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This book is a wonderful biography of a Hollywood star with all the ups and downs of life in Hollywood and his personal pleasures and agonies he has to live. In addition, this is a wonderful book to read for any sailor as Sterling Hayden was an ardent sailor and describes his sailing adventures in detail.
A great reading experience for anybody!
Part of Sterling Hayden's appeal as an actor is his crusty ruggedness. He came from an era of "self made men", so discovering him as an author rounded out the easy authority he brought to his screen roles. He apparently wrote Wanderer without a ghost writer, and whoever edited his writing left plenty of his self-schooled flavor in the text. Hayden makes up words and phrases that drive you into his gruff nature as a man who disdains any authority but his own. This is not the most technically beautiful writing. This is the writer who drove his family and his crew hard and never stopped to worry about whether or not he did it right.
Wanderer is a fine narrative of the life of one of Hollywood's top stars of the 1940s to 70s. Sterling Hayden details his life in frank honesty: his difficult childhood during the Great Depression, how he fell in love with sailing as a near-homeless boy in New England, and his subsequent "discovery" by Hollywood. He talks frankly about his disdain for acting, and his complete lack of financial skills.
I'm not a sailing person at all, but this book helps me understand how men have given their lives in pursuit of their love for the sea. It's beautifully written.
It is reported that Hayden wrote this alone, without a ghostwriter or co-writer. That is amazing, because his writing skills are superb. He truly missed his calling, as he should have been a novelist rather than an actor.
One interesting element is that Hayden provides a detailed glimpse of what Hollywood was really like in those days, pulling back the covers to reveal a sometimes unseemly world.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.
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