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The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  411 ratings  ·  42 reviews
An unusual, revelatory, thoroughly fascinating holiday gift from Dominick Dunne: his Hollywood memoir-cum-scrapbook, filled with the keenly observed true stories that have fueled his bestselling fiction as well as 150 of the candid snapshots he has taken over the years.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 28th 1999 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)
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3.91  · 
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 ·  411 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a rich, photographic memoir
"The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper " is a photographic scrapbook of the author's life, as well as a startlingly candid chronicle scanning from the early post-World War II era to the 1990s.

Dunne, whom I first became aware of during the O.J. Simpson trial (which he covered as an investigative journalist), takes the reader through his life, from a brief telling of his early life in an Irish-American Catholic family in an overwhelmingly WASP society in Connecticut th
Desiree Jackson
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I adore memoirs and this one is truly excellent. I thoroughly enjoy reading about old Hollywood and all its glory. Although the storytelling got confusing a couple of times, overall I felt like I was hearing the story from Dunne firsthand. He comes across as quite humbled and takes blame for his behavior. What a life he led, threw away, and finally recovered to find happiness.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
After reading a biography about Joan Didion that mentioned some of Dunne's works I was looking forward to this memoir. Sadly, the book as the subtitle states is really just a collection of photographs by this "well-known Name Dropper" without any real text at all. It is just him rambling about who he knew.
John Lyman
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Certainly very heavy on the name dropping, the vast majority of those mentioned being people I have never heard of. I’m glad to have read his autobiography, he was a very unique man who took advantage of his social connections to enlighten us on the dark side of television and movies. His late in life career change is inspirational.
Fiona Forthe
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fun look from the inside of Hollywood society in the 50s and 60s. The author's gossipy style works well here. I also admire him for being able to pick himself back up after he fell apart on drugs and alcohol and lost his career.
Debi Emerson
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, history
An excellent look at the life of Dominick Dunne in Hollywood during the 50s, 60s & 70s when he was considered part of the "A" list. Lots of interesting pictures.
Ashley Judge
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
wonderful photos. and as usual, great story telling.
Sharalynne Pasztor
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dominick Dunne and his years of high society in Hollywood....lots of pictures...loved it!
Ginger Hopper
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
A guilty pleasure. Always loved reading his Vanity Fair articles. A great glimpse into the Hollywood old days.
Susan Daly
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As you may or may not have noticed I don't even put books up on this site that I don't really, really, like for one reason or another. I don't know if I have even put all of Dominick Dunne's books on my list or not, but I have read each and every one of them; well, I lie, I didn't read his very first book, and the name of it escapes me at the moment. I also admit whenever he published a new book, I bought it immediately and read it as soon as it was in my hands.

But he was always a quick, juicy,
Oct 13, 2007 rated it liked it
In this autobiography of sorts, Dominick Dunne discusses the roots of his life-long fascination with Hollywood, detailing the halcyon years of the 1950s-1970s, when he was on the Hollywood A list. As Vanity Fair readers know, when Hollywood dropped him and his daughter's murderer got off with a slap on the wrist, his fascination took a cynical turn (see his book Justice). The Way We Lived Then, though, is full of all the little details and characterizations that made it into his novels. Ann Gren ...more
Jeannette Ligget
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great photo book of movie producer- turned- writer Dominick Dunne, during his movie years in the 50s and 60s. Photos are included of many stars, mostly candid shots taken at private parties rather than studio shots, as well as many photos of Dunne and his family. Since I have read several of his books I enjoyed seeing many of the people he has written about. Fun to browse through.

