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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Much has been written about the second golden age of Hollywood during the 1970s. Friedkin, who got his start in Chicago directing documentaries and live television, rocketed to the head of the class alongside such heavyweights as Scorsese, Coppola, and Polanski after the success and acclaim he received (including the Academy Award for Best Director) for helming the 1971 classic The French Connection. As Friedkin recalls in this durable and intermittently enthralling memoir, such universal praise came too soon, and he became deeply concerned that his career had peaked after only his fifth film. He never could have predicted the frenzied reaction to his 1973 follow-up, The Exorcist, which broke box-office records and redefined the horror genre. On the page, Friedkin never comes across as arrogant, and although he shares candid anecdotes about working with Sonny and Cher, Gene Hackman, and Al Pacino, this is no venomous tell-all. The reflective chapters devoted to his critical and commercial failures are the most insightful. Hardcore film geeks will salivate over this time capsule from a grateful and still-­brilliant legend.--Keech, Chris Copyright 2010 Booklist