The Manchurian Candidate

by Richard Condon | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0965931544 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 11/22/2015
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, November 22, 2015
I found this fair-condition paperback at the Lucky Dog thrift shop in Nashua, and decided to pick this up for another release copy.

I loved the classic 1962 film with Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Angela Lansbury. This edition has the movie-tie-in cover for the 2004 remake directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Denzel Washington; I haven't seen that one yet so I can't compare them.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the '62 film was a very accurate and nearly complete adaptation of the novel - surprised not only because it's so rare for a film adaptation to include nearly all of the incidents and characters from a book but it's especially so in a book as plot-intensive as this one.

The story centers on Korean War veteran Raymond Shaw, whose personality has never been an easy one to get along with, and who suffers from a controlling mother and hates his politically-ambitious step-father. He was a hero in the war, earning a Congressional Medal of Honor - but things aren't what they seem... When some of his surviving platoon-mates start having horrible dreams, one of them starts digging into their wartime activities, and turns up some very unsettling information.

The book is more explicit about several of the darker episodes in the pasts of all the main characters, including Raymond's mother. And it includes all of the traumatic and often heart-breaking things that the characters have to go through. An intricate plot, unusual characters in a very difficult situation, plenty of suspense - a very good story indeed.

One thing I found a bit distracting in the author's style - he loves his thesaurus! I have a pretty good vocabulary and am seldom at a loss as to what a word means, but in this book I kept coming across terms I didn't recognize. [I posted some of them here in the "Interesting words" thread of the Book Talk forum.] I'm pleased to learn new words - but when so many of them baffle me I have to wonder how the book would strike people who aren't as vocabulary-crazy as I am...

In any case, I do recommend the book and the original film!

[The book has its own TV Tropes page, which includes elements from the film adaptations as well as from the book. Warning: while most of the spoilers on the page are masked, at least one key element is openly mentioned several times. Most people who've heard of the book or films will already know this, but if you're not familiar with the story, save this page until after you've read the book or seen the film!]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, January 7, 2016

Released 6 yrs ago (1/8/2016 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA

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I'm adding this book to the Movie bookbox, which will be on its way to its next stop soon. Enjoy! [See the bookbox journal here for books taken and added.]

*** Released as part of the 2016 Theater release challenge. ***

Journal Entry 3 by JudySlump612 at Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on Thursday, March 31, 2016
Chosen from innae's Movie Bookbox

Journal Entry 4 by JudySlump612 at Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on Monday, August 12, 2019
Despite the cover picture of Denzel Washington, this is the original book. I read several reviews of the two film versions, and they were unanimous that the remake was a drop-off from the original. So if you're motivated by reading this to watch the movie, do the extra work to find the first one. I believe Netflix has it. GoryDetails is right, especially about Angela Lansbury, who was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe award. She'll blow your head off!

I also agree with Gory about the vocabulary. She is certainly correct that she knows more words than most people (and I fancy myself on that side of the bell curve too). You might like to have a dictionary handy as you read. I made a little game of trying to guess in advance, from the context, what a given word meant before I looked it up; my success rate stank. But I found it fun to learn so many new words.

As for the content of the book, I'll avoid the obvious comparison to any current political leader. But here's food for thought: in 1956, when this first came out, the idea of a woman running for any political office was almost unthinkable. Now, in 2019, we have several strong, qualified women running for the highest office of all. If Condon were writing this today, would Eleanor be satisfied to be only the power behind the throne, or would she want the reins in her own hands? Actually, in my view she might well have preferred to remain offstage. For her, part of the pleasure was treating her husband with contempt, which for the most part he didn't even suspect.

So that's one person's opinion. Future readers, what do YOU think?

Journal Entry 5 by JudySlump612 at Caribou Coffee in Mendota Heights, Minnesota USA on Monday, August 12, 2019

Released 3 yrs ago (8/12/2019 UTC) at Caribou Coffee in Mendota Heights, Minnesota USA

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