Tuesday, October 02, 2012
‘Total Recall,’ by Arnold Schwarzenegger With Peter Petre
When Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of California, a reporter asked about the Cohiba label on the cigar Mr. Schwarzenegger was smoking. “That’s a Cuban cigar,” the reporter said. “You’re the governor. How can you flout the law?”
By Arnold Schwarzenegger, with Peter Petre
Illustrated. 646 pages. Simon & Schuster. US$35.
The answer was as good a one-sentence encapsulation of the bodybuilder/entrepreneur/movie star/politician/braggart’s philosophy as all of “Total Recall,” his 646-page memoir, provides. “I smoke it because it’s a great cigar,” he said.
This is only one of countless ways Mr. Schwarzenegger has prized self-interest throughout his long, glory-stalking and (as he loves pointing out) extremely lucrative career. “Total Recall” contains nonstop illustrations of how he aims high, tramples on competitors, breaks barriers and savors every victory, be it large or small. Those who mistake “Total Recall” for a salacious tell-all may not be that interested in how many Mr. Olympia contests he won (seven) or who he beat for a Golden Globe in 1977 (Truman Capote and the kid who played Damien in “The Omen”). Let’s get the scandalous stuff out of the way, because Mr. Schwarzenegger certainly wants to.
About the son he conceived with the family housekeeper, Mildred Baena, in 1996, he says only this: that he had always promised himself not to fool around with the help. That once, “all of a sudden,” he and Ms. Baena “were alone in the guesthouse.” And immediately after that: “When Mildred gave birth the following August. ...”