**#34 of 120 books pledged to read/review during 2016**
Scott Fuchs
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, film
Shamelessly honest semi-autobiography, which in addition to confronting his demnons, ends with great pathos; self-unacknowledged redemption
All in all a very straight forward narration of the nature of Hollywoods social culture in the 50s.
Profusely illustrated; dozens and dozens of home photos of Hollywood at play. Recommended for those who have ever been dazzled by the Hollywood stars of the c. 1950s.
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Highly entertaining and overall just fun. This book is 200 pages but the fastest read ever (I finished in a little over an hour) because the type is huge, there is never more than a long paragraph on a page, and there are pictures galore. If you love celebrity culture, particularly that of old guard celebrities (think Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor, and Elizabeth Montgomery) you will adore this candid, sweet, and name-dropping piece.
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've already read this, but I'm reading it again, since Mr. Dunne died today. (sigh) It's more of a pictorial book and an honest history (the man is shameless!), which is why I've rated it so high. Dunne is such an engaging writer--he inspires my own writing (albeit, my attenpts at writing), which is to write in the voice you speak every day. The man knew EVERYbody in Hollywood. He still would get star struck--even after all these years. And I'll forever be star struck with him.
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Black and white photos of Hollywood celebrities taken at social get togethers in the late 1960's and 70's. Dunne relates some gossipy details. The text also deals with Dunne's deteriation into drug
addiction and his successful restart as a writer. The moral is be careful you may just get what you want but you have only one soul.
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Guilty pleasure gossip, but about a more glamorous time.

To his credit, Dominick Dunne reveals unflattering things about himself along the way, along with the uniquuely insider anecdotes, but also contains much about his personal family tragedies.

This is an ideal companion piece to the George Plimpton Truman Capote book, and also to Andy Warhol's diaries.
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really interesting, especially the bits of autobiography he does. He was a big druggie/drinker/philanderer, at the same time he was meeting and growing with post-studio-run Hollywood. Lots of photos of movers & shakers from the 50s & 60s. He sounds like he was a huge jerk, the worst of his type of producer. Ugh. This book stops at about 1975, with his writing career just beginning.
Anthony Faber
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not much text, but lots of pictures of people in the movie/television business in L.A. in the 60s. Mostly gossip type stuff. Then he chronicles his downfall, due to drugs, booze & being an asshole (his word). It ends with him starting to write around 1980 or so.
May 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I bought this book [used] just so I could look at the pictures, but ended up reading the whole thing. I mostly knew that Dominick was the brother of John Gregory and the brother-in-law of Joan Didion. I now realize that he was a author after his wild life in 60s Hollywood. Very interesting stuff.
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I always found Dominick Dunne so interesting and this book was an absolute who's who of 1950's and 1960's Hollywood. The anecdotes were fascinating albeit a lot of it was stream of consciousness names, marriages, divorces and affairs. I enjoyed it.
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
As is stated in the title, Dunne was a name dropper and this is a beautiful photo-scrapbook of his life in Hollywood in the 60's and 70's. Lots of candid photos of film stars and aristocrats from that time period with just a little copy.
Barrie Spang
Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have always enjoyed reading Dominick Dunne and I have really missed his feature in VF. I was so sadden to hear of his death. It was enjoyable to read his reflections of his early life, the ups, downs, and good times. I loved the pictures.
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed it...wished he added years to the events and photos.
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
A fun slice of Hollywood gossip from the 1950's-1970's, filled with great candid photographs of celebrities of the time.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it liked it
A picture book of 1960s hollywood. Gossipy, tacky, juicy, silly. If the nature of celebrity is something you are interested in, check out this book.
Liz Michalski
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Worth it for the photos alone ... Dunne perfectly captures the glamour and dissolution of a long-gone era.
Annie Garvey
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dunne is a whiner; however, the pictures make up for it.
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A glimpse at movie stars of my preferred era, taken candidly, and shared wistfully by my favorite (social butter)fly on the wall, Mr. Dunne. Who was actually kind of cute then!
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Dominick Dunne was an American writer and investigative journalist whose subjects frequently hinged on the ways high society interacts with the judiciary system. He was a producer in Hollywood and is also known from his frequent appearances on television.

After his studies at Williams College and service in World War II, Dunne moved to New York, then to Hollywood, where he directed Playhouse 90 and