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.
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"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)
As a Brit, I had always had a vague notion that Howard Hughes was a mainstay of the US economy, an aviator, and an eccentric.
I had no idea that he was as wacked in the head as he obviously became in later life - the readings from his memos in the "Operations Manual" for his company are astounding.
Thouroughly enjoyed this book - the narrator is nicely neutral adding to the experience without ever becoming irritating.
Give it a go.
Forget everything you thought was motivating Howard Hughes. This is a highly entertaining inside story of a man who marched to a drummer on a different planet. The richest man in the world sits in the stench of a filthy darkened room, obsesses about germs, mucks up multi-million dollar business deals, compulsively lies and has no comprehension, much less concern, about the havoc he causes others. This is a great listen.
It is difficult to like a book about an unlikable character and in Howard Hughes there was much not to like. Had he not had the cash machine of the Hughes Tool Company, he would have been one of those people who drifted through life never quite putting it together in either their personal or professional lives. In his later years, he either would have been institutionalized (in one era) or living on the street (in another). Nevertheless, this author and this reader pull it off and make the experience of listening to this life a fascinating experience. I will never forget the Howard Hughes instructions on opening a can of peaches.
I thought The Last Lion, American Cesar, and John Adams were the best biographies Audible had to offer. I was wrong, Howard Hughes is a must read !
Wow, this guy can sure write and, no doubt, he's done his research. I wish he could have edited as well. We are inundated with facts and figures and unimportant people (at least to the story) that detract from the insightful tale of Howard Hughes and what made him tick. That Hughes is a mighty figure and an interesting character goes without saying. However, in this bloated tome the interesting facts can easily get bogged down with the trite.
All in all, this is a great book. The research is excellent and Hughes' story is fascinating, though incredibly depressing. What a pathetic individual. He was brilliant but he was a brilliant, spoiled brat.
The writing is good but has some definite issues. The author frequently describes Hughes thoughts about particular topics as though he knows exactly what Hughes was thinking. Hughes didn't keep a diary and apparently didn't carry on a lot of personal conversations in the latter half of his life, so I don't know how the author would know his intimate feelings. I find this sort of pure invention in biographies annoying. There are also some very wierd similies and metaphors used in the book (unfortunately, it's hard to go back and find an example in an audiobook). Fortunately, the excellent research saves the book from some of the minor failings of the writing itself.
The narrator was very good in tone and pace though I too was astonished at the number of basic mispronunciations.
I expect this book will contrast greatly with the current movie "Aviator" about this strange man. It's not just his eccentricities that developed later in life that make him strange. Hughes developed neurotic tendencies early in life. He was not a very good man, but certainly a very lucky man, and a clever man at times. It became uncomfortable to listen to the meaningless, dragging out final years of his life. It didn't help that I was bed ridden with bronchitis while I was listening to it :-)
One of the best Biographies read. Provides information never known about the subject. Excellent flow and continuity.
Middlemarch, Middlesex, Middlebrow
This is the lively and fascinating story of a brilliant creep with a serious personality disorder, which seems to have matched his times and social milieu perfectly. He appears literally to have been unstoppable by physics or law enforcement, until succumbing to a dreary and debilitating brand of "meshugas". Being under 75, I had to Google pictures of his female conquests, but, I must say, he did phenomenally well in that department. Money, however, is just money.
Unfortunately, the writing is barely literate. For instance, the word "that" is used uniformly and annoyingly when "which", "who", or "whom" is called for. The reader amplifies the effect by stumbling over words, such as, "camaraderie" and coming up with at least three unique mispronunciations of "Domergue".
Even though this book was very long, it sure doesn't feel that way. The Narrator sounded great. He has a voice that you can lose yourself in. Howard Hughes was quite a interesting subject. I never got bored, even when Mr. Hughes started, his now famous, strange routines.
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