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Publisher's Summary

He's one of America's most recognizable and acclaimed actors: a star on Broadway, an Oscar nominee for The Aviator, and the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing, during his 11 years on M*A*S*H. Now Alan Alda has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances.

"My mother didn't try to stab my father until I was six," begins Alda's irresistible story. The son of a popular actor and a loving but mentally ill mother, he spent his early childhood backstage in the erotic and comic world of burlesque and went on, after early struggles, to achieve extraordinary success in his profession.

Yet Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is not a memoir of show-business ups and downs. It is a moving and funny story of a boy growing into a man who then realizes he has only just begun to grow.

It is the story of turning points in Alda's life, events that would make him what he is, if only he could survive them.

From the moment as a boy when his dead dog is returned from the taxidermist's shop with a hideous expression on his face, and he learns that death can't be undone, to the decades-long effort to find compassion for the mother he lived with but never knew, to his acceptance of his father, both personally and professionally, Alda learns the hard way that change, uncertainty, and transformation are what life is made of, and true happiness is found in embracing them.

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, filled with curiosity about nature, good humor, and honesty, is the crowning achievement of an actor, author, and director, but surprisingly, it is the story of a life more filled with turbulence and laughter than any Alda has ever played on the stage or screen.

©2005 Alan Alda (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A brief but entertaining autobiography tempered with humility and a depth rarely found in celebrity memoirs." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Never Have Your Dog Stuffed

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Lauren
  • 12-12-11

Worth It!

Any additional comments?

I was a little worried about getting an abridged version of this book, but after reading the other reviews I decided that having Alan Alda as the narrator was worth it. I am so glad I went with this version. I couldn't tell if it was abridged or not and I really appreciated having the words read in the author's own voice.

7 people found this helpful

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  • TR4318
  • 04-04-15

Fantastic Book!!

I really enjoyed this book. I look forward to reading/listening to his other books. 😃

3 people found this helpful

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  • L. Robertson
  • 20-03-21

A joy filled listen!

This has been a truly delightful book to listen to, and sometime I’m sure I will listen to it again. Mr Alda is a treasure with his ebullient good humor and thoughtful appreciation of life. He tells a great story!

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  • Seth
  • 25-02-21

A great story for any fan of Alan Alda

I initially gained interest in this book because I am huge fan of M*A*S*H*, so I knew you couldn't have a biography of Alan Alda with out touching on his performances in M*A*S*H*. I was only slightly disappointed that they touched on it very briefly, but to my delight, the rest of his story is even more incredible and gripping. between burlesque shows, mental illness and his struggles to understand the mind, and his constant travels, he certainly lives a life worth writing about. if you loved him in M*A*S*H*, this is a must read/listen

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  • Dayna
  • 18-12-20

Heart-warming, hilarious and intensely human

Rarely have I enjoyed a book as much as this one. It was both laugh out loud funny and intensely personal. It shared the ups and downs of life including the struggle to deal with mental illness within the family. Other memoirs I’ve read that dealt with this were so tremendously sad it was hard to even get through - especially having lived with this in my own family. Alda shares the raw reality, the anger, sadness and struggle without overwhelming the reader. Perhaps it’s because he also had positive things going on in his life he shared or because he writes as if he didn’t take himself too seriously - or could at least look back and find humour in other events. Whatever your take, it’s a great mix of humanity, humour and love of life that leaves you feeling lifted and happy you experienced this work. Thank you Mr Alda!

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  • JIM HOWELL
  • 11-11-20

About as eloquent as you can get…

It doesn’t matter what medium he uses. Alan Alda is the Lands’ End for painting a mental picture, and then decorating it to the best of his ability. Just like his writing and directing on M*A*S*H, and the plays and movies that he has scripted, Alda weaves the wonderful yarn about his life. Doesn’t spend too much time on any one thing (and M*A*S*H fans will be a bit disappointed to know that he doesn’t spend 3/4 of the book on the series), and that’s a plus. Alda knows exactly when he’s on the verge of saying too much about any one thing, and gracefully moves on to the next. An extremely enjoyable listen.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-11-20

A great read

An entertaining and fast moving story with some great lessons in life. Thank you, Mr. Alda.

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  • KrisInPa
  • 27-06-20

Alan Alda is a wonderful story teller!

Insightful, humorous and very real. It's as though Alan Alda is sitting in the living room telling you his story.

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  • Suelllen B. Weller
  • 25-04-20

great book

loved this book! having the author narrate it was especially important. Alan Alda is easily relatable and his story is interesting!

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  • Dara Jendrey
  • 22-02-20

Reality in Spite of Fame

Alan Alda's ability to narrate the eccentricities of his life, and weave them into the family man and famous man are comparable to every being's journey. He gives much to ponder over, with humility and humor. You will enjoy his life's tale. I hope you pick it up and begin the journey with him.

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • G. Seavers
  • 08-02-11

Dog lovers beware

Great to hear that people we see as 'stars' have ordinary lives and problems just like the rest of us. Alan Alda's voice is a little more monotone than I was expecting from an actor but nevertheless is easy to listen to and he has a story very much worth hearing.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-12-12

Great

Love it, it has a lot of depth and great character. It also comes with a life lesson; you can't hold back change and take every opportunity to try new things.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Caroline Littleworth
  • 18-08-15

fantastic

Really well written, it was almost like a novel the way it was put together. I was hooked. Great narration by the author.

1 person found this helpful

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  • jasper
  • 22-07-17

Enchanting.

Alan Alda is such a pleasure to listen to. His magical and unforgettable voice just draws you. It's like listening to honey if you get me drift. God bless you Hawkeye. Highly recommended book.

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  • Chris Regan
  • 17-09-18

Witty, insightful and amusing

I don't like abridged audiobooks. Thankfully they are less and less rare, but I had to make a choice with this book. Either listen to the abridged read by Alan Alda or the unabridged read by someone else. Honestly, there was never a real choice. I wasn't going to listen to Alda story without him reading it.

This is a pretty good overview of his youth, his connection to his parents and his path to acting. There's not a lot of focus on the intricacies of his time on TV and movies or the relationships he formed with other celebrities. And that's fairly refreshing, as much as I'd like to hear stories of his time on M*A*S*H, I found the direction he traveled in more interesting.

There's something comforting in hearing Alan Alda read his story, he doens't come across as a bigshot Hollywood actor, just a guy who happened to end up as one of the fixtures of my childhood growing up.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jane
  • 06-10-15

Quite an engaging man.

worth listening to. interesting to learn about Hawkeye's life. Good voice to listen to. recommended

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-01-20

Great read.

Loved it. Listened to it while on the road at work. I really enjoyed hearimf about the man behind Hawkeye Pearce.

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  • Melanie O'Sullivan
  • 08-11-17

Takes me to a happy place

A book that finds joy and meaning in life that helped me to discover myself a little more. Performed authentically and beautifully.

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  • Colin
  • 08-08-16

Great story teller

It had me laughing at inappropriate moments in public. It's a listen I could do over again.

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  • Dean M.
  • 13-10-15

A Heartfelt Memoir

I was quite moved by the time I reached the end of this title. Superlative.