’s handled with skill and intelligence. Fine work.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Betts

    Edward White dissects Alred Hitchcock's film legacy into twelve lives and twelve chapters. Each chapter highlights a unique aspect of the filmmaker's life and brilliance in cinematography. It was very interesting to me to see the parallels in his filmmaking to the various aspects of his life. I was also intrigued by the symbolism and meticulous details Hitchcock added to his films. It was stated that one might watch one of his films twenty times and still not see all of the small foreshadowings. Q Edward White dissects Alred Hitchcock's film legacy into twelve lives and twelve chapters. Each chapter highlights a unique aspect of the filmmaker's life and brilliance in cinematography. It was very interesting to me to see the parallels in his filmmaking to the various aspects of his life. I was also intrigued by the symbolism and meticulous details Hitchcock added to his films. It was stated that one might watch one of his films twenty times and still not see all of the small foreshadowings. Qarie Marshall, the narrator for this audiobook, presents a nice overall tone while reading the text.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Rose

    The 12 lives of Alfred Hitchcock is well written with some new insights into Hitchcock's life and legacy. I listened to the audiobook and it was well narrated. It kept me fully engaged and I enjoyed listening to this biography. The only part I thought wasn't clear was the accusations of impropriety with some of the females he directed. It made it clear that there was no evidence and that several of the females had reasons to react the way they did to get back at Hitchcock for ruining there caree The 12 lives of Alfred Hitchcock is well written with some new insights into Hitchcock's life and legacy. I listened to the audiobook and it was well narrated. It kept me fully engaged and I enjoyed listening to this biography. The only part I thought wasn't clear was the accusations of impropriety with some of the females he directed. It made it clear that there was no evidence and that several of the females had reasons to react the way they did to get back at Hitchcock for ruining there careers. I just reviewed The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock by Edward White. #TheTwelveLivesofAlfredHitchcock #NetGalley [NetGalley URL]Edit

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael Samerdyke

    A good, concise, and insightful book on Hitchcock. It covers 12 aspects of HItchcock's life and public persona. White's comments are sound and convincing. He devotes time to the British phase of Hitchcock's life and career, something that is usually given short shrift. There were actually a few points I wish he had expanded on a bit, but this is one of the better books on Hitchcock I have read in the last few years. Highly recommended, even to those who have read a Hitchcock biography or study alre A good, concise, and insightful book on Hitchcock. It covers 12 aspects of HItchcock's life and public persona. White's comments are sound and convincing. He devotes time to the British phase of Hitchcock's life and career, something that is usually given short shrift. There were actually a few points I wish he had expanded on a bit, but this is one of the better books on Hitchcock I have read in the last few years. Highly recommended, even to those who have read a Hitchcock biography or study already.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Counsel182

    A great book on a great subject. Like Cecil B. Demille is said to have remarked when someone praised him about the Ten Commandments,”With such great material, how could I go wrong?” White looks at Hitchcock through 12 Lives -The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up -The Murder -The Auteur -The Womanizer -The Fat Man -The Dandy -The Voyeur -The Entertainer -The Pioneer -The Londoner -The Man of God Each chapter is rewarding and nuanced with great stories as only Hitchcock could tell and White brilliantly puts together in A great book on a great subject. Like Cecil B. Demille is said to have remarked when someone praised him about the Ten Commandments,”With such great material, how could I go wrong?” White looks at Hitchcock through 12 Lives -The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up -The Murder -The Auteur -The Womanizer -The Fat Man -The Dandy -The Voyeur -The Entertainer -The Pioneer -The Londoner -The Man of God Each chapter is rewarding and nuanced with great stories as only Hitchcock could tell and White brilliantly puts together in this fine book.

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