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Arnold: an unauthorized biography

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As a bodybuilding superstar, Arnold Schwarzenegger won the Mr. Olympia crown an unprecedented seven times. As the star of The Terminator, Running Man, and Twins, he became a box-office sensation. From his highly publicized fued with Sylvester Stallone to his dazzling marriage to Maria Shriver, millions of fans have followed the meteoric career of Arnold. And now, based on As a bodybuilding superstar, Arnold Schwarzenegger won the Mr. Olympia crown an unprecedented seven times. As the star of The Terminator, Running Man, and Twins, he became a box-office sensation. From his highly publicized fued with Sylvester Stallone to his dazzling marriage to Maria Shriver, millions of fans have followed the meteoric career of Arnold. And now, based on hundreds of exclusive, confidential interviews, this first biography presents an in-depth portrait of the controversial man behind the legend. 16-page photo insert.


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As a bodybuilding superstar, Arnold Schwarzenegger won the Mr. Olympia crown an unprecedented seven times. As the star of The Terminator, Running Man, and Twins, he became a box-office sensation. From his highly publicized fued with Sylvester Stallone to his dazzling marriage to Maria Shriver, millions of fans have followed the meteoric career of Arnold. And now, based on As a bodybuilding superstar, Arnold Schwarzenegger won the Mr. Olympia crown an unprecedented seven times. As the star of The Terminator, Running Man, and Twins, he became a box-office sensation. From his highly publicized fued with Sylvester Stallone to his dazzling marriage to Maria Shriver, millions of fans have followed the meteoric career of Arnold. And now, based on hundreds of exclusive, confidential interviews, this first biography presents an in-depth portrait of the controversial man behind the legend. 16-page photo insert.

30 review for Arnold: an unauthorized biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    Changed my way of thinking about thr great Arnie

  2. 4 out of 5

    George Ilsley

    A very readable biography of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s early years published in 1990. Leigh is able to see in the 1980s Arnold’s political ambitions (he later became Governor of California). This bio was controversial at the time, and Arnold worked to suppress it, just like he often tried to manipulate his press coverage. However, in terms of what is considered a scandal today, and in light of Arnold’s subsequent scandalous behaviour, this book (as many reviewers here note) paints Arnold in a symp A very readable biography of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s early years published in 1990. Leigh is able to see in the 1980s Arnold’s political ambitions (he later became Governor of California). This bio was controversial at the time, and Arnold worked to suppress it, just like he often tried to manipulate his press coverage. However, in terms of what is considered a scandal today, and in light of Arnold’s subsequent scandalous behaviour, this book (as many reviewers here note) paints Arnold in a sympathetic light. The “triumph of the will” is something many people admire. Here’s a quote from the epilogue about the nature of heroes in the success-hungry eighties: “For, like Donald Trump, [Arnold] is representative of a new brand of hero, a twentieth-century idol who has created a religion of self and is celebrated for what he owns, for his ruthlessness, ambition, and financial success, rather than what he has done for humanity.” Prescient, no?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    Definitely not flattering, and I can clearly see why Arnold worked so hard to suppress it. I read this purely for entertainment, out of curiosity of the subject, and fully knowing that it would not be like reading David McCullough, but it was definitely very enjoyable to read and I enjoyed Leigh's writing style. It was engaging and well-written and researched, but with none of the smarmy, gossip column tone of many celebrity biographies (in my opinion anyway). Also, while it was clearly from a l Definitely not flattering, and I can clearly see why Arnold worked so hard to suppress it. I read this purely for entertainment, out of curiosity of the subject, and fully knowing that it would not be like reading David McCullough, but it was definitely very enjoyable to read and I enjoyed Leigh's writing style. It was engaging and well-written and researched, but with none of the smarmy, gossip column tone of many celebrity biographies (in my opinion anyway). Also, while it was clearly from a layperson's perspective and not a professional, the peeks into Schwarzenegger's pysche/psychology, or at least what Leigh's analysis of it was, were fascinating, and if anything served to make the subject more sympathetic or understandable than he would be otherwise. An alcoholic, authoritarian father and lack of love in childhood certainly doesn't produce an identical outcome in every person who experiences it, but I don't think anyone can deny that it will have some effect. In Schwarzenegger's case there are many connections to be made from his childhood to the man as an adult, and I couldn't deny after reading that his upbringing had a great impact on his life and both his admirable and less than admirable qualities and behaviors.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Willy

    A fascinating biography of Arnold Schwarzenegger that shows the depths of his ambition, tenacity, and occasional ruthlessness and competitiveness. The author doesn't shy away from controversy: Arnold's alleged early steroid use in his teens, his womanizing tendencies, and his ruthlessness in competition, but also doesn't come across as a journalist slinging mud for the sake of it. A balanced read. Arnold really is the "trumph of the will", a self-made man who, from the beginning, had his eyes on A fascinating biography of Arnold Schwarzenegger that shows the depths of his ambition, tenacity, and occasional ruthlessness and competitiveness. The author doesn't shy away from controversy: Arnold's alleged early steroid use in his teens, his womanizing tendencies, and his ruthlessness in competition, but also doesn't come across as a journalist slinging mud for the sake of it. A balanced read. Arnold really is the "trumph of the will", a self-made man who, from the beginning, had his eyes on the crown. The author didn't touch on this specifically but Arnold also comes off as hypomanic or having a hyperthymic personality: high energy, reduced need for sleep, extreme self-confidence, desire to be the center of attention, high libido, consistently reckless, etc. In person almost everyone describes him as immensely charismatic, charming, and fun; but willing (especially when he was a teen) to use pranks and verbal wit to socially dominate others. And yet he is also consistently generous with friends, loyal beyond convenience for many of them, and had always been involved with a variety of altruistic organizations and causes, some that were only uncovered through the diligent work of the author-- he didn't publicize some of his good deeds. In all, he comes across as a very successful bundle of contradictions: reckless but calculating, seemingly callous but occasionally vulnerable, and a physically imposing specimen that also impressed people with his intelligence. What a cool dude...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Arlenea Higginbotham

