2017-07-12
Kirk Douglas--the muscular star of movie classics like "Spartacus"--turned from the tinsel immortality of the silver screen toward deeper truths after being in a helicopter crash at age 71, in which two younger men died. Douglas, though born a Jew, had never paid much attention to religion before the tragedy. But as he struggled to regain his physical strength, he recovered his Jewish roots while seeking to make sense of the calamity. "Climbing the Mountain" is his spiritual memoir, and it has about the depth of insight you'd expect from a Hollywood icon.

Fortunately, it's also Douglas's lame but amusing effort to palm off lots of little anecdotes about life as a movie star in the guise of a book about religion: The time his son, movie star Michael Douglas, gave him a new car for his birthday. Flirting with Liv Tyler at a gas station ("Why is it that I meet the most beautiful girls when my wife is around?"). Seeing Michelle Pfeiffer at synagogue ("Maybe Michelle will convert to Judaism--what a boost that would be for the Jews"). Although it's hard to keep from rolling your eyes while reading this book, it's also hard to put "Climbing the Mountain" down.

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