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Even This I Get to Experience Hardcover – Oct 14 2014

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press (Oct. 14 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594205728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594205729
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #98,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


The Wall Street Journal:
“The Norman Lear who emerges from “Even This I Get to Experience” is engaging and unpompous, an amusing storyteller who pokes fun at himself and writes with brutal honesty about his life, especially his childhood. And what a story!"

Associated Press: 
“An entertaining, penetrating celebration of a richly lived life.”

Los Angeles Times: 
“Immensely likeable…[Lear] isn't always a mensch in "Even This I Get to Experience" (italics, characteristically, his), but at least he can write like one…. In this city, Norman Lear and his post-coaxial contemporaries built a mass medium with their bare hands. On good days — as Lear well recalls, and recalls well — they made it sing. If only more with their talent had lived so long; if only more who live so long had his talent.”

Booklist (starred):
“This is, flat out, one of the best Hollywood memoirs ever written… An absolute treasure.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred):
"A TV titan on his memorable life and storied career. Lear, best known as the creative mind behind such classic comedies as All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons and Good Times, recounts his extraordinarily eventful life with his signature wit and irreverence. The result is not just a vividly observed and evocative portrait of a long life, but also a fascinating backstage look at the evolution of the American entertainment industry... Lear writes movingly of his service in World War II, his difficult upbringing and subsequent troubled marriages, and his commitment to liberal causes, evidenced by his founding of the advocacy organization People for the American Way and his purchase of an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. That he makes these subjects as engrossing and entertaining as his Hollywood reminiscences speaks to Lear's mastery of storytelling and humor. A big-hearted, richly detailed chronicle of comedy, commitment and a long life lived fully."

Publishers Weekly:
“[A] feisty, thoughtful autobiography… Lear pens sharply observed studies of the creative process on his many iconic productions and bares plenty of raucous, sometimes bawdy anecdotes—readers get to experience a nude and lewd Jerry Lewis…  [I]n keeping with the bigoted, mouthy, complex and loveable characters he created, Lear's knack for sizing up a flawed humanity makes for an absorbing read.”


President William J. Clinton
“That Norman Lear can find humor in life’s darkest moments is no surprise—it’s the reason he’s been so successful throughout his more than nine decades on earth, and why Americans have relied on his wit and wisdom for more than six. It’s also why EVEN THIS I GET TO EXPERIENCE is such a great read.”

Carl Reiner
“Norman Lear could never write a more dramatic, touching, or funnier tale of his life than he’s done here in EVEN THIS I GET TO EXPERIENCE.”

Bill Moyers
“Many have known the Man behind the stories. Now all of us can know the stories behind the Man. Archie, Edith, Gloria, and Meathead couldn’t have told them better!”

Arianna Huffington
“EVEN THIS I GET TO EXPERIENCE is not just the brilliant, moving story of a man who has lived an amazing number of lives—from making it onto Richard Nixon’s ‘Enemies List’ to changing the face of television—but also a life manual on how to live a life of depth, purpose, and meaning.”
“Norman Lear is a hero and a friend . . . he experienced so much in his life . . . sometimes I just want to sit down and ask him questions about life and his perspective . . . to do it right it would take years of interviews . . . but now that he wrote this book I can experience his journey and wisdom over and over again.”

Trey Parker
“Fantastic stories from one of the wisest, most subversive, and most beautiful human beings the comedy world has ever known. Like the man himself, this book is charming, awe-inspiring, and hilarious.”

