Man of the Theater and Father of Stan Laurel
A most splendid new book in which the author slowly and superbly disentangles Arthur Jefferson's early life and then charts a journey through the marriages, successes, failures and heartache which marked staging posts in the life of a remarkably versatile man.
Each chapter is rich in detail with meticulous attention to fact. The chapters dovetail to give a complete picture of theatrical life from the Victorian era right through to the late 1940s - a time without communication networks with which we are so familiar today.
This is serious writing from an author who knows his subject matter, and who is not hesitant to examine provenance and take on the time consuming search of records to separate fact from myth.
The volume of detailed research is staggering, as is the scrutiny of the detail. Where there is conjecture, links are woven in such a way as to form a bona fide vision of the event.
There are some pivotal chapters in the book, from the euphoria of life in Tyneside to the grief, despair and despondency at Craigmillar Road, Glasgow in late November 1908. These events are treated by the author with honesty, simplicity and compassion.
Not only is this a detailed, thorough and thought provoking account, it is also a good read with many intriguing discoveries which will also serve as an excellent reference text for all who have an interest in history, the theatre, the cinema, and of course the Jeffersons.
This is a spectacular and striking piece of work for which I have much admiration and have no hesitation in recommending it.