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The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by John…

The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

by John Dickson Carr

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Very well researched and fascinating book about a fascinating man. The only two things that stopped it getting five stars were
(1) the constant use by the author of the phrase 'this biographer' when referring to his own opinion or something he discovered. I found this an irritating and rather pompous way and would have preferred a simple 'I'.
(2) his attitude towards those who were less than enthusiastic about any of Mr Doyle's writing. It's obvious he is a fan of Doyle which is fine, but he could be quite insulting when talking of those who thought otherwise. There was no need to be so dismissive simply because their opinion differed from his.
Otherwise and in all other respects this is an excellent biography of one of our most famous (and best) writers. Recommended. ( )
  nwdavies | Aug 21, 2014 |
One of my favorite writers writes about one of my favorite writers. This was fun and informative. ( )
  ReneeGKC | Jan 30, 2014 |
I, like many people I would guess, knew nothing about Doyle except that he wrote Sherlock Holmes. Now I know that this fact would have caused him to have fits if he knew it back then. I didn’t realize how popular and well known he was at the time, even though the Holmes stories were by far his most popular works even then. He led a much more interesting life than I would have guessed and now I want to read some of his other works.

This is a biography by an author who can really write, not just rattle off a timeline. It’s almost like a novel at times. ( )
  bongo_x | Apr 6, 2013 |
This 1949 biography is quite dated and awkwardly stands the test of time (utilizing old-fashioned conventions such as staging Conan Doyle's conscience, speaking aloud to him). It is also filled with oblique references to then-current events that the modern reader does not recognize, and sprinkled throughout with rather prim editorial commentary. Despite these distractions, I found it riveting in its vivid portrait of an amazing thinker and adventurer, a gifted, generous and remarkably larger-than-life character. It's filled with surprising revelations (Conan Doyle introduced skiing to Switzerland for the first time, and invented and successfully promoted many military innovations for saving lives, such as using inflatable rubber rafts as life boats). I didn't know that he despised Holmes, or of his family's proud knightly and artistic accomplishments. His years as a struggling doctor were fascinating, and coming to understand his relationships and his emotional life and their impact on his development as a writer made the book well worth the read. ( )
  LaurelMildred | Jan 14, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394716086, Paperback)

This vivid biography, written by John Dickson Carr, a giant in the field of mystery fiction, benefits from his full access to the archives of the eminent Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—to his notebooks, diaries, press clippings, and voluminous correspondence. Like his creation Sherlock Holmes, Doyle had "a horror of destroying documents," and until his death in 1930, they accumulated to vast amount throughout his house at Windlesham. They provide many of the words incorporated by Carr in this lively portrayal of Doyle's forays into politics, his infatuation with spiritualism, his literary ambitions, and dinner-table conversations with friends like H. G. Wells and King Edward VII. Carr, then, in a sense collaborates with his subject to unfold a colorful narrative that takes Doyle from his school days at Stonyhurst to Edinburgh University and a medical practice at Southsea, where he conceived the idea of wedding scientific study to criminal investigation in the fictive person of Sherlock Holmes. It also explores the private tragedy of Doyle's first marriage and long-delayed second as it follows him into the arena of public activity, propaganda, and literary output that would win him not only celebrity but also knighthood. 8 pages of black-and-white photographs are featured.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:00 -0400)

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