About the Author

NORMAN LEAR is the television producer of such groundbreaking sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Maude. He has received four Emmy awards, a Peabody, and the National Medal of Arts. As an advocate, Lear founded People For the American Way and supports First Amendment rights and other progressive causes.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great memories of TV oldies. Eye opener of Hollywood lifestyle... Happy not to live there.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was purchased for a gift for my father; he really found it interesting, especially being a big All In The Family fan.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good read
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a memoir of conceit writ large.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9fe8d738) out of 5 stars 197 reviews
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe9b3c0) out of 5 stars Born Again Lear Oct. 14 2014
By Robert Scheer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Truly brilliant in its honesty as one would expect from the man who transformed television from a myopic center of banality into a medium of accountability. All of the major controversies that confront us today, from war and peace on through race relations, gay rights, gender equality, freedom of and from religion, economic inequality, the right and obligation to challenge power and the powerful, and the reality that the American ideal would always be a work in progress was brought into the American home by this genius. From the first pages of this book, one is made aware that he did all that because he has lived his near century on this earth as a constant challenge to find justice as well as joy in all of his actions both private and public. I first met Norman Lear more than 30 years ago interviewing him for the Los Angeles Times when he told me there was no reason to fear failure as a writer because "you can always put another blank piece of paper in the typewriter and get it right," which is what he has once again done in what may be his best work ever.
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe9b60c) out of 5 stars The Catastrophe of Success? Nov. 15 2014
By Joel Canfield - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read the glowing advance notices on this book and was anxious to read it. I've been an admirer of Norman Lear's work through the two movies he wrote in the late 60's/early 70's (DIvorce, American Style and Cold Turkey) and, of course, All in the Family. But maybe the problem is that's also the time when he stopped creating great stuff. While the first two-thirds of this book are pretty good, if overwritten, the last third is almost impossible to get through, as a few other reviews here have noted. My eyes literally glazed over as Lear lives out his own endless Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous episode - so I ended up heavily skimming this section of the book. Also, it was almost impossible to discern what his third wife Lyn's personality is really like, except she's sad sometimes and happy other times - in contrast, his first two wives are vividly drawn. I don't mean to be cruel, this man changed the face of television, but I have to say this is the only book I've ever read that contained a paragraph at the end listing all his chauffeurs' names and thanking them, transforming it into the ultimate awards speech masquerading as an autobiography. I'm not saying success spoiled Norman Lear, but it sure made him a lot less interesting.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe9b5d0) out of 5 stars MORE SEVENTIES TV, LESS PERSONAL HISTORY Jan. 3 2015
By astrology hound - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I hate having to give this book two stars, but unfortunately that is what it merits - but let me clarify, that review is IF you are looking for a book that talks about Norman Lear's career in television during the 70's and 80's.

If I could, I would give Mr. Lear himself FIVE STARS for his career and what his shows have meant to me growing up, but I think there is something wrong in a book that is over 400 pages and devotes 20-30 pages to all his shows combined. Sandford and Son gets a few paragraphs when television lore and legend tells us that there were huge fights on that show, enough that Redd Foxx walked out during the season because he felt he was treated shabbily compared to the AITF cast. We get a few paragraphs about One Day At A Time and Bonnie Franklin and nothing about MacKenzie Phillip's drug addiction, how it effected the show and the way she was eventually fried. (It was rumored that Franklin had a recurring character taken of the show because she was upstaging the actress.) These aren't secrets, by the way, MacKenzie has written and been interviewed about this time extensively and The Truth Behind the Sitcom covers some of this, so he wouldn't be betraying MacKenzie by talking about it. Nothing at all about Different Strokes, that I could find, not one word.

He goes into more detail about his relationship with Carroll O'Connor and the censorship of All in the Family which I found fascinating. But except for mentioning talking to Roxy Roker about being in the first television interracial relationship, we don't hear about the fallout, reaction or battles they had with the show. These sections feels rushed - perhaps because many of the actors are dead, Mr. Lear would prefer not to say anything bad about their memories - but then I think one should avoid a biography of this length if that is the case. It was fun to read about Good Times and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Maude, but again, we don't get into his head enough, we just get postcards of what the shows were like, which is deeply unfair to a fan, when he spends a ton of time taking about his father, HK.

When Mr. Lear finishes with the All In the Family section, the book still has a third of a way to go. He writes about politics and his personal relationships, but unfortunately this isn't what we want from Norman Lear. He is a writer, the man behind the camera, so what we want is to understand what he is thinking about his work and the way it effects others. How he shapes the characters we have grown to love over the years. With the exception of a few anecdotes from his time working with Lewis and Martin, and Frank Sinatra, he really doesn't have the "juicy nuggets" that a book by star might have and we don't expect that from him.

