Howard Hughes: The Untold Story
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Howard Hughes: The Untold Story

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  423 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Howard Hughes was one of the most amazing, intriguing, and controversial figures of the twentieth century. He was the billionaire head of a giant corporation, a genius inventor, an ace pilot, a matinee-idol-handsome playboy, a major movie maker who bedded a long list of Hollywood glamour queens, a sexual sultan with a harem of teenage consorts, a political insider with int...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published November 3rd 2004 by Da Capo Press (first published 1996)
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Daniel Martinez
Apr 19, 2012 Daniel Martinez rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who want to read about one ot the most famous men in America based out of California.
Recommended to Daniel by: My sister
Very detailed. Wish it dealt more with his accomplishments than his romances, but the book does make it clear it was hard for him to balance between the two. Loved that many of the locations he spent time in were in and around the San Fernando Valley. While reading the book I had a chance to visit the hanger where Howard built the Hercules (aka Spruce Goose), which was pretty awesome. My sister and I are planning on visiting Howard's old house on the 9th hole of the Wilshire Country Club as well...more
Cara Hinton
Wow! Talk about a person who is misunderstood by most people my age and perhaps even older. To think that this man's OCD could have been managed if he were living today and he could have done so many more things with his life. What an amazing book about a person I've always wondered about. I really enjoyed this book and going back in history to the 30's, 40's, 50's, to his death in 1976. So wronged in the media and certainly by those he was surrounded by. I guess that much wealth will breed pure...more
Jeff
Another tits-and-ass effort by two entertainment writers. In terms of sheer volume of women discussed, this is the top book by far. The authors had access to Hughes's "security chief" (actually, more like Director of Surveilling Women) Jeff Chouinard (who, mysteriously, is not mentioned in any other book as far as I can recall,) and he provided piles of details on the chick scene from the late 1940s onward. The authors are fairly critical of Bill Gay and the Mormon Mafia. This book attributes Hu...more
Dan
In a word--fascinating.

Other reviewers have noted the amount of time spent in this biography cataloging Hughes's many affairs. While I understand their frustration, I think his behavior where women are concerned is one of the best demonstrations of his OCD at work. Howard Hughes collected things, and in some cases he collected people too.

Extremely well researched and very interesting, though I keep at four stars due to the structure of the book as a whole. The reader is left trying to decipher...more
Claire
I decided to give this a listen after a second viewing of "The Aviator" (followed by some cursory Wikipediaing) made me realize that I and most people have little to no idea of what Howard Hughes' life was really like. Of course I don't get that sense now but I know a lot more than I did before. On the one hand, he is an American hero, in that America worships industry and money. On the other hand, he was a pretty foul human being on a lot of levels (see the way he "collected" women and then bas...more
Tom Schulte
A fascinating, thoroughly researched and detailed exegesis of the mysterious and impactful life of Howard Hughes. Being brain-damaged, syphillitic, and enslaved by OCD would be a debilitating condition for you and I, probably leading to institutionalized. For the charismatic genius Hughes, it was merely crippling and it took six decades to do him in while surrounded by Mormons and sycophants. Along the way, the satyr chased skirts (Katherine Hepburn to Ava Gardner and beyond), kept a virtual har...more
Alex
I got interested in Hughes after reading a number of James Ellroy books (Hughes is an important figure in White Jazz, American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and Blood's A Rover), and thought it would be interesting to see how much reality there was to Ellroy's larger-than-life depiction. It turns out Ellroy did his homework quite well—no surprise there. This biography is an amusingly lurid account of Hughes' lurid life. From the airplane crashes, to the movie starlets, to his descent into the...more
Judy
I felt that Howard Hughes: The Untold Story should have mostly been left untold. It is a lurid account of all the women Hughes slept with, the women who refused to sleep with him, and the starlets who worked for his movie company but slept with their chauffeurs instead of him. The repeated claims that Hughes had untreatable, antibiotic-resistance syphilis are not believable -- although Hughes apparently did contract syphilis in the 1940s (no surprise, given all the prostitutes he slept with), he...more
Godzilla
I approached this with slight trepidation: you never know how these biographies are going to go. Some are whitewash jobs, whilst others don't give you the detail you crave.

I knew little of Hughes going into it: his aviation feats, his reclusiveness and his womanising.

The book unlocks all of these in great depth, and whilst it doesn't paint him in a great light, it gives an insight into his formative years which goes a long way to explain the results.

