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Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters: The Definitive Biography of the First American Billionaire | [Richard Hack]

Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters: The Definitive Biography of the First American Billionaire

In "the most exciting bio of the year," Richard Hack uses recently uncovered (and in some cases, recently declassified) personal letters, court testimony, FBI files, autopsy reports and exclusive interviews to reveal the man who was a legendary lover, record-setting aviator, award-winning film producer, talented inventor, ultimate eccentric, and, for much of his lifetime, the richest man in the United States.
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Publisher's Summary

"Howard Hughes would have hated this book...because he never wanted the truth to be told. As the man who knew Hughes best for 17 years and to whom he referred publicly as his alter-ego, I now believe that the entire story has finally been told." (Robert Maheu)

Howard Hughes was a true American original: legendary lover, record-setting aviator, award-winning film producer, talented inventor, ultimate eccentric, and, for much of his lifetime, the richest man in the United States.

His desire for privacy was so fierce and his isolation so complete that even now, 25 years after his death, inaccurate stories continue to circulate, and many have been published as fact. Hughes explodes the illusion of his life and exposes the man behind the myth. He was a playboy whose sexual exploits with Hollywood stars were legendary. He was a man without compassion; an entrepreneur without ethics; an explorer without maps; and ultimately, an eccentric trapped by his own insanity, sealed off from reality, who died a lonely and - until now - mysterious death.

Newly uncovered personal letters, over 110,000 pages of sealed court testimony, recently declassified FBI files, never-before-published autopsy reports and exclusive interviews reveal a man so devious in his thinking, so perverse in his desires, and so influential that his impact continues to be felt even today. From entertainment to politics, aviation to espionage, the influence and manipulation of this billionaire has left an indelible and unique mark on the American cultural landscape.

© and (P)2001 New Millennium Audio, All Rights Reserved

What the Critics Say

"In the most exciting bio of the year, Hack presents the American dream curdling into the American nightmare, personified in a legend who at last has an accounting worthy of him." (Publishers Weekly)
"A fascinating, captivating listen." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (500 )
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4.1 (204 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Traven New York, NY, United States 10-22-11
    Traven New York, NY, United States 10-22-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Fascinating"

    This is a somewhat cheesily-written (no one just goes away when they can "vanish into the night") but absolutely amazing story that appears to be extremely well researched. It's a bit reticent about what Hughes' psychiatric problems really were and what role drugs played in them, but otherwise it's filled with detail and at the same time fast-moving and always interesting. I always feel a lack with audio biographies because there aren't photos or an index, but I was sorry when this one ended.
    I thought the reader did a great job. As has been pointed out, he makes a handful of pronunciation errors over the course of 19 hours or whatever, but I didn't find these significant. Meanwhile, he does Hughes voice whenever reading actual documents by Hughes that it is very effective at conveying who's saying what and also adds nice atmosphere.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Lee San Francisco 10-08-11
    Janet Lee San Francisco 10-08-11 Member Since 2007

    GG

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    "I was incredulous."

    I couldn't stop listening. I knew Hughes was at least eccentric and OCD but those descriptions are too vague. I don't think there is a psychological or physiological category that he would fall in to. Fascinating. Well written, credible and though I thought a few words were misread, narration good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 09-22-11
    Tim United States 09-22-11 Member Since 2011

    Putting books on the back burner.

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    "Obsessions and Paranoia"

    All great minds has its downfalls. Howard Hughes was his obsessions and paranoia of his own self. The book goes into great detail of Hughes' riches and businesses in planes, films, monopoly of Vegas, Mormon staffs, his consistence womanizing and his hatred of paying taxes. If you want to find out more of business side of Hughes' estate, there is plenty of information out there. If you want to find out more about his corks, paranoia and isolation from everyone and everything, this title is a must read.

    Hughes' ego and arrogance has to be the best of his personality and his downfall was the obsessions, depressions, addiction to prescription drugs and probably every mental illness in the book.

    For example a manual of how to open a can of peaches and so on.

    Even after his death, his Will was being question for its accuracy. Such as Mormon Will and others coming out from the wood work. .

    You have to think highly of the man and his mind for modern day invention that we use everyday. These type of corks and kinks and even mental illness, is common to great thinkers of the world, such as Bill Gates and his Aspergers, and others with their obsessions. I have to believe, these people are wired differently from the norm. They were born to invent outside of the drawing board.

    This biography is very complete and flow smoothly as you listen to the narration.

