Friday, December 7, 2012

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There have surely been few public figures who have lived a more controversial and salubrious life than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Champion body-builder, actor, director, Governor - and now writer. Arnie has lived much of his life in the public eye, and it has been a very interesting life - at least from the outside looking in. However, readers may be disappointed if they are expecting to discover the scandalous truth behind Arnold's private life, as this book is more a celebration of the man's impressive professional achievements.

Unlike the eye-opening Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Total Recall examines a list of achievements and events rather than the man's personality. However, the reader is given a small insight into the man's will to win. In fact, it is more an expectation of winning - a fact made clear by a chapter describing his attitude towards winning body-building tournaments. Through not intended, the reader gets a glimpse at the colossal ego this man seems to have; a short passage regarding a portrait of his wife illustrates this perfectly. However, the book stops well short of objective self-criticism - or even any attempt at examination of character. Instead, the reader is subjected to a list of successes, and a few hiccups along the way.

A large section of the book is, quite rightly, devoted to Schwarzenegger's political life. However, it reads like a political promotion leaflet at times, and it is hugely biased towards the positive aspects of his time spent as the Governor of California. 

This man was clearly one of the most high-profile superstars to come out of Hollywood - via Austria - in the last four decades. His movies are very much like him: big, bold and arrogant. People will not read this book because they like the man or the actor, but they will want to discover whether the negative press coverage Arnie has received over the years has been warranted. Was this man a misunderstood gentle giant? Is his notorious arrogance merely a misconstrued perception of his confidence? Well, Total Recall provides little in the way of personal insight into the personality of Schwarzenegger. However, it is now an eBook that provides an interesting look at an extraordinary life spent in the world's spotlight.

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