The salaciousness is dealt with fairly sensiti...more
Anastacia
I've been obsessed with Howard Hughes since I was little - yeah, I was a weird kid. I just couldn't imagine anyone living the way he did in later years. This is a big book, and goes into depth about Hughes personal & professional lives. Most of the time, you got enough detail, and the book moved along well, but a few times I would have liked to have known more (though the lack may have been due to the fact that so little is known about some details of Hughes life). It's such a sad story abou...more
Joan
Dec 01, 2007 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Hollywood, Pioneers in Aviation, or History
I loved this. Based on a recommendation for a gentleman friend, I brought the audio-book home and listened with intrigue to this book that reads much like fiction. I was shocked to learn many of the unknown details of his life, including......he was the topic of the minutes of missing tape from the famous Watergate tapes. Nixon's secretary erased the tape because of the implications it would have suggested with Hughes! After learning of his role as an aviation pioneer, I loved hearing the specif...more
Bryan
The bizarre life of Howard Hughes is brought to life in this book. The authors tell most of the story of Howard’s life through his accomplishments and follow a time line by who he was dating at the time. This book places a heavy emphasis on his obsessive compulsive disorder, and how today it could have easily have been controlled. Throughout his life people thought that his strangeness was just the dark side to his genius. The authors make the case that throughout his life he tried to reach out...more
Pamela Ferguson
Wow! What a life! An amazing story of the rise and demise of Howard Hughes! An incredible character! Too bad his medical / mental illnesses were not better understood .... I enjoyed it!
Yuto Sasaki
The life of the notorious millionaire will not be as normal as the other noveau riche. In this book the paradoxical relation with his success and blunder are virtually depicted. If you are the one who tends to think about breaking loose from any restraint which might be opposed by the others or in the process of living our daily lives, it is really worth reading once. Because one apspect of his dark life is all about emanicipating from the unsubstantial germs or virus phobia which of both are re...more
Andrew Russell
This book tells the story of one of the great icons of the twentieth century. The wonder of Hughes' life is that he had such a many faceted personality, which ultimately led him to insanity and a tragic end at the hands of the aides he hired to protect him in his reclusive state.

The biography is comprehensive, enlightening and fascinating. The tragedy of the final stages of Hughes' life is all too often what he is remembered for, rather than the immense achievements he made in film, aviation and...more
Cherie
Very interesting. Decided to read it after watching "The Aviator" based on his life----Leonardo DiCaprio was fantastic
Lisa
I went into this admittedly looking for salacious details about the bat shit crazy howard hughes depicted in James Ellroy's American Tabloid books. the author of this book seems realyl sympathetic to hughes, so he treats his insanity with dignity. this wasn't what i was hoping for, but it was commendable.
also, the author seemed much more interesting in listing every single female hughes ever took on a date. that got a little repetitive for me after awhile.
Dgoodman
This is one of those books that explain to you what a mythical giant is and totally explains why he went the way he did. the 1st part of the story went over what was known about Hughes and the later half explained his fall from grace. I kind of got jammed on the later half as it was mostly accounted for by his girlfriends, mistress's and wife's. a little to torrid for my tastes. good book.
Charles Duvel
While I knew a little about Hughes (founder of Pan Am, aviation pioneer, movie maker) I found this book to be really good in terms of dealing with Hughes personality and what happened to him near the end of his life. If you are interested in the paradoxical Howard Hughes life than this is the book for you. Well researched and easily read.
Christi
Howard Hughes did some amazing things in his life. It's too bad his life ended like it did. It's so sad to me that someone who was such an important figure in American history only had a few people show up to his funeral. I don't think I have ever read a story that was more sad than his life. I really felt bad for him by the end of the book.
Jan
Once I get started on a subject I often follow through with more than one book. This was my second Howard Hughes book. Very interesting to learn about the history of Las Vegas and the connection between a wealthy businessman, the mafia, and politicians of the time. Fascinating dude who had a huge impact on the landscape of America.
Liz Meyers
Howard Robard Hughes was indeed a very strange fellow from early childhood until death. The older he got the stranger he became. He died a recluse with long hair and fingernails, who was unable to touch anything with his hands unless he had papertowels. How weird is that. Very interesting book. I would certainly recommend.
Jennifer
Reading this, all I could think is that Hughes had a lot of money, but it did him no good. I wish you could give half-stars, I'd give this three and a half. If you've seen the movie The Aviator this really gives you a better grasp on the man, especially how terribly people took advantage of him near the end.
Lisa
Everything you ever wanted to know about Howard Hughes. I generally like biographies of successful people and I have always been interested in characteristics of successful and happy people. Hughes was successful in so many things, but I don't think he was happy.
This book is extremely long and detailed.
David Wert
After watching the Aviator I was interested in reading a biography of Howard Hughes. The movie glosses over many facts and changes events. The true story is even more engrossing. You have to wonder if in our current society he would have been as successful at avoiding scandal.
Adam Watson
Well researched and even-handed how it spans the arc of Hughes's life. Sometimes the style gets hyperbolic, and the one-sentence paragraphs are a bit overused, but the book is always readable and kept me flipping the pages. Recommended for those wanting a general Hughes biography.
Hannah
This book is total sensationalist journalism, and paints an entertaining, if not entirely true, portrait of the eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes. I found that it satisfied my curiosity, but for a true fan of Hughes, I would recommend something a little better researched.
Don
I read this in 1 1/2 weeks, after watching "The Aviator". Fascinating life. Pathetic death -- held captive and starved by his Mormon handlers. The book suggests that he was killed by them, rather than having the Feds find out what they had done.
Kipchirchir
Tons of funding for science research comes from Howard Hughes. If you want to find out the details of how this happened, this is your hand book. Quite interesting read which just shows that with $$$, anything is possible.
Steph
This was a pretty long book that took awhile to get through it but I thought it had a good insight to what HH's life was like. I learned a lot more about him than the fact that he was quite an eccentric billionare.
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