Charlie Chaplin vs. America by Scott Eyman: 5*****

Scott Eyman is my favorite Hollywood Biographer and so I was super excited to get his new book on Charlie Chaplin. This book is a very detailed look at a certain portion of his career and what led up to his fall from grace here in America. We get a small background of his life, which remarkably is similar to that of Charles Dickens and we come to understand a lot of the motivations behind his films, Chaplin was a sexual non-entity when he arrived in the US, but can to enjoy younger women – no, not 12 of 14 year old girls but girls in their late teens or 20″s. But this proved scandalous to certain people (the FBI and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper). And so no matter what Chaplin did he was hounded. They tried him for violation of the Mann Act when a Hollywood girlfriend came to NY (crossed state lines), and when that failed they found a rather unstable woman to bring paternity charges against him (the heck that the blood tests proved he wasn’t the father). Then they attacked him as a Communist without any proof, attacked his making of The Great Dictator, Modern Times and any other movie he made. Eventually Chaplin gets a re-entry permit for him to travel to Europe to promote his move Limelight, and 2 days after he boards to ship to England he is informed that his permit is effectively revoked and he will be arrested if he returns to the US.. From hero to pariah in a few short years. This book is focused on these times and we get a Who’s Who of Hollywood celebrities in the book, along with legendary columnists and politicians who are all out to get Chaplin, and a few who remain friendly to him. For both fans of Chaplin, as well as those who enjoy reading about the yesteryears of Hollywood and the film industry this book is a must and is a worthy addition to Eyman’s catalog of works. It keeps up a good pace and there are many memorable parts about his life that I was unaware of until I read Eyman’s book.. This is a definite “must read” and will be one of my top books for 2023!

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