A good autobiography is one in which you can hear the author audibly speaking out the book in your head as your read. Certainly you have that in the Arena. It will be a long time before I get the voice of Charlton Heston out of my head.
Summary: This book does have some politics in it but it is far from politically correct. One thing is certain about Charlton Heston: He speaks candidly about his opinions, and holds no punches for doing so. With that said this is not a book about politics. The final chapter is fabulously written pointing out the facts and ending strong words of encouragement for America.
I picked up this book to learn insight into the background of some of the movies that he had performed in. Not only did I find that but I also found a man rich in conviction and commitment. How many men stay with their first love, and how fewer are those numbers counted as individuals in the entertainment industry? Heston's commitment to his wife Lydia shows his real character.
The only negative that I can find in this book is Chapter 20. For some odd reason Heston breaks his chronological order for only this chapter. This chapter is primarily about his stage plays and it tends to ramble on over 40 pages, I can almost imagine that somehow this chapter missed the editors cut. This chapter isn't as well written as the others and is difficult reading in that the storyline jumps around quite a bit. In all honesty, you could skip this chapter all together and go right to 21.
Storyline: I give 4 out of 5 stars simply because of the inconsistency of chapter 20.
Writing style: 5 out of 5 stars. It is written in the way that you would imagine Charlton Heston speaking. Rich and free.
Depth/Inspiration: 5 out of 5 stars. This was only a 3 ranking until chapter 22. I would have preferred he put more information in about his personal relationships and religious beliefs. If you only read one chapter read 22. Very inspirational for the American reader.
Entertainment/Education value: 5 out of 5 stars. Definitely an entertaining novel, one that is quite difficult to put down once you get into it. This book is educational not only on Mr. Heston's life but also on how movies are directed and a slight insight into the internal workings of the motion picture industry.