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"After three decades of prodigious film work (and some unfortunate tabloid adventures as well), it's easy to forget that Woody Allen began his career as one heck of a great comedy writer. Getting Even, a collection of his late '60s magazine pieces, offers a look into Allen's bag of shtick, back when it was new. From the supposed memoirs of Hitler's barber: "Then, in January of 1945, a plot by several generals to shave Hitler's moustache in his sleep failed when von Stauffenberg, in the darkness of Hitler's bedroom, shaved off one of the F├╝hrer's eyebrows instead..."

Even though the idea of writing jokes about old Adolf--or addled rabbis, or Maatjes herring--isn't nearly as fresh as it used to be, Getting Even still delivers plenty of laughs. At his best, Woody can achieve a level of transcendent craziness that no other writer can match. If you're looking for a book to dip into at random, or a gift for someone who's seen Sleeper 13 times, Getting Even is a dead lock..."

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