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    American Original: A Life of Will Rogers (Hardback) By (author) Ray Robinson

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    DescriptionHailed by The New York Times as "America's Aristophanes," Will Rogers was one of this century's most astute and beloved humorists. If as he often remarked, he never met a man he didn't like, it is also true that Rogers never met a man he didn't like to make fun of. Everyone from congressmen and Presidents to Hollywood movie moguls and wealthy industrialists bore the brunt of his gently lacerating wit-and seemed, mostly, to be charmed in the process. So popular did Rogers become-through dozens of films, a daily column that ran for nine years in newspapers across the country, and countless lectures and stage performances-that he was often urged to run for Congress and even the Presidency. Upon receiving a mock appointment as Congressman-at-Large for the whole United States, Rogers protested, "I regret the disgrace that's been thrust upon me here tonight. I've tried to live my whole life so that I would never become a congressman." In American Original, Ray Robinson chronicles the trajectory of Will Rogers' remarkable life. Written with engaging immediacy and filled with a wealth of delightful anecdotes, this lively portrait follows Rogers from his childhood in the Indian Territory of what is now Oklahoma, to his first spellbinding lariat performances in the Wild West shows (where he would often lasso prominent audience members and drag them on stage), to his stardom in vaudeville and the Ziegfeld Follies, to his early silent movies and the later "talkies," and finally to his astonishing influence as a "cowboy philosopher" columnist read by over 40 million Americans. Far more than other biographers, Robinson excels at conveying Rogers' impact as a political commentator ("I belong to no organized political party. I am a Democrat.") and his great success as an actor in Hollywood, where he was the leading star of Fox Films. And along the way, Robinson paints a vibrant portrait of one of America's most colorful eras. We follow the early evolution of modern entertainment, enjoy vivid snapshots of W.C. Fields, Charlie Chaplin, Florenz Ziegfeld, Eddie Cantor, Samuel Goldwyn, Shirley Temple, and John Ford, and, perhaps most important, witness the major political events of the era through Will Rogers' uniquely perceptive eyes. American Original succeeds most appealingly in bringing Will Rogers before us with all the spontaneity, intimacy, and honesty of a live performance. In it we are given front row seats to the life of a character unabashedly American and unforgettably original.


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  • Full bibliographic data for American Original

    Title
    American Original
    Subtitle
    A Life of Will Rogers
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Ray Robinson
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 320
    Width: 166 mm
    Height: 245 mm
    Thickness: 27 mm
    Weight: 667 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780195086935
    ISBN 10: 0195086937
    Classifications

    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1KBB
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC subject category V2: BG
    BIC E4L: PER
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T4.1
    BIC subject category V2: HBLW
    LC subject heading: ,
    BIC subject category V2: HBJK
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 11600
    LC subject heading:
    B&T General Subject: 170
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 03
    Ingram Subject Code: BA
    Libri: I-BA
    DC22: B
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 01
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 01
    BISAC V2.8: BIO005000
    B&T Merchandise Category: POD
    LC subject heading:
    BIC subject category V2: ASZH
    BISAC V2.8: BIO025000
    DC21: 792.7028092
    DC22: 792.7/028/092
    B&T Approval Code: A07010000
    LC subject heading: , ,
    BIC subject category V2: 1KBB
    LC classification: PN2287.R74 R53 1996
    LC subject heading: ,
    LC classification: PN2287.R74
    Thema V1.0: DNB, ATX, NHK
    Edition statement
    New ed.
    Illustrations note
    16 pp halftones
    Publisher
    Oxford University Press Inc
    Imprint name
    Oxford University Press Inc
    Publication date
    25 April 1996
    Publication City/Country
    New York
    Author Information
    Ray Robinson is a veteran magazine editor and sportswriter. He is the author of the widely acclaimed biography, Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig in His Time, Oh,Baby, I Love It!, with Tim McCarver, and Matty: An American Hero. He lives in New York City.
    Review quote
    "A folksy portrait of the gifted cowboy humorist."-Vanity Fair "I never met a Ray Robinson biography I didn't like, but this one beats all, a delight that gets behind the one-liners to turn an icon into a fascinating man of his times."-Robert Lipsyte, New York Times Columnist
    Review text
    A veteran sportswriter (Matty, 1993, etc.) goes a bit afield with still another biography of all-star entertainer Will Rogers. He was simply a natural. With his vaunted wit, Rogers (1879 - 1935) conquered stage, screen, print, airwaves - just about every available medium of communication, with the possible exception of semaphore. The genial, lariat-twirling philosopher roped in everyone from Flo Ziegfeld to FDR with sly winks and pungent topical observations. Rogers played the quintessential American (that is, himself) to perfection Using basic pop history, starting with Hernando de Soto, the Trail of Tears, and the Civil War, Robinson quickly sketches Rogers's progenitors, some of whom would now be called Native Americans, and his progress from the Indian Territory that became Oklahoma to world traveler and national icon. We learn that Rogers, though often seasick, was a reckless air passenger (which led, of course, to the ultimate tragedy). There are extensive quotations from his unlettered and remarkably inept, unfunny letters of courtship and a gathering of opinion from fellow actors. Withal, the text too often seems to be an amalgam of random recollections, a few odd facts, and secondary source material. There is little new and revealing about the man that urgently demands another biography after Ben Yagoda's masterful 1993 work. Clearly, Rogers was usually a man of remarkable native intelligence and wit. What caused him, then, to offer words in support of Huey Long, Benito Mussolini, and Father Coughlin? Robinson doesn't enlighten us; the most natural and open of performers remains an enigma as a man. Appended are several pages of Rogers's gags, but no index, filmography, bibliography, or notes. A serviceable account of a famous American, but not a prime example of the biographers' art. (Kirkus Reviews)
    Back cover copy
    In American Original, Ray Robinson chronicles the trajectory of Will Rogers' remarkable life. This lively portrait follows Rogers from his childhood in the Indian Territory of what is now Oklahoma, to his first spellbinding lariat performances in the Wild West shows (where he would often lasso prominent audience members and drag them on stage), to his stardom in vaudeville and the Ziegfeld Follies, to his early silent movies and the later "talkies", and finally to his astonishing influence as a "cowboy philosopher" columnist read by over 40 million Americans. Far more than other biographers, Robinson excels at conveying Rogers' impact as a political commentator ("I belong to no organized political party. I am a Democrat".) and his great success as an actor in Hollywood, where he was the leading star of Fox Films. And along the way, Robinson paints a vibrant portrait of one of America's most colorful eras. We follow the early evolution of modern entertainment, enjoy vivid snapshots of W.C. Fields, Charlie Chaplin, Florenz Ziegfeld, Eddie Cantor, Samuel Goldwyn, Shirley Temple, and John Ford, and, perhaps most important, witness the major political events of the era through Will Rogers' uniquely perceptive eyes.