Climbing the Mountain

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9780684844152: Climbing the Mountain

With the simple power and astonishing candor that made The Ragman's Son a great bestseller, Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas shares his quest for spirituality and Jewish identity -- and his heroic fight to overcome crippling injuries and a devastating stroke.On February 13, 1991, Kirk Douglas, star of such major Hollywood classics as Spartacus and Paths of Glory, was in a helicopter crash in which two people died and Douglas sustained severe back injuries. As he lay in the hospital recovering, haunted by the tragedy, he kept wondering -- Why had the two younger men died while he, who had lived his life fully, survived?The question drives this son of a Russian-Jewish ragman back to his roots and on a journey of self-discovery. Through the teachings of the celebrated Rabbi David Aaron he finds a new spirituality and purpose to life through Judaism. His new-found orthodox faith enables him to make peace with his son Michael, to listen to others, and, above all, to hear his own inner voice. Unsparing, frank, passionate, Climbing the Mountain is also an intimate account of the actor's courageous fight to recover first from his painful and crippling crash injuries and then from a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak -- an inspirational struggle that culminates in his triumphant appearance at the 1996 Academy Awards "RM" ceremony to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Review:

Born Issur Danielovich to a poor family in Amsterdam, New York, Kirk Douglas changed his name and identity, rocketing to fame as one of Hollywood's great macho actors. But in the 1990s, the eighth decade of his life, Douglas was transformed by a number of tragic incidents that forced him to heed the voice of little Issur that still resided within him. This frank, smoothly written autobiography, which somehow manages to be warmhearted, pompous, and moving all at the same time, picks up where The Ragman's Son, Douglas's earlier memoir, left off. In Climbing the Mountain the actor turned philosopher talks about the helicopter accident that killed two younger men while leaving him alive, the death of his friend Burt Lancaster, and the debilitating effects of a minor stroke. All of these incidents caused him to reevaluate his life, to acknowledge the voice and integrity of the Issur Danielovich he left behind, and to return to the Jewish faith. Climbing the Mountain is the book of a real survivor, a man walking the path of old age with dignity, thoughtfulness, and humor.

From the Publisher:

With the simple power and astonishing candor that made his 1988 autobiography, The Ragman's Son, a number one international bestseller, Kirk Douglas now shares his quest for spirituality and Jewish identity -- and his heroic fight to overcome crippling injuries and a devastating stroke.

On February 13, 1991, at the age of seventy-four, Kirk Douglas, star of such major motion-picture classics as Champion, Spartacus, and Paths of Glory, was in a helicopter crash, in which two people died and he himself sustained severe back injuries with debilitating long-term effects. As he lay in the hospital recovering, haunted by the tragedy, he kept wondering: Why had two younger men, whose lives were in front of them, died while he, who had already lived his life fully, survived?

The question drove this son of a Russian-Jewish ragman to a search for his roots and on a long journey of self-discovery -- a quest not only for the meaning of life and his own relationship with God, but for his own identity as a Jew. Through the study of Torah, Kirk Douglas found a new spirituality and purpose to life. His newfound faith deeply enriched his relationship with his own children and taught him -- a man who had always been famously demanding and impatient -- to listen to others and, above all, to hear his own inner voice.

With the narrative skill that has made him a successful novelist, Kirk Douglas not only takes the reader through his own near-death experience but tells the story of his stubborn struggle to make sense of his own life, to come to terms with the reality of death, and to answer the "big questions" that eventually confront us all: What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Who is God?

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Book Description Easton Press, 1997. Full-Leather. Book Condition: New. First Edition. Easton Press limited First Edition of 1250 numbered copies SIGNED by Kirk Douglas to limitation page, this an early number in the sequence (#44), gilt-stamped full olive green leather with 4 raised spine hubs, moire fabric endsheets & satin ribbon marker bound in, a Fine unread unbrowsed copy with Easton Collector's Note Card & Certificate of Authenticity laid in; 8vo; 269pp indexed & illus. Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 26112

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