Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures

February 12, 2019|
Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures by Adina Hoffman
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From the prizewinning Jewish Lives series, a vibrant portrait of Ben Hecht, one of the most accomplished and prolific American screenwriters
“Adina Hoffman's superb [book] . . . loads Hecht's staggering contradictions into a compact but abounding two hundred twenty pages. . . . She writes with enormous flair.”—David Denby, New Yorker
“To boil down such a profuse, not to say verbose, career, into so compact a volume was a challenge, but [Hoffman] has achieved much more than elegant concision. . . . She makes contact with a living personality, creating a portrait both sympathetic and clear-eyed.”—Geoffrey O'Brien, New York Review of Books
He was, according to Pauline Kael, “the greatest American screenwriter.” Jean-Luc Godard called him “a genius” who “invented 80 percent of what is used in Hollywood movies today.” Besides tossing off dozens of now-classic scripts—including Scarface,Twentieth Century, and Notorious—Ben Hecht was known in his day as ace reporter, celebrated playwright, taboo-busting novelist, and the most quick-witted of provocateurs. During World War II, he also emerged as an outspoken crusader for the imperiled Jews of Europe, and later he became a fierce propagandist for pre-1948 Palestine’s Jewish terrorist underground. Whatever the outrage he stirred, this self-declared “child of the century” came to embody much that defined America—especially Jewish America—in his time.
Hecht's fame has dimmed with the decades, but Adina Hoffman’s vivid portrait brings this charismatic and contradictory figure back to life on the page. Hecht was a renaissance man of dazzling sorts, and Hoffman—critically acclaimed biographer, former film critic, and eloquent commentator on Middle Eastern culture and politics—is uniquely suited to capture him in all his modes.
About Jewish Lives:
Jewish Lives is a prizewinning series of interpretative biography designed to explore the many facets of Jewish identity. Individual volumes illuminate the imprint of Jewish figures upon literature, religion, philosophy, politics, cultural and economic life, and the arts and sciences. Subjects are paired with authors to elicit lively, deeply informed books that explore the range and depth of the Jewish experience from antiquity to the present.
In 2014, the Jewish Book Council named Jewish Lives the winner of its Jewish Book of the Year Award, the first series ever to receive this award.

More praise for Jewish Lives:
“Excellent.”—New York Times
“Exemplary.”—Wall St. Journal
“Distinguished.”—New Yorker
“Superb.”—The Guardian
Adina Hoffman is an award-winning essayist and biographer. The author of four previous books, including Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architects of a New City and My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian Century, she lives in Jerusalem and New Haven.
Title:Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures
Product dimensions:264 pages, 8.25 X 5.75 X 0.81 in
Shipping dimensions:264 pages, 8.25 X 5.75 X 0.81 in
Published:February 12, 2019
Publisher:Yale University Press
Appropriate for ages:All ages
ISBN - 13:9780300180428

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