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Howard Hughes: The Untold Story

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  642 Ratings  ·  68 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 really liked it
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
Dec 10, 2012 Judy rated it it was ok
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
Cara Hinton
Apr 08, 2013 Cara Hinton rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jan 14, 2013 Dan rated it really liked it
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
Phil Bova
Dec 14, 2015 Phil Bova rated it really liked it
Although this book was a fascinating insight into Howard Hughes, I felt cheated in a manner of speaking. There are so many details surrounding Hughes' life, and I felt the author needlessly focused on his love interests, and threw in tidbits about his professional life for good measure. Almost as if the reader gets the sense that many of Mr. Hughes' decisions were predicated on the female influence. While I'm not negating this certainly took place on various occasions...I don't necessarily feel ...more
D. Smith
Feb 07, 2016 D. Smith rated it really liked it
While I picked this up to understand more about a man who achieved such profound greatness as an aviator, inventor, film maker, and business-man, the "untold" elements read much more like a tabloid. The focus of the untold pieces were simply that Hughes was a womanizer and sex fiend, due in part to psychological issues dealt from his childhood and a controlling mother, and also to undiagnosed OCD.

There is a lot of good learning to come out of this read, though it's much longer that necessary. I
Terry Cornell
Nov 19, 2015 Terry Cornell rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Although well researched I enjoyed Richard Hack's 'Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos, and Letters'more. Hack's book as described in the title approached Hughes in a more academic direction based on Hughes' actual writings. The writers of 'Hughes: The Untold Story' are primarily entertainment writers well established in journalism. Although, it too is well researched the approach is from a more personal and intimate point of view. Not only do the authors use written source materials, including F ...more
Jan 16, 2014 Claire rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 01, 2012 Tom Schulte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 21, 2010 Alex rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Dec 01, 2007 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  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
Michelle (Champ)
Aug 10, 2014 Michelle (Champ) rated it liked it
I read this because I was interested in the girls Howard dated, not so much Howard himself. I was surprised that it was a good read. You learn about his success, his RKO and TWA time and his mental illness that lead to his drug abusive which killed him.
Sep 29, 2014 Rose rated it really liked it
I listened to this book in the car, and it was interesting. What this man accomplished during his lifetime, in spite of his physical & mental issues, was amazing.
Apr 08, 2016 Jacob rated it really liked it
I picked up this book after watching the movie "The Aviator". This is an interesting book for sure, and some details about Hughes life is illuminating.
Oct 11, 2014 Azzri rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
After watching "The Aviator", I was fascinated by this man and wanted to know more about him. This is the best biography book on Howard Hughes out there.
Jan 26, 2010 Bryan rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, history
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
Erin Kelly
Apr 15, 2016 Erin Kelly rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I felt like I already knew a lot of the stuff and didn't trust the rest to be accurate.
Pamela Ferguson
Apr 02, 2014 Pamela Ferguson rated it really liked it
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
Jan 15, 2011 Yuto Sasaki rated it it was amazing
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
Tom Nolan
6x9 paperback
Aug 04, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
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
May 04, 2014 Cherie rated it it was amazing
Very interesting. Decided to read it after watching "The Aviator" based on his life----Leonardo DiCaprio was fantastic
Aug 21, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
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.
Jessica T.
Dec 10, 2015 Jessica T. rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Howard Hughes was a pimp.
Apr 04, 2013 Dgoodman rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 25, 2014 Matt rated it liked it
Really interesting work about a fascinating individual. The book chronicles the life of Howard Hughes, but does tend to focus on more the tabloid like details of his life, rather than his contribution to aviation, politics, and the wars. Most interesting aspect is the linkage of Hughes as a cause of Watergate and that Nixon had a paranoid fear of Howard Hughes ruining him.
Charles Duvel
Aug 08, 2011 Charles Duvel rated it really liked it
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.
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