    Pure grit Arnold, who grew up poor,knew he didn’t want to stay poor. He wasn’t afraid to work hard for what he wanted. He knew the recipe to success is push past failures and to keep on pushing. He may have been a bit cruel at times, and I think it is because Arnold want s to be the one with the “power” in any crowd or group. He will do anything to get the power, goal,attention, or money he wants.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bertalan

    Easily one of the best biographies ever written, the author gives us the story of a man whose ambition was only surpassed by his willpower to achieve his dreams at any cost. An added bonus is that Arnold only got elected Governor well after the book was published, so one can apply the insights gained from the book to events that happened afterwards.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andre Korkush

    If this book was supposed to paint a bad image of Schwarzenegger or show his evil side or something, it failed miserably. Arnold is still the man. I did learn some things about the man that I did not know before so it was pretty interesting at times.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Heffernan

    Arnold Schwarzenegger has always fascinated me, first as a movie star, then as a fitness role model, then finally as a politcian and businessman... but always first and foremost, I thought, as a person. Here's the kicker. I didn't know the first thing about Arnold. I was an Arnold fan but never had a clue who he was. No one does. No one ever will. But this book is the closest that you're ever going to get. Despite taking heavy resistance from Arnold's far-from-inconsiderable friends in the circle Arnold Schwarzenegger has always fascinated me, first as a movie star, then as a fitness role model, then finally as a politcian and businessman... but always first and foremost, I thought, as a person. Here's the kicker. I didn't know the first thing about Arnold. I was an Arnold fan but never had a clue who he was. No one does. No one ever will. But this book is the closest that you're ever going to get. Despite taking heavy resistance from Arnold's far-from-inconsiderable friends in the circles of politics, entertainment, business, and every other sphere of influence where true power resides, Wendy Leigh deftly manages to present in this book a well-researched and thorough accounting and analysis of Arnold not only as a boy and a man, but also as a myth and a legend-- and his all-consuming need to be both of those things. Arnold's story is engaging and at times almost impossible to believe. His charm, his charisma, his near-perfect genetics, and perhaps most importantly, his incredible luck, are overshadowed by only one thing: his overwhelming need for control. Of everyone and everything. From his body to his family to his meticulously honed and sculpted public image, Arnold is a modern pygmalion in every sense, and as one of Leigh's publicist sources mentions, "one of the more finely-tuned control freaks" she'd ever met after a long career in Hollywood-- and that's saying something. This book is gripping and engaging and, most of all, completely convincing. It is the one biography that the Arnold camp tried the hardest to supress, and therefore probably the one nearest to the truth. Well worth reading to any fan of movies or bodybuilding, but also, really, to anyone interested in the mechanics of human nature and how it can be manipulated. I truly wish that someday Leigh might consider a follow-up to this volume that chronicles not the great rise of Arnold, but instead the great fall. He had everything going so perfectly. He had such great field vision, such deft dexterity. He was juggling so many balls, so handily. What made him lose his grip at the end? I guess we may never know. One word of warning: if you're a die-hard Arnold fan, if he's your personal hero and inspiration and you just love the guy, don't read this book. You'll probably be happier with the image of him that you already had.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ant Bailey

    I am a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger for what he has done for the sport of bodybuilding and for his cheesy 80's movies. This book tells all about Arnie's early life in Austria, his rise to fame, womanising ways and his marriage to Maria Shriver. If you want the true story about Arnold then this is the book for you. I am a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger for what he has done for the sport of bodybuilding and for his cheesy 80's movies. This book tells all about Arnie's early life in Austria, his rise to fame, womanising ways and his marriage to Maria Shriver. If you want the true story about Arnold then this is the book for you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Bamber

    I admire Arnold's drive. I admire Arnold's drive. The author did a good job showing the multiple aspects of Arnold's character. This book makes me want to read more books by this author and more books about Arnold. I admire Arnold's drive. I admire Arnold's drive. The author did a good job showing the multiple aspects of Arnold's character. This book makes me want to read more books by this author and more books about Arnold.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    There was some interesting material in the book that kept me going more than 1/2 way through, but I gave up. I didn't like the college paper on Arnold style. I didn't like how he treated people. I didn't like much, but I found the beginning interesting. There was some interesting material in the book that kept me going more than 1/2 way through, but I gave up. I didn't like the college paper on Arnold style. I didn't like how he treated people. I didn't like much, but I found the beginning interesting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    A very interesting book about Arnold Schwarzenegger, looking into the life of his family, his hometown, his bodybuilding career, his film career, his relationships and marriage; so much seems missing since this a 1990 release, but it shows Arnold's life has been a great success story. A very interesting book about Arnold Schwarzenegger, looking into the life of his family, his hometown, his bodybuilding career, his film career, his relationships and marriage; so much seems missing since this a 1990 release, but it shows Arnold's life has been a great success story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ibramhany

    great info on the oak

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    I'm giving this book 5-stars because I've been a fan of Arnold for so long. Like him or hate him, he's pretty impressive. I'm giving this book 5-stars because I've been a fan of Arnold for so long. Like him or hate him, he's pretty impressive.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tom Hartmann

  17. 4 out of 5

    Weaponisedfunk

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marcelo

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gail Lindon

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Schoffman

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nik

  22. 5 out of 5

    John

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alonso Garza

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cerillium

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nick Pakhomov

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jasper

  28. 5 out of 5

    Toby Field

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rp

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

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