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Publisher's Summary

This biography was originally published in 1983 and has not been updated. Any events after 1983 are not included.

Best known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce on the award-winning TV series M*A*S*H, Alan Alda has made his way into Hollywood's spotlight while keeping remarkably free of its whirlwind parties and endless gossip. He remains a private man - an actor whose personal life and politics are far different from the character of the womanizing, side-cracking army doctor that brought him international fame.

In Alan Alda: The 1983 Biography, biographer Raymond Strait succeeds in presenting Alda's life and career with illuminating, and sometimes surprising, details. Tracing Alda's theater credits, from his early experience as a struggling New York actor to his starring roles in films like Same Time Next Year, The Seduction of Joe Tynan, and The Four Seasons, Strait also reports on Alda's work as a screenwriter and director. A comprehensive look at Alda's immense popularity, this biography contains revealing insights from friends, childhood sweethearts, and fellow actors.

But this is not a sugar-coated star portrait, and Strait gives us Alda's traumas as well as his triumphs: his childhood battle with polio, his parents' divorce, and the tense moments that Alda's personal convictions have caused, both on the set and off. With unexpected revelations about Alda's views on women, his work, and the future, this fascinating biography promises to show new dimensions of this talented enigmatic man.

©1983 Raymond Strait (P)2016 David N. Wilson

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Very factual.

Gives a good factual account of his life from a distance.
Nothing really up close and personal.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Surprising

I love biographies. I've never felt one way or another about Alan Alda although I watched MASH throughout all its seasons. Indeed I grew up with MASH. I also liked the movie Same Time Next Year so I was happy to listen to a biography of Alan Alda even if it was written in 1983.
The surprise was in the tone of the author. I got the feeling he couldn't stand Mr Alda. It was rather weird. Still, it was an interesting biography and the ERA stuff was particularly interesting to me. Apparently no one liked the movie Same Time Next Year but me, but I still stand by it. The narration was adequate.
I was gifted this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Alan Alda's story

This biography was very interesting. I've always enjoyed the TV series MASH, so I was quite pleased to be given the opportunity to listen to and review this book for free.
The book starts off with a history of Alan's dad, Bob. Coming from a family that wanted him to practice medicine, Bob was a rebel who wanted to be an actor. As the years progress, we come to the eventual marriage of Alan's parents and his birth and childhood.
What struck me as the most interesting was Alan's battle with polio. I had no knowledge of what polio was really like. It was truly a horrible illness to suffer through.
As Allan grows up and becomes an actor in his own right, we get to see how loyal and compassionate he is as a human being. His wife and him are best friends and he didn't ever seem to take her for granted.
I enjoyed learning about his role and the other characters on MASH. Overall this was a good read and a good performance.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A bit confusing feels like a draft.

What disappointed you about Alan Alda: The 1983 Biography?

This book feels unedited. Two paragraphs for a first crush? Was anyone's first crush that noteworthy? Finding a way to mention rumors of Frank Sinatra possibly being suicidal when even the author agrees it was not relevant? (Alda's father got a role on Broadway and author adds that Sinatra was not ever considered for that role but that there were rumors that Sinatra was considered but rejected because he might be suicidal? Huh? It would be relevant in a Sinatra biography possibly or maybe slightly in a biography of Alda's father but in a biography of Alda? No relevant and felt like a filler) It was hard to follow overall.

Would you ever listen to anything by Raymond Strait again?

Possibly. Perhaps this was all the information Alan Alda gave him and he did the best he could with the material given. Perhaps Alda was horrible to work for. Perhaps Alda wanted his Father remembered and wanted the book to have a strong focus there. I might look into the authors other work to be sure this was not a project from hell.

Which character – as performed by Robert J. Shaw – was your favorite?

Not applicable. The book told a story without dialogue between people.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I did learn about Alda's father. I think I learned more about him than I did about Alda.

Any additional comments?

I was given this book for free in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Alan Alda: The 1983 Biography

“This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.”

I loved watching MASH and I must say Alan Alda is my favorite. I learned several things about him I never knew.

The narration was well done.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Alan Alda up until '83

I’m a fan of Alan Alda, mostly because I have always adored, and still re-watch to this day, the tv series MASH. This book is dated (before my time, even), but it’s interesting nonetheless. The first few chapters are fairly boring and underwhelming to begin with, as they focus (in great detail) on his family members and his childhood, and some chapters are far more intriguing than others. Moreover, there is too much emphasis (in my opinion) on subordinate people, but I was particularly engrossed in the stories about the movies Alda stared in (Glass House and Playmates) that led to his leading role in MASH, and how he ultimately gained the reins for directing the series in the later seasons.

The last chapter spotlights Alan Alda’s personality. Robert J. Shaw (who narrated this title) wrote an amazon review for this book, saying that “it seemed like the author doesn't like Alan very much,” and I have to absolutely agree. The last chapter discussing Alda’s personality traits is written in a tone that subtly disdains Alda’s passions and political views at the time. Alan Alda is very strong willed, boldly political, and highly opinionated; the book does not shy away from these characteristics which comprise Alan Alda, however, at one point the author refers to him as “silver tongued,” and I don’t think that is entirely fair. I actually admire Alan Alda more after learning that he used his fame during the 70’s-80’s to openly discuss and bring attention to important issues and causes that he believes in, but there is a definite negative light cast on him in this biography.

Overall, this book will probably only be engaging only to other fans of Alan Alda. It’s a well written biography about his life until the early 80’s and no more than that. I plan on reading Alan Alda’s current biography (that is written and narrated by him) so I think this book will be interesting in conjunction to his current work. As for the narration, it is very sufficient for this biography. I have no complaints, and I am very particular about narrations.

This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.