Charlie Chaplin and His Times

  • by Kenneth S. Lynn
  • Narrated by Adams Morgan
  • 21 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

With the psychologically penetrating insight that marked his award-winning Hemingway, Kenneth Lynn probes beneath the mystique of the "Little Tramp", the first truly worldwide celebrity. This landmark, full-scale biography reveals the inner man whose unmatched comic genius masked a complex, sometimes tragic life. Lynn delves into Chaplin's childhood and family, his often controversial relationships with four wives and a slew of mistresses, and his associations with British music-hall impresario Fred Karno and silent-screen star and pal Douglas Fairbanks. He addresses Chaplin's political influences and convictions, and brings a keen, critical intelligence to the meaning of the films, illuminating Chaplin's elusive genius.


What the Critics Say

"Kenneth S. Lynn...has produced an enormous, often fascinating, prodigiously researched book that goes off in all directions in search of the man behind the myth." (The New York Times)
"Chaplin's life is truly an enormous subject...and Lynn does a magisterial job of knitting it all together, allowing Chaplin to emerge as fresh and evocative as the Little Tramp in his first incarnation." (Booklist)
"Lynn deftly interweaves Chaplin's life with the events and personalities of his era....Lynn has done meticulous research....All a biography should be, this is enthusiastically recommended." (Library Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Flawed by bias

This book may be worthwhile because the subject is so interesting, and there is no other biography available at It is flawed (as other reviews point out,) by the author's extreme right-wing bias and apparent dislike for his subject. Chaplin's politics were na?ve and sentimental and like a lot of people on the left at the time he refused to see the evil of the Soviet Union. His biographer on the other hand refuses to see the evil of McCarthyism. The author's done his research; the facts of Chaplin's life are in the book. The narrator is good. But to enjoy the book - if you're not Rush Limbaugh, you'll have to do a lot a filtering to neutralize the writer's bias. Chaplin deserves better.
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- Denis

A Most Remarkable and Contradictory Person

Charlie Chaplin was born in London in 1889 to a dysfunctional stage family. His first stage appearance was at age five to fill in for his mentally ill mother. His alcoholic father managed to eke out a living as a music hall actor. But Charlie had the drive and genius to evolve into a world-class artist. He eventually used the scars of his childhood as inspirations for some of the many movies he later created.

Charlie toured with several acting companies around Britain and came to the United States in 1910. He made his first films in 1914 for the Keystone Studios and then onto Essanay Studios in 1915 where he created his first great film, "The Tramp." In 1917 Charlie founded his own studio in Hollywood and over the years turned out a remarkable series of movies that are classics today.

Charlie alternated between charming and using people, especially women. He never became an American citizen. Charlie was pro communist which forced him to leave the U.S. in 1952 at the height of the McCarthy era. He lived the rest of his life in Switzerland.

This is a scholarly work about a most remarkable and contradictory person. The reader, Adams Morgan, was also excellent.
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- W. Rodger Gantt

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-01-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.