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Publisher's Summary

The most successful director in movie history, Steven Spielberg has been responsible for such box-office blockbusters as Jurassic Park, Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the Indiana Jones trilogy. And yet throughout much of his career, Spielberg's work has been undervalued by critics who have questioned his emotional maturity and intellectual seriousness. It was not until he made Schindler's List in 1993 that he was widely recognized as a serious filmmaker.

Until now, much about Steven Spielberg's personality and the forces that shaped it has remained enigmatic, in large part because of his tendency to obscure and mythologize his own past. In this full-scale, in-depth biography, Joseph McBride reveals hidden dimensions of the filmmaker's personality and explains how deeply personal even his most commercial work has been. With the same breadth of research and clarity of insight that characterized his acclaimed biography of Frank Capra, McBride has gone in search of the true Steven Spielberg, interviewing more than 300 of the director's friends and associates, many of whom had never spoken about him before.

©1997 McBride (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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What listeners say about Steven Spielberg

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Out of date but nevertheless interesting.

Any additional comments?

A great read/listen, but the way the narrator's voice changes when he's quoting someone makes whoever he's quoting sound like a whining child. In spite of this the content is very interesting with a generally well-balanced look at Spielberg and his films. Only other problem is that it's out of date and ends around 1997 or so. I would have loved to hear about the making and reception of A.I. at least and any of his more recent work.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story. Awful delivery.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Absolutely. I found the book to be very informative and I have a much deeper appreciation of Spielberg's work after reading it.

What did you like best about this story?

It's very comprehensive. Great details on all of his films and lots of information that I didn't already know.

What didn’t you like about Edward Lewis’s performance?

Wow. I almost stopped thirty minutes in because Edward Lewis was so boring. Admittedly, I just came off Kirby Heyborne's reading on Jim Henson which is the best I've ever heard, but Lewis' narration is so boring and monotone, it made driving and listening very difficult, especially for the first eight hours, before getting into Spielberg's film work. At that point, the material elevated my interested above Lewis' speech and made for a more engaging experience.

Could you see Steven Spielberg being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Nope. There are plenty of other good stories out there and Spielberg is a very deep character.

1 person found this helpful

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

Insights into who Spielberg is

Where does Steven Spielberg rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Great., A look into Spielberg history , his childhood and what shaped him

Who was your favorite character and why?

Spielberg's parents.

What about Edward Lewis’s performance did you like?

Interesting tone and pacing.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes

Any additional comments?

Great audio book, compelling listen to filmmakers and anyone whose interested in who Spielberg is and some ideas and thoughts on how his process has come together.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A biography mired in criticism and opinion...

McBride’s text offers an in-depth and thorough chronology of Spielberg’s youth and his formative years. Likewise, it meticulously follows the efforts that Spielberg put forth in achieving his career as a filmmaker and provides a comprehensive view of his projects from his homemade films, to his career as a television director, and on to his feature films up to and including the ‘Jurassic Park’ sequel, ‘The Lost World’.

While I appreciate the author’s completeness in recognizing all projects of Spielberg from a director to a writer and producer, the introduction of his personal opinions on each only serves to detach the reader from the profile of Spielberg. These critiques come in forms ranging from the film’s script to the way in which it was photographed and directed. It was only after that I was well into the text that I learned that one of Mr. McBride’s former careers was that of a movie critic. The traces of this prior vocation are abundant throughout the book as he often editorializes or expresses his own personal feelings on the films after he presents them. Several of these tend to be negative. In many cases, some of these opinions could serve to influence a reader who is not familiar with Spielberg’s work to avoid his films altogether. For me, the details of Spielberg’s career, without the opinion, would have been more appealing and made a better bio.

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

More like a long term paper

While it has its positives, the book is written more like a term paper, filled with lots of facts and references that aren't necessarily interesting. At least the narrator pronounces most of the Jewish terms correctly.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

The only redeeming element of this biography was the subject of the biography. The delivery was monotone, it included way too much psychology and like all of us Spielberg is more than just his faith and his relationship with his parents. Plus, the reviews of his films were arbitrary and close minded.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Unemotional Sequential Compilation of Events

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Tell more of a story instead of just reciting facts, opinions, and quotes.

What was most disappointing about Joseph McBride’s story?

It was written in a maddeningly unemotional style, seemingly content merely to educate rather than entertain.

Would you be willing to try another one of Edward Lewis’s performances?

Doubtful. He didn't have a lot to work with here but he only added to the mundane presentation of material.

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

It did educate me about things that occurred during Steven's life but not in an enjoyable way.

Any additional comments?

Someone could easily take all of the material in this book and rewrite in a more colorful way that would make it much more entertaining.