Alfred Hitchcock by Peter Ackroyd

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In this brief biography, Peter Ackroyd highlights Hitchcock’s Jesuitical secondary school education at St Ignatius College in north London...For all its insight, Peter Ackroyd’s biography is a deft synthesis of numerous other studies of “Alfred the Great”; it is well written, however, and unusually well attuned to the religious element.
-Financial Times

Synopsis

Alfred Hitchcock rigorously controlled his public image, drawing certain carefully selected childhood anecdotes into full focus and blurring out all others. In this gripping short biography, Peter Ackroyd wrests the director’s chair back from the master of control to reveal a lugubriously jolly man fond of practical jokes, who smashed a once-used tea cup every morning to remind himself of the frailty of life. Iconic film stars make cameo appearances throughout Hitchcock’s story, just as the director did in his own films: Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, James Stewart and, perhaps most famously of all, Tippi Hedren, who endures cuts and bruises from a fearsome flock of real birds. Perceptive and intelligent, Alfred Hitchcock is a fascinating look at one of the most revered directors of the twentieth century.
 

About Peter Ackroyd

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PETER ACKROYD is the author of London: The Biography, Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination, Shakespeare: The Biography, and Thames: The Biography. He has written acclaimed biographies of T. S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, and Sir Thomas More, as well as several successful novels. He has won the Whitbread Book Award for Biography, the Royal Society of Literature’s William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the South Bank Award for Literature. His last book was a brief biography of Wilkie Collins.

Author Residence: London, UK
 
Published October 25, 2016 by Anchor. 290 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Alfred Hitchcock
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Bee Wilson on Mar 25 2015

Ackroyd, far more convincingly, gives us Hitchcock the industrious craftsman. His work was a solace from his horrors and hang-ups rather than a straightforward depiction of them.

Read Full Review of Alfred Hitchcock | See more reviews from Guardian

Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Ian Thomson on Apr 03 2015

In this brief biography, Peter Ackroyd highlights Hitchcock’s Jesuitical secondary school education at St Ignatius College in north London...For all its insight, Peter Ackroyd’s biography is a deft synthesis of numerous other studies of “Alfred the Great”; it is well written, however, and unusually well attuned to the religious element.

Read Full Review of Alfred Hitchcock | See more reviews from Financial Times

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Oct 24 2016

The latest volume, “Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life,” by the novelist and biographer Peter Ackroyd, offers no new revelations, but it provides a smart, fluent overview of the director’s life and art...

Read Full Review of Alfred Hitchcock | See more reviews from NY Times

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