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Publisher's Summary

"My father told me, never have partners." (Howard Hughes)

"I'm not a paranoid, deranged millionaire." (Howard Hughes)

Howard Hughes lived a life that was quintessentially American, and his personal history was so varied, improbable, and extraordinary that he practically resembled a living folk hero. Hughes was barely in his 20s during America's Roaring Twenties, but he had already begun to command the nation's headlines as a multitalented millionaire, and the varied pastimes that his talents and wealth afforded him made him nearly impossible to ignore. In the '20s and '30s, the most famous people in the country were generally gangsters, jazz musicians, inventors, baseball players, Hollywood stars, or flying aces, and by the end of the '30s, the 35-year-old Hughes was at least three, and arguably four, of those; perhaps learning to play jazz or hit home runs seemed greedy at that point.

After receiving a handsome inheritance in his teens, Howard made himself into one of the world's first billionaires by the time he was in middle age, so he clearly wasted no time. Already a tycoon at the age of 20, Hughes took no pleasure in rest or success, and his accomplishments were just as unique as the man himself. He made Oscar-nominated films while simultaneously becoming the fastest man on the planet by setting airspeed records in a plane of his own invention, but even as he became a national celebrity, he displayed little interest in other people. A consummate loner, he rarely interacted with the elite social circles to which he had access unless business necessitated it, instead surrounding himself with employees to carry out the practical matters of his empire, make his designs into reality, cobble together his film productions, and organize the disparate parts of his life according to his precise specifications. He was known to millions and managed a diverse empire, but was a friend to no one.

©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors

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    3 out of 5 stars

Boring Account of An Extraordinary Life

Corporately written and blandly narrated this book comes nowhere near relating the excitement that was the life of Howard Hughes. Leaving out large chucks of his life and boringly reciting adjective-less facts of the rest, this book falls far short in telling the American tale that was the life of Howard Hughes.

If you're looking for an exciting account of Howard Hughes, look somewhere else.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 12-04-18

Highs and Lows of The Aviator

In his life Howard Hughes was many things - record setting aviator, engineer, movie producer and director, philanthropist, seducer of young women, consummate liar, and reclusive germophobe. 'American Legends: The Life of Howard Hughes' gives a interesting and detailed recounting of his life, the highs and the lows. The good and the bad.

From confusing beginnings (Hughes always lied about his early life - adoption, one of triplets, unknown birth date or location) through to his reclusive end (the last photo of him was taken more than 20 years before he died) Hughes led an interesting life. The book gives details of that life, including some of the less savory aspects of his life - continually getting acting jobs and seducing younger and younger women, getting engaged to them but never marrying. At some points he was stringing several along and was engaged to multiple people at once.

His issues with mental health are also a large part of who he was, as he descended more and more into fears for his health. The book covers some of the early health issues he had as a youth that would have fed into this later fear. It also seems the straw the broke the camels back was a sexually transmitted disease, which he would have got because of his unending womanising.

This book is a great biography of an interesting man. Well told, it is quick paced and engaging.It delves into not just what he did, but also what made him tick.

Narration by James Romick is good. Clear, well paced, interesting and engaging. Very happy with his work and would listen to more books he narrated.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Brief Introduction to Howard Hughes

"This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review."

The Life of Howard Hughes by Charles River Editors provides a quick but all inclusive story of Howard Hughes. It is short enough to be able to finish in 5 hours and yet detailed enough to get a good idea who Howard Hughes was. Businessman, golfer, record setter, pilot, visionary, playboy, movie producer and above all hypochondriac is what Howard Hughes was. Someone who was all of the above much certainly be an interesting man. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy or a nervous wreck as in case of Hughes. Overall, this is a good book that is easy to comprehend and provides a detailed glimpse into Hughes's life and work and eventually his downfall.

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  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 10-14-17

Solid, straighforward, balanced

I was following threads of Nixon-Watergate and wound up here. This work is well done all-around, and served my wish to get a solid introduction without going into one of those super-long meandering Hughes books. Here we see the inventions, the character of Hughes, the romances, the Vegas interlude, the madness. Very good value for my money.