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Publisher's Summary

After suffering physical abuse at the hands of his stepmother, James Garner left home at fourteen. He became Oklahoma's first draftee of the Korean War and was awarded with two Purple Hearts before returning to the United States and settling in Los Angeles to become an actor. Working alongside some of the most renowned celebrities, including Julie Andrews, Marlon Brando, and Clint Eastwood, Garner became a star in his own right, despite struggles with stage fright and depression.

In The Garner Files, this revered actor and quintessential self-made man recalls "trying to decipher" William Wyler with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, breaking Doris Day's ribs, having a "heart-to-heart and eyeball-to-eyeball" with Steve McQueen, being "a card-carrying liberal---and proud of it," and much more. This audiobook features an introduction by Julie Andrews read by Wanda McCaddon.

©2011 MGB Productions, Inc. (P)2011 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Gary
  • Las Cruces, NM, United States
  • 08-05-13

Book moves smoothly

If your a fan, you'll like it. If not, you won't. I'm fan and liked it. He tells a good story and keeps the book moving at a smooth pace and does reveal things about who he really is.

The narrator was so good at capturing what my imagination thinks of as the essence of who James Garner is I would often have to remind myself that it wasn't James Garner narrating the book himself. I know darn well months from now my memory will make me forget that it wasn't James Garner who narrated this book because the narrator does such a good job.

In addition to Garner fans, golfers and race car enthusiast will appreciate this book since they are both a large part of what made Garner's life complete.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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The Real James Garner

I've always loved James Garner, the actor and the man he appears to be--and I still do. His
life story gave me a window on a different age in a small Oklahoma town. Those experiences created the man we have all come to know.

I admit that I'm not interested in either golf or in car racing but, whether it was the narrator or the author's words, I listened with interest and laughed.

One of my favorite areas of the book were the brief stories at the end told by some of his family and closest friends. I felt that I had a much deeper look into the kind of man James Garner was and is.

The only thing that was jarring to me, being of a different political viewpoint than Garner, is his heated distaste for those of the opposing party. He is, of course, welcome to his viewpoint. All that I'm saying is that I wish he (and other actors) would understand that there are two differing viewpoints in this country and we, who don't accept his premise, are rather tired of reading negative comments directed at us. It's just my opinion and it didn't change my overall thoughts about the book.

I still recommend this book and the narrator. James Garner really IS a curmudgeon!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • Yacolt, WA, United States
  • 11-14-11

What a disappointment.

James Garner has always been a favorite of mine. I was looking forward to hearing more about him. Mid-way through the first download I gave up. I almost didn't buy the book because Michael Kramer was the narrator. I should have gone with my first thought. His delivery came across as snide and gossipy, picture the person at the edge of the room full of people leaning into the person next to him and whispering behind his hand. The sonorous voice and flat affect were just too much to continue listening to. What a disappointment.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Dann
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 10-19-14

A lot of insight

This is an eye opener for those who wonder what it's like to be a movie star of Garner's caliber. To the reviewer who thought there was too much emphasis on golf, it was mixed well with interesting incidences and insights. I don't like golf either but as with all human interaction he wrote more about the interactions during and around the game than the golf.

Garner was one of my favorite actors and I like the fact that he proved to be a man's man, an actor with principals and not just an actor that knew nothing else. Good life experiences, told it like it is and didn't spare the things he stood for and believed in to be shaped by the process.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • BDHumbert
  • Fort Pierce, FL, United States
  • 05-15-12

Now I Know Why I Liked Him So Much!

If you could sum up The Garner Files in three words, what would they be?

Great Life Story

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Garner Files?

I thought the info on his military experience was honest and gave some insight into what makes Garner Garner.

What about Michael Kramer’s performance did you like?

At times I thought Jim Garner was telling the tale - not a narrator.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My strongest reaction was probably shared anger at some of the jerks that Garner met with and had to deal with along the way.

Any additional comments?

I loved this - I have been a huge fan of his work, and while I often felt he was playing himself - not really acting - I always thought he gave his audience way more than their money's worth!!!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A very good book. It told his whole life story

What did you like best about this story?

It was interesting and never dragged down. I thought his life is very interesting. I have always enjoyed watching his movies and TV programs

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Disappointed in Narrator

Would you try another book from James Garner and Jon Winokur and/or Michael Kramer?

Not likely.

What could James Garner and Jon Winokur have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

different Narrator.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Michael Kramer?

will check before I get another book with this narrator

Any additional comments?

Probably will not be able to finish listening.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • TG
  • 04-06-17

A cooler guy than I thought!

I'm sure that there was some stretching of the facts - he's telling his own story after all. That said, I learned that James was an even cover guy than I thought - I liked the insights into his acting rivalry with Steve McQueen.

James didn't pull any punches, and he tells you what he thought of some actors, and the movie industry.

I had no issues with the narrator, as some reviews pointed to.

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Sweet man

Great narration. Some of his hobbies in the story dragged a bit like with the race cars. I got the feel of the real James Garner. Intimate and revealing.

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Fascinating life! A good read!

Where does The Garner Files rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I found this book refreshing, brutally honest -ie, his love/hate relationship with Steve McQueen and unique. It is in unique in the sense and unlike other bios, that at the end of the book, his significant friends, family and loved ones share a heartfelt anecdote about Garner in their own words. It was so touching to hear how his wife Lois recounts the day they first met, (which made me smile as her recollection was slightly different and more detailed than Garner's one). He truly loved his wife. He also lists and recounts his experiences on every feature, TV show, mini series and made for Tv movie at the end of the bio.

What did you like best about this story?

I've always been interested in James Garner and had the pleasure of meeting him a few times, but as he was such a private man, I really didn't know much about him. I learned of his impoverished childhood and how he faced great adversity as a child and into his adolescence. This built his strong, macho, grounded and loyal character. I especially loved his honesty in this book. He raves about working with Julie Andrews and my personal favourite Doris Day. Although he doesn't go into too much detail about the two movies he made with Doris. The only chapter I skipped was his chapter on Golf.