Kazan brings to the undiluted telling of his story all the passion and truth, the almost outrageous frankness, that have made him so formidable a stage director (A Streetcar Named Desire, Death of a Salesman), film director (On the Waterfront, East of Eden, Splendor in the Grass), and bestselling novelist (The Arrangement). Illustrated.
Flashes of sudden insight or eloquence keep the reader turning the pages of Kazan's garrulous 864-page autobiography. The famous director, now 78, apparently wanted it all: comfortable domesticity (provided by three wives) and a bachelor's sexual freedom. An ambitious Anatolian of Greek ancestry craving acceptance in America, a bourgeois adventurer, a truth-teller and wearer of masksthese paradoxes in his own character are the driving force of his life and career. Kazan, an ex-Communist, makes no apologies for his agonizing decision to name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy era. Focusing on Death of a Salesman, America, America and many other plays and films he directed, his expansive memoir includes cutting portraits of Lillian Hellman and Arthur Miller, as well as glimpses of Odets, Cagney, Bankhead, Monroe, Brando, Goldwyn, dozens more. Kazan is candid about his own flaws and generous in his assessment of others. Photos not seen by PW. 35,000 first printing. (May)