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Download Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane, by Patrick McGilligan Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Patrick McGilligan Narrator: Keith Szarabajk Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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For the centennial of his birth, the defining wunderkind of modern entertainment gets his due in a groundbreaking new biography of his early years—from his first forays in theater and radio to the inspiration and making of Citizen Kane.

No American artist or entertainer has enjoyed a more dramatic rise than Orson Welles. In this magisterial biography, Patrick McGilligan brings young Orson into focus as never before. He chronicles Welles’ early life growing up in Wisconsin and Illinois, as the son of an alcoholic industrialist and a radical suffragist and classical musician, and the magical early years of his career, including his marriages and affairs, his influential friendships, and his artistic collaborations.

The tales of his youthful achievements were so colorful and improbable that Welles, with his air of mischief, was often thought to have made them up. Now after years of intensive research, McGilligan sorts out fact from fiction and reveals untold, fully documented anecdotes of Welles’ first exploits and triumphs, from starring as a teenager on the Gate Theatre stage in Dublin and bullfighting in Seville, to his time in the New York theater and his fraught partnership with John Houseman in the Mercury Theatre, and to his arrival in Hollywood and the making of Citizen Kane.

Filled with intriguing new insights and startling revelations—including the surprising true origin and meaning of “Rosebud”—Young Orson is a fascinating look at the creative development and influences that shaped this legendary artistic genius.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A much-needed view of his subject’s early days in school, theater, and radio…Welles’ native brilliance and his ascent from producing plays as a boy at the Todd School to his conquest of New York theater and radio as an adult has seldom been documented with more clarity.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Must reading for anyone interested in the history of film.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Engrossing…Exhaustively researched but well-paced and stuffed with beguiling detail, this is a vivid, sympathetic portrait of Welles’ youthful promise and achievement, before the misfires and compromises of his later years.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “McGilligan’s Orson is a Welles for a new generation…[The] book vibrates with uncertainty and risk, and it hums with the possibility that talented people actually can realize their dreams in the forms they choose.”


  • “Orson Welles’ youth is a truly astonishing story. And every biographer before Patrick McGilligan has missed the true story. An indefatigable reporter and masterful biographer, McGilligan did the hard research others had not bothered to do, and he has unearthed endless revelations that will change our view of Welles’ development as a man and an artist. The portrait of Welles’ fascinating parents is among the book’s finest achievements, and McGilligan puts the whole saga into a rich social and cultural context. This book is a constant joy to read, showing that the truth about Welles’ upbringing and youthful artistic triumphs is even more remarkable than the legend.”

    Joseph McBride, author of What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?

  • “In many ways, Patrick McGilligan’s Young Orson is my favorite of all the Welles biographies to date. Not only because he’s read all the others, and makes judicious calls about how far we should trust them, but because his own prodigious research has turned up so much rich, fresh, and clarifying material. The overall portrait of Welles’ character and background that emerges, uncharacteristically sympathetic, is both dense and persuasive—and a page-turning pleasure to read.”

    Jonathan Rosenbaum, author of Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia

  • “The front rank of film biographers.”

    Washington Post, praise for the author

  • A 2015 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist for Biography
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