PDF The Five Lives of Ben Hecht
An excellent work. It is superficial—but in the best way. Fetherling basis his biography of Hecht almost completely on Hecht's own writing, especially Child of the Century, about which he is very enthusiastic. He combines this with a close reading of Hecht's different works. The key insight is considering Hecht's works not so much chronologically but by focusing on five different apsects of Hecht's lives—Hecht the Bohemian, Icionoclast, Sophisticate, Propagandist, and Memoirist—which allows him to draw parallels between the works and find insights without getting overly bogged down in minutiae. The reader comes away having a great sense of Hecht, groks him, even if not knowing what he did every day of his life.
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