Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story

S. & S. 2012. 646p. ISBN 9781451662436. $35. FILM/BIOG
Schwarzenegger devotes the first 200 pages of his autobiography to his austere beginnings in Austria and his single-minded pursuit of a bodybuilding career, which culminated in his winning the Mr. Universe title five times and being Mr. Olympia four times, foreshadowing his drive for bigger and better things. Readers seeking gory details of his affair and subsequent fathering of a son with his housekeeper or his separation from Maria Shriver will be disappointed. He devotes only six pages to it, saying that "people…make stupid choices involving sex." Then he dusts himself off and ends the book with "Arnold's Rules," including, "Turn your liabilities into assets," "Don't follow the crowd," etc. If readers haven't figured it out by now, Schwarzenegger has an ego as massive as this 600-plus-page book. But, then, a person who came from nothing to become a huge movie star, the governor of the United States' most populous state, and the owner of a huge fortune isn't likely to be a shrinking violet. That is largely the lesson in this book.
VERDICT Though often self-serving, this rags-to-riches tale is surprisingly engaging.
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