    The author spare no detail on Hughes personal side and his deterioration of his health, due to his manic behaviors. I'm looking for a complete biography, like this one, on William Randolph Hearst.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Diana Laredo, TX, United States 12-05-08
    Diana Laredo, TX, United States 12-05-08 Member Since 2010
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    "Too weird"

    As a young woman, I read Howard Hughes' adventures, or misadventures, in the tabloids. Later, when he died, I read about his peculiarities. Intrigued by Hughes' life, I bought this audiobook, it is very well written, read by a great narrator, and goes into great detail about the absurdity surrounding his early years and how it affected his adult life. Good read if you'd like to know what molded an outstanding man. I found way too much detail of the absurd and while "reading" it had the same queasy feeling when, as a small child, I went into a carnival booth showing the "spider woman" - revolted yet at the same time fascinated

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Westlake, LA, United States 01-23-06
    Larry Westlake, LA, United States 01-23-06
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    "Good, but lacks details"

    This is an excellent first read as an introductory into Hughes' life. I really enjoyed the close attention to detail of his early life and his relationship with his parents. The only reason this gets 4 stars is due to the skip of many of the details about Hughes' mental life. This book dealt only with facts collected for legitimate sources, and that was greatly appreciated. However the attention to his mental issues (specifically the details) seemed to be skipped over in many cases. I suppose this is difficult to write about, especially given Hughes' desire for isolation, but it would have been nice to hear a few tidbits of the first hand accounts of interactions with Hughes. There were small blurbs about such information scattered through the book (a good example would be his memo regarding the preparation of canned fruit), but much of this information was not given the attention most people would expect from first reading about Hughes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael The Woodlands, TX, USA 02-02-05
    Michael The Woodlands, TX, USA 02-02-05
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    "Amazing"

    What an amazing life Hughes had. He went totally whacko in the last half of his life and was way out of touch with the real world as evidenced by his crazy operational memos and his obsession with germs. For a man so wealthy, I was amazed that he lived such a deprived, narrow, unhealthy, unclean and depressing life - he was a billionaire living in squalor. I'm just an average Texas working class guy but found this book inspiring inasmuch at it made me appreciate the great life I have with my family and the fact that it doesn't take money enjoy life. As an aside, this book was extremely well narrated by Dan Cashman, so much so that my next book selections have been influenced by taking a look to see what other books he has narrated. Get and listen to this book ? I guarantee that you won?t be disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Shawn Kitchener, Ontario, Canada 05-20-05
    Shawn Kitchener, Ontario, Canada 05-20-05
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    "Hughes - The Aviator"

    Many people were introduced to the story of Howard Hughes through the 2004 film, The Aviator. Martin Scocese covered highlights from the 1920s - 1940s. However, those wanting the whole story will definitely appreciate this audiobook! In great detail, Richard Hack tells of Hughes' curious dealings in business and his odd personal relationships. What I found most interesting was Hughes' accomplishments as an aviator and businessman (many of which were ommitted in the movie) and his ongoing battles with the government - which included censorship, anti-trust lawsuits, federal surveillance. My only critism, if any, is how long this book is(17.5 hours!). Yet the narrator does a good job at keeping you hooked to the story.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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    Judith getzville, NY, USA 04-22-04
    Judith getzville, NY, USA 04-22-04
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    "Fascinating and repelling."

    This life of priviledge went horribly wrong. Although repelled, the listener can't turn away.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edmund W. Cheung Playa Del Rey, CA USA 03-15-03
    Edmund W. Cheung Playa Del Rey, CA USA 03-15-03 Member Since 2002
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    "Expertly written biography of a intriguing man"

    The life story of Hughes is like a fictional soap opera itself. This detailed biography really brings things to life. A must read.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Casey 01-15-05
    Casey 01-15-05

    Hi! I'm Casey Keller, semi-retired TV writer, avid cyclist, husband and father. I'm also a guy who devours audio books.

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    "A Good Book Spoiled"

    Richard Hack did a fine job researching the enigmatic and always fascinating Howard Hughes. The story is fascinating, at least at the beginning, before Hughes descends into addiction and mental illness.

    Sadly, even a fine book can be ruined by a poor reading. And this is an especially poor one. Dan Cashman apparently does not share Mr. Hack's penchant for research. He may not even own a dictionary. As a result, words and names are constantly mispronounced. In Mr. Cashman's reading, director George Cukor becomes George Sue-core. The Glomar Explorer is the Glommer. The city of Tonapah, Nevada becomes tuh-NO-puh. When Mr. Hughes gets a haircut, he is described as freshly coy'fed.

    There is nothing wrong with Mr. Cashman's voice, but his unwillingness to do his homework created a major distraction that took away much of the pleasure from this book.

    7 of 12 people found this review helpful
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