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Seduction

Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood
Narrated by: Karina Longworth
Length: 20 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (235 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this riveting popular history, the creator of You Must Remember This probes the inner workings of Hollywood’s glamorous Golden Age through the stories of some of the dozens of actresses pursued by Howard Hughes, to reveal how the millionaire mogul’s obsessions with sex, power, and publicity trapped, abused, or benefited women who dreamt of screen stardom.

In recent months, the media has reported on scores of entertainment figures who used their power and money in Hollywood to sexually harass and coerce some of the most talented women in cinema and television. But as Karina Longworth reminds us, long before the Harvey Weinsteins, there was Howard Hughes - the Texas millionaire, pilot, and filmmaker whose reputation as a cinematic provocateur was matched only by that as a prolific womanizer. 

His supposed conquests between his first divorce in the late 1920s and his marriage to actress Jean Peters in 1957 included many of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, among them Billie Dove, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner. From promoting bombshells like Jean Harlow and Jane Russell to his contentious battles with the censors, Hughes - perhaps more than any other filmmaker of his era - commoditized male desire as he objectified and sexualized women. 

Yet there were also numerous women pulled into Hughes’ grasp who never made it to the screen, sometimes virtually imprisoned by an increasingly paranoid and disturbed Hughes, who retained multitudes of private investigators, security personnel, and informers to make certain these actresses would not escape his clutches.

Vivid, perceptive, timely, and ridiculously entertaining, Seduction is a landmark work that examines women, sex, and male power in Hollywood during its Golden Age - a legacy that endures nearly a century later.

©2018 Karina Longworth (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A must listen for classsic movie fans

Karina Longworth is a phenomenal story teller. I have been a Classic Movie since I was 10 years old so have knowledge of the stories she tells and she is right on...she makes them so interesting. She also has a Podcast "You Must Remember This" and if you are not familiar with it you must give it a listen....I guarantee you will "binge" listen...Thank you Karina for the many hours of extraordinary fun with your Podcast and now this book.....

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A Sensational Story Told By A Hollywood Expert

I am a fan of Karina Longworth's You Must Remember This podcast, so was ecstatic she was writing a book based on some of my favorite episodes focusing on Howard Hughes and his many Hollywood "loves". The insight into Hughes is fascinating and unsettling creepy. But this span of 20+ years in Hollywood is full of interesting stories not just about Hughes, but countless celebrities you may not know a lot about, the movie industry, publicity, censorship and "star making". Loved it. Recommend it for any classic cinephiles story lovers.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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author should not have narrated the book

Story is interesting as far as old Hollywood goes but the real draw back is the narration. The author is actually terrible at reading the book -- it makes you appreciate the excellent professional readers and actors that are available to Audible that do it well...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Hughes - stranger than any fiction

Fans of Longworth's Hollywood history podcast "You Must Remember This" will obviously love this audiobook, but for the uninitiated, Longworth does a very in depth historical look into Howard Hughes history, his pathology,and the impact he had on Hollywood and 20th century popular culture at large. She takes a deep look at the people who were in orbit and the roles they played in his life, and his deep seated need to obsessively control them (from famous to non-famous actresses, directors and his aids at large). As gender roles were expanding in the 20th century with the motion picture business redefining what it meant to be a working woman, Hughes had a pattern of courting women into either relationships and/or the studio with promise of fame and wealth, and then evasively keeping them hostage for a long time, decades in some cases (hence the "sex' and "lies"). Famous faces show up (like Ava Gardner, Katherine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers) and she makes sure to separate fact from fiction, often which, the truth becomes way stranger than fiction. She really does quite a lot of extensive research into the man very few knew, but keeps the narrative lively and interesting. Rather than watch the Aviator for the umpteenth time - this book is an amazing portrait of man who went to surreal lengths to push or publicize projects, and who also changed history, often unintentionally.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • H.
  • Palo Alto, CA, United States
  • 01-06-19

Even better than the podcast

I've been listening to Longworth's podcast (You Must Remember This) for years, and initially I was concerned that the book would just be recycled material from the podcast. But it's not, and frankly, I'm amazingly impressed that the author is able to research and write so prodigiously as to produce a regular heavily-researched podcast and a weighty, heavily-researched book simultaneously.

As for the performance. Longworth is not a trained voice actor, true. And she pronounces all her "t"s hard, rather than rounding them down to "d"s, as most people do in conversation. Oh well. I'm consistently amazed that people complain about this so often. I really enjoy having the author read the book. There's a connection to the material that I enjoy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Karina is a scholarly genius!

I have listened to every episode of "you must remember this" three times. it is amazing, and Karina , along with Dan Carlin, are the finest podcasters in history! I am thrilled to consume this book, I can't wait to get to work so I can devour it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Do yourself a favor - listen at a faster speed

I am only on chapter one and I honestly don't know if I will be able to listen to this book being read this way. The narrator is sooooooo sloooowwww, drags out words and says words so precisely that it sounds forced. I have upped the speed in hopes that I will be able to finish this book as I really want to hear it. I NEVER leave reviews, especially one that has nothing to do with the actual story, so for me to stop and write this means that I am seriously disappointed with the narrator. UPDATE: Honestly, I have never heard a narrator speak this way. Her inflection is driving me crazy to the point I want to put my hand through my phone. The way she drags out her words to pronounce every single letter is grating. Example: "She suffered from a bout of COLE LIGHT US" instead of just saying it as it should be Colitis. The story is great but she is infuriating as a narrator. Questions on statements, exclamation when none is needed, the mysterious "what will happen next" when you don't need it, the dragging of words, the pause between every syllable. Its like there are two beats in between every word. I am trying really hard to listen to this book, as the actual writing is interesting and story is great but she is way better as a writer than she is a narrator.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful book!

A great and unique take on an interesting time, place and people. Karina did an amazing job and picked a winner of a topic.

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Classic Hollywood or Today's Hollywood?

I absolutely love Karina Longworth's 'You Must Remember This' podcast, so I was excited to listen to her read 20+ hours on Howard Hughes. What surprised me was how much I wasn't surprised by the the similarities between Hollywood of yesteryear and of today. Misogyny, abuse, mental illness; all there. It'll really make you rethink your idea of Hughes if 'The Aviator' and some old stories are all you really know. Great read; highly recommended.

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well researched intriguing history of hollywood

I loved this book and it was an amazing deep dive into the life of Howard Hughes and how it reflects on the life of women during the 20th century.

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  • Kathy H
  • 03-05-19

sooooo good

I Love Karina Longworth and all of her work, this book lays a modern lens on story of Howard Hughes (but more importantly the women whose lives he touched/ruined).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • skipsabeat
  • 01-29-19

If you love 'You Must Remember This'...

Loved this well researched, fascinating depiction of the power of sex and money in Old Hollywood

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • artermisia
  • 04-16-19

Great!

if you like the podcast you must remember this you will love this book, I certainly enjoyed it

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  • ross
  • 12-04-19

I love this audiobook, it's so informative

While this book is about the history of Howard Hughes, it ties in amazingly with the podcast 'You Must Remember This' and its overarching narrative framed documentary of the whole Movie Studio System of Hollywood's golden age or first century.
This book is informative, compelling, salacious, and breaks down the nuance and intentions of the political and social complexities of the time and their impact on the zeitgeist of the whole celebrity/movie studio system.

I would recommend both this audiobook, and the podcast by Karina Longworth for anyone interested in learning about the underbelly of the mass media that shaped a generation.

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  • Grohlpatrol
  • 01-06-19

So Good

Absolutely brilliant. Well done to the author on such a great book. Highly recommend to all