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Publisher's Summary

Born in 1903, and until his death in 2003, Bob Hope was the only entertainer to achieve top-rated success in every major mass-entertainment medium, from vaudeville to television and everything in between. He virtually invented modern stand-up comedy. His tours to entertain US troops and patriotic radio broadcasts, along with his all-American, brash-but-cowardly movie character, helped to ease the nation's jitters during the stressful days of World War II. He helped redefine the very notion of what it means to be a star: a savvy businessman, pioneer of the brand extension (churning out books, writing a newspaper column, hosting a golf tournament), and public-spirited entertainer whose Christmas military tours and tireless work for charity set the standard for public service in Hollywood. But he became a polarizing figure during the Vietnam War, and the audiobook sheds new light on his close relationship with President Richard Nixon during those embattled years.

Bob Hope is a household name. However, as Richard Zoglin shows in this revelatory biography, there is still much to be learned about this most public of figures, from his secret first marriage and his stint in reform school, to his indiscriminate womanizing and his ambivalent relationship with Bing Crosby and Johnny Carson. Hope could be cold, self-centered, tight with a buck, and perhaps the least introspective man in Hollywood. But he was also a dogged worker, gracious with fans, and generous with friends.

Hope is both a celebration of an entertainer whose vast contribution has never been properly appreciated, and a complex portrait of a gifted but flawed man, who, unlike many Hollywood stars, truly loved being famous, appreciated its responsibilities, and handled celebrity with extraordinary grace.

©2014 Richard Zoglin (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Recorded by arrangement with Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • John
  • Lowell, MA, United States
  • 12-29-14

A thoroughly engaging biography

Would you listen to Hope again? Why?

Well, I might listen to it with another Hope enthusiast, because it's so well done. But a book is a book and I usually read a book once.

What did you like best about this story?

I appreciated the honesty of the reporting of Hope's astonishing life. Fabulous and Flawed, every aspect of Hope's contribution to show business is covered.

Have you listened to any of Malcolm Hillgartner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not, but I found his delivery superb, and his subtle delivery of Hope's quotes somewhat evocative of Hope himself.

Any additional comments?

This is an important book, about an important 20th Century personality. It is accessible and very well-written, and the performance on the Audible recording is brilliant.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Overall an excellent book

Highly recommend this book - it is real and down to earth. Very interesting and enjoyable - captures the readers attention throughout the narrative

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Now I know Bob better!

I remember watching the Bob Hope TV show and specials, his movies, and his tours to entertain the US troops. He seemed to never rest--he was all about entertaining people. I didn't know tons of details about the man who made himself into Bob Hope, so I turned to this biography. It did not disappoint. It is well written and the narrator was excellent. I highly recommend it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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  • Story

The story behind the famous figure

What did you love best about Hope?

His life was so interesting and varied--I learned a lot about him.

What did you like best about this story?

Learning that he did not write his own material and that he was different personally than his entertainment persona.

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

Great performance, made the story come alive.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The time he spent entertaining the troops was amazing. While he could be fairly selfish, this was very selfless.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Highly recommend

Interesting book. Audio quality was very good. Did not know much about Bob Hope's life and so found the book very informative.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Bob Hope

Well written and read.
I think it portrayed a very human, flawed, but talent entertainer and man.

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Definitly the greatest comic of the 20th century.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Hope?

The way Dorothy Lamour was mistreated by Crosby and Hope. Neither had great respect for her or her contributions to the Road pictures.

Which character – as performed by Malcolm Hillgartner – was your favorite?

Dorothy Lamour

  • Overall
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An excellent book

Really can not say enough about this book. Well researched and even handed. Mr. Hillgartner does a great job and his "suggestion" of Hope's voice was well done. Look up shots of the two homes , they are spectacular and helps.

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A great book!

A great biography of Bob Hope. Would recommend. Narrator did a great job as well.

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  • Roxanne G
  • Mesquite, TX, United States
  • 10-27-15

Very factual & well read

I wasn't really sure what to expect with so many biographies of dead stars being no more than sensatonalized gossip rehashed but this book stuck to facts. I was presented in a very easy to follow manner neither glorifying Hope nor condemning him. He certainly would not have gotten away with many things he did in today's world of cell phones and social media, but this is a well presented story of a bygone age and man.