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Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics Hardcover – 1 October 2019

4.7 out of 5 stars 184 ratings

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Product description


Beautifully researched and deftly structured. . . . This model biography tells a story of two gifted brothers, only one of whom exceeded expectations. But underneath the surface wit and brio, The Brothers Mankiewicz is a harrowing tale of subtly lethal sibling rivalry that ultimately strangled them both.--Scott Eyman "The Wall Street Journal"

If you want to know everything there is to know about the Golden Age of Cinema, as seen through the eyes of two amazing siblings, read
The Brothers Mankiewicz. Herman wrote Citizen Kane, while Joe wrote All About Eve and wrote and directed Liz Taylor in Cleopatra--that's just for starters. Sydney Ladensohn Stern has done a terrific job writing about the public and private lives of these remarkable men who both became legends. It's a generous, knowledgeable, fascinating account--I couldn't put it down.--Patricia Bosworth, author of biographies on Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, and Jane Fonda, and contributing editor at Vanity Fair

Given the overlapping arcs of their careers, a dual biography of the two men makes perfect sense, and Sydney Ladensohn Stern, author of
The Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics, proves far more than equal to the formidable technical challenges of writing it. She succeeds in keeping the narrative strands of their lives sufficiently separate to make for easy reading while simultaneously illuminating the instructive similarities in their personalities, both of which come through with lively clarity. Above all, she tells their tightly entwined stories thoughtfully and well, with a sympathetic but honest appreciation of their talents--and limitations.--Terry Teachout "Commentary"

With her recent publication, Stern has provided a comprehensive account of not only Herman's life and career, but also that of his younger brother Joseph (1909-1993), called Joe, the director, screenwriter and producer of a range of films that are regarded as 'classics' today. This double biography is rich in facts regarding the brothers' social circle and the films they made or were involved with. . . . I have nonetheless enjoyed learning more about the two brothers and their contributions to film history, and fully recommend this book for fans and researchers of Hollywood cinema and those interested in (film) biographies.--Hanja Daemon "Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television"

Eleven years apart, and growing up with different family tensions, the Mankiewicz brothers became two of the most brilliant and charismatic men ever to ply their sometimes dubious trade in Hollywood. As allies and competitors, loyal yet also subject to intense mutual irritation, they make for a fascinating dual portrait. In Sydney Ladensohn Stern's enthralling account, their very social lives, their many enchanting and enchanted females (some of them wives), their witticisms for every occasion, furnish ample entertainment, but her book is also a thorough and judicious assessment of their extraordinary contributions to cinema.--Molly Haskell, American film critic

It's a novel introduction for those who are unfamiliar with either of them, but for those already well-versed with their respective output, the text serves as an impetus to drive one back to watching items from both of their filmographies.--Nicholas Bell ""

Sydney Stern does a terrific job with a fascinating pair of subjects. Not only does the book read smooth as butter but it's full of great film history. I was amazed to find out how much I didn't know!--Marion Meade is a biographer whose subjects include Nathanael West, Buster Keaton, Dorothy Parker, and Woody Allen.

This is one of the best of the recent biographies of screenwriters. . . . A particular strength of the book is that it is exactly a dual biography, which means Stern can and does bounce the two brothers off each other. Their relationship was complex, to say the least, something that Stern gets better than the earlier writers.--Tom Stempel "Script"

About the Author

Sydney Ladensohn Stern, a New York–based freelance writer, has contributed to the New York Times and many other publications. She is author of Toyland: The High-Stakes Game of the Toy Industry, a Book of the Month Club pick, and Gloria Steinem: Her Passions, Politics, and Mystique.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ University Press of Mississippi (1 October 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 480 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1617032670
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1617032677
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 16 x 4.06 x 22.86 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 184 ratings

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Sets the record straight on Kane
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 October 2020
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stephen kuzak
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on old Hollywood!
Reviewed in Canada on 18 February 2021
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Dona Munker
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything a good biography should be
Reviewed in the United States on 28 October 2019
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25 people found this helpful
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James Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars That's Entertainment!
Reviewed in the United States on 27 November 2019
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20 people found this helpful
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C. M Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars The Brothers Mankiewiciz is an outstanding dual biography of two showbiz siblings of Hollywood fame
Reviewed in the United States on 15 April 2020
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12 people found this helpful
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