I feel frustrated because he takes a great deal of time talking about his early home life, his time in the service during the war, and various relatives and his children. It's not boring exactly, but a little of this goes a long way. If I were his editor, I would have encouraged him to tell that beginning and end of the story in 30-60 pages and devote a good 100-150 to the shows - there was a reason why he had so many Emmy nominated shows, four or five in the top ten at the same time.

The problem is that a man of Norman Lear's achievement, age, and based on his personalty and tenacity which he shows throughout the book, it would take a star editor to stand up to him and tell him the last third of the of book is unnecessary and make him go back to the drawing board. Because Lear is going for prestige and making his mark in history, he has a quote on the back by "President William J. Clinton" That tells you everything you need to know. It's like the book falls into the exact trap that made his TV shows exceptional.

My hope is that someone does a film or interviews him before he dies or does a real biography about his shows, interviewing those who are still alive. There are many people who will enjoy this book, but if I knew that Sandford and Son and the Jeffersons were going to get the equivalent of three pages TOTAL, I would have read this in the library. Lear actually spends the same amount of time on failed projects in the 80's and 90s as he does on his biggest successes.

He is a man I admire, and I didn't want to write this, but I feel people should know what they are getting.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe9bac8) out of 5 stars All in his family Oct. 24 2014
By Jon Hunt - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his ninety-two years, Norman Lear has not only seen a wealth of history, but participated in much of it as well. His groundbreaking programs of the 1970s reverberate today and they remain as fresh in syndication as they were when I first saw them. In his prose he does anything but stifle!

Lear has written a full-fledged book about his family...from his somewhat dysfunctional, if not amusing parents, through his three marriages (two divorces, one current) and his six children. Beyond the scope of his television work he reminds us of his work for social justice and the battles he has fought with the (especially Christian) right.

But it is his central involvement for creating shows from "All in the Family" to "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" two favorites.... that provided me with the most satisfaction. I enjoyed reading about the casting of "AITF" and subsequently, his battles with Carroll O'Connor, aka, Archie Bunker. This middle part of the book, from the end of section two through all of section three, gives us a terrific insight into the author and his times. "Even THIS I Get to Experience" is a nicely written and informative book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe9b960) out of 5 stars An American Treasure Feb. 28 2015
By Lynne Spreen - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Norman Lear is a force of nature. He had a crappy childhood which is a gift to an artistic person. Throughout his life, he's been creative, innovative, driven, and - he freely admits - lucky.

I enjoyed, in the first part of the book, reading about the weirdness of his family, and his feelings at the time. He was tenacious and funny in overcoming many obstacles to follow his dreams. I was rooting for that engaging kid.

However, at a certain point in the book, after he became successful, my interest flagged a bit, because now it's just a chronology of his continuing successes. He wrote this script, hired these people, bonded with those people, etc. What made this otherwise placid section interesting was his revelations about the personalities of the actors and famous people he worked with, like Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, Carroll O'Connor, Bea Arthur, and Jean Stapleton.

One of the most interesting parts was about All in the Family, and Lear's other creations of the time; it was groundbreaking TV and there were so many obstacles. Getting past the purity police, for example; or the way some of the actors began to drink their own Kool-Aid and take on a mission within their fictional role, making it harder to get them to play their parts.

What I was less enthralled with was the fact that, for me (although others may disagree), Lear wasn't highly introspective. He says, toward the end of the book, that he lacked emotional intelligence, but even then, he didn't go much of anywhere with it. One reason I bought the book - hardcover, yet! - was to learn what a brilliant 92-year-old might have to say about growing older.

Although Norman Lear wasn't sufficiently articulate on this point, everything about this book is inspiring. He makes mistakes and learns from them. He's self-deprecating if unreconstructed. He's tears-rolling-down-the-face patriotic. And by finding another gear at 70, he demonstrates the power of not letting oneself be defined by external forces.

So, ultimately, I was able to take away from my reading two things: an enjoyable read and a sense of empowerment. Well worth my money and time. Norman Lear is an American treasure, and I'm glad he took the time to write this book.