Total Recall: Schwarzenegger’s unbelievably fascinating book

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Total Recall: Schwarzenegger’s unbelievably fascinating book

Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger has not received a lot of good reviews. In fact, you might observe that the reviews are snarky, nasty and really mean in some cases.

Schwarzenegger was a great actor, a very good governor of California, a decent husband with faults and an author dedicated to minute detail of his life.

Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life StoryI found the book fascinating. Schwarzenegger offers a refreshing candor and detail that may sound drab and boring to the critics, but describes who he really is. Schwarzenegger is an immigrant from Austria — maybe the reason why the media hates him so much, they loath anyone from the “Aryan” or Germanic heritages — a successful body builder, a very good actor and a politician. He married into the Kennedy dynasty, wedding Maria Shriver, the daughter of Sargeant and Eunice Shriver.

He overcome huge obstacles with pure determination and belief in himself to rise up to become one of the most successful and recognized bodybuilders in the World.

He parlayed that into Hollywood movies, starring in several of my absolute favorite films. In his book, Schwarzenegger offers insights and remembrances of events that are fascinating.

I listened to the audio book. Three large files of about 9 hours each.

His story is an immigrant success story. He became governor when everyone said he couldn’t, including his wife. Yet he did it. he didn’t go off the deep end like former Governor Jesse Ventura, nor did he become the political icon like Ronald Reagan. But he left a lasting legacy in California.

It is amazing how easily the public is manipulated by a partisan and biased media. Many of the writers hate Schwarzenegger. He was a centrist Republican, something liberals loath even more than right wing fanatic Republicans because the centrists are so much harder to discredit.

He overcame many obstacles to become successful and his book should inspire others to pursue their dreams and their goals without fear. Schwarzenegger did it and he hopes you are inspired to do the same.

He doesn’t dwell on the most recent news and scandal to haunt his career. He cheated on his wife and had a baby with the woman who was a housemaid. It happened 14 years ago. He didn’t even know he had the child until many years later. But Shriver had heard the rumors and confronted Arnold just after Arnold left public life. At least she considered his career. Schwarzenegger talks about that event and apologizes for it. Not with excuses but with genuine remorse. He acknowledges he hurt his wife and his four children. That incident probably more than all the rest have pushed the critics to extremist assault against him.

Whatever Maria does, that is between the two of them. But it doesn’t minimize his successful life and his inspiring story of an immigrant with so many things that might hold others back to become the success he did.

I loved the book. I urge you to read it or listen to the audio book, too.

— Ray Hanania

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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