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Python fans will need to clear a large space on their bookshelf or coffee table for The Pythons--a big, vital autobiography of the comedy troupe. This is an oral history by the six members (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin) from birth to--in the case of Chapman--death. We get reminisces about childhood, university days, early successes, and rich details about the landmark Flying Circus TV series and subsequent films. The voices are fresh (with expectation of Michael Palin's insightful diary entries), not just complied from earlier publications. "Due to his insistence of being inconveniently dead," Chapham's voice is heard through his longtime partner David Sherlock, his brother and sister-in-law (and some archival materials). As a whole, the six impart a refreshing ability to deal honestly with the frustrations that arose over the years and it comes out in the text even when events are recalled differently. The book is not a light read (figuratively and literally), perhaps a smaller size would have been better for the amount of text; a cursory glance at the coffee table is tough. What does fill the book is an abundance of photos (over 1,000), most never published and many from the troupe's private collections. Along with concept sketches, Gilliam's drawings and doodles, and a few correspondences, this is a keepsake memento of the legendary group. --Doug Thomas [via]