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Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream | [Steven Watts]

Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream

When Hugh Hefner quit his job at Esquire to start a magazine called Playboy, he didn't just want to make money, he wanted to make dreams come true. In this wise and penetrating biography, intellectual historian Steven Watts looks at what Hugh Hefner went on to become and how he took America with him. Hefner became one of the most hated and envied celebrities in America, standing just barely on the wrong side of decency - with as many as seven million subscribers to his magazine.
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Publisher's Summary

When Hugh Hefner quit his job at Esquire to start a magazine called Playboy, he didn't just want to make money, he wanted to make dreams come true. The first issue had a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an article on the Dorsey brothers, and a feature on desk design for the modern office. Hefner wrote much of the copy himself and drew all the cartoons. But the most memorable part by far was the set of pictures he bought from a local calendar printer of a scantily clad Marilyn Monroe.

In this wise and penetrating biography, intellectual historian Steven Watts looks at what Hugh Hefner went on to become and how he took America with him. Hefner became one of the most hated and envied celebrities in America, standing just barely on the wrong side of decency - with as many as seven million subscribers to his magazine.

©2008 Steven Watts; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (21 )
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  •  
    Glenda Fuller 01-14-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book but a little long"

    Very interesting story of how Hugh Hefner started and an interesting look into his life. The only problem was after a while it started to drag on and on. Overall a very interesting story and it's easy to see why so many men idolize Hugh Hefner; including me!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl West Palm Beach, FL, United States 01-05-11
    Carl West Palm Beach, FL, United States 01-05-11 Member Since 2001
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    "Great Book About Influence of Playboy"

    If you are looking for a book primarily about Hef's sexlife and all the wild things that have happened under the Playboy banner then you aren't going to get much about that. This book is mainly a scholarly work about the influence of Playboy on our culture and the dynamic phenomenon the organization became.

    Its a great book with a great reader about how Playboy was started, its iinfluence on Hef, how he and the organization have changed over time, and why Playboy influence has gone were no other girlie mag ever has.

    Had fun with it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Taliadoros Maine 02-03-09
    J. Taliadoros Maine 02-03-09 Member Since 2005

    Jenny

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    "Boring"

    The last thing I expected of a story about Hugh Hefner was that it would be boring, yet this author spends so much time on cultural influences that it's more like a textbook than an engaging life story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    genevieve ANACORTES, WA, United States 09-06-11
    genevieve ANACORTES, WA, United States 09-06-11
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    "An interesting portrait of American culture."

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn't want something that felt like fifty years of "The Girls Next Door" or lengthy descriptions of Hefner's sexual exploits. I wanted something compelling, something that could explain what made Playboy what it has become, and that is what I got with this book.
    Each decade from 1953 until now is described in great detail. The Playboy empire is at the forefront, but the social climate of America is the other main character. Playboy changed with the times, shapeshifting to keep up with the trends. It's a common business model. Reinventing yourself over and over to remain a classic.
    My only complaint about this book is that I found it to be a little repetitive at times, there were definitely moments where I was having flashbacks of having heard the exact same sentences a couple times before. I think it just has to do with the style it was written in.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kym Adelaide, Australia 07-05-12
    kym Adelaide, Australia 07-05-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Disapointing"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who are more interested in the magazine than the man


    What was most disappointing about Steven Watts’s story?

    Very little insite into Hugh Heffener himself


    What does Ray Porter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Peserverance


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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