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Total Recall

My Unbelievably True Life Story

By Arnold Schwarzenegger
12-minute read
Audio available
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Total Recall (2013) tells the incredible story of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to global fame from his humble beginnings in rural Austria. Starting with his difficult childhood, these blinks trace Schwarzenegger’s struggles and triumphs in the bodybuilding profession, Hollywood and US politics, and shine a light on his unrelenting positivity and can-do attitude.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger is the former governor of California, one of Hollywood’s best-known stars and an international bodybuilding champion.

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Total Recall

My Unbelievably True Life Story

By Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Synopsis

Total Recall (2013) tells the incredible story of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to global fame from his humble beginnings in rural Austria. Starting with his difficult childhood, these blinks trace Schwarzenegger’s struggles and triumphs in the bodybuilding profession, Hollywood and US politics, and shine a light on his unrelenting positivity and can-do attitude.

Key idea 1 of 7

America was Schwarzenegger’s promised land after a tough childhood.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Austria in 1947. It was a difficult year: The country had wound up on the losing side of WWII and was now in the midst of a famine. His mother traveled up and down the country in search of sustenance for her young family. It was a tough – and formative – start to life. The determined and strong-willed man Schwarzenegger became was indelibly molded by these early experiences.

Losing a war they themselves started shaped the outlook of a whole generation of Austrian men. They were embittered and angry and let those around them know it – especially their children. Schwarzenegger’s father, a provincial policeman called Gustav, was one of them.

Gustav ruled Arnold and his brother Meinhard with a heavy hand. He devised a punishing daily regimen for them: Each morning the boys got up at six and began working through a long list of chores, doing their homework and training for soccer and athletics competitions. Breakfast was only served once they’d completed their allocation of sit-ups and soccer was played every day come rain or shine. When they stepped out of line Gustav would come for them with his belt.

The strict upbringing that the Schwarzenegger boys were subject to wasn’t unusual in post-war Austria. Arnold remembers one of his teachers slamming a classmate’s head against a desk with such force that he broke his teeth – and this was a time before dentists typically gave children anesthetic.

Schwarzenegger was determined to escape his father’s dictatorial rule, and at age 12 he hatched a plan to leave Austria for a new life in America.

He took whatever manual jobs he could find and started saving money to realize his dream of independence. His head was full of visions of a better life, and he told anyone who’d listen about his plan.

Why America? The country was a beacon of freedom and a symbol of power: It was the US that had kept the Soviet Union out of Austria. It was also a land promising excitement and adventure – the nation that had given the world Coca-Cola and Hollywood!

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