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Hope: Entertainer of the Century

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  802 ratings  ·  149 reviews
“Revelatory…fascinating” (The New York Times): The first definitive biography of Bob Hope, featuring exclusive and extensive reporting that makes the persuasive case that he was the most important entertainer of the twentieth century.

With his topical jokes and his all-American, brash-but-cowardly screen character, Bob Hope was the only entertainer to achieve top-rated succ
ebook, 576 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Simon Schuster
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Gary Schantz I thought the same thing especially in light of the fact that the book is basically a history of his career and little else. Unfortunately when a man …moreI thought the same thing especially in light of the fact that the book is basically a history of his career and little else. Unfortunately when a man lives 100 years, it does take quite a few pages to cover every step of the way.(less)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, sympathetic yet balanced biography of an iconic entertainer. His image in the public mind is probably similarly distorted as that of his contemporary (and associate) Bing Crosby - both are only dimly remembered by today's audiences and if they are, it's for the waning years of their lives, when they were far from top form. In Hope's case, this means his contributions to vaudeville, radio, movies, and television are largely forgotten and his tireless globetrotting to entertain the t ...more
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zoglin's chronicle of the life and career of comedian Bob Hope is one of the only works, I think, you can find that analyzes and dissects this masterful genius of comedy, without being a totally reverential and partisan portrayal. Hope was not only a genius of comedy timing, acting, and wit, but also an innovator of many parts of comedy's very beginnings as we know them today. There is much here to prove he "invented" the idea and blueprint of stand-up comedy after the demise of vaudeville. He i ...more
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the highest compliments I can offer a biography is to say that it made me realize how necessary it was. This occurs when the subject may be well-known but not properly evaluated. Bob Hope is certainly such a figure. If you doubt that, pick up this bio. Zoglin makes an effective argument that Hope is one of the major figures not only of 20th-century entertainment but American cultural history as well. Too many dismiss Hope because his longevity (he lived to the age of 100) caused him to re ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hope: Entertainer of the Century by Richard Zoglin was a terrific read. It's a long one and there will be some trudging to do especially during the Vietnam War era which is covered extensively in the book. The 500+ pages are well-worth the effort. You'll learn a lot and will be glad you did.

And don't you think that cover is so striking? Bob Hope's profile and ski-slope nose was so iconic! I love this line from Bob Hope:

"It's not true my nose is the way it is as a result of having been broken in
Katrina Knittle
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received from goodreads.

I was very interested in receiving this book. I have heard of Bob Pope but never knew too much about him. I was so happy to see how thorough this book was on his life and career. The book took me a little time to get through being 500 pages and having other books I was trying to get through. This author did a great job at putting together this work. I can see myself reading more from this author.
Paul Pessolano
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Hope” by Richard Zoglin, published by Simon and Schuster.

Category – Biography Publication Date – November 04, 2014

Most of us know Bob Hope from his Christmas Military Tours where he gave up his holiday with his family to entertain American troops in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Iraq War. Hope’s legacy goes way beyond these tours; he was a standout in vaudeville, radio, TV, and the movies. Hope was a leader and innovator in these mediums.

The book follows Hope’s life fro
Oct 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I was a goodreads first reads winner of "Hope:the Entertainer of the Century" this is an advanced reader copy of this book. I found the book a pretty interesting read. I learned a lot about Bob Hope. I liked the way the author set up this biography.The first part is called "the Making of an Entertainer" this part talks about his birth in England and moving the America at four years old. for many years he was known by his birth name of Leslie or Les for short. it also takes us through his work on ...more
I did not grow up a Bob Hope fan — not because I didn't like him but because we did not have a TV in our house and rarely went to movies. Hope was by all rights a significant and important entertainer during the 20th century. He could make people laugh and make them feel better about their lives, even soldiers in the midst of war.

Hope was a successful entertainer in vaudeville, on Broadway, on radio, on television, in movies and at live concerts. He spent his life making people smile.

Yet, Bob Ho
Malcolm Frawley
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The tragedy of Bob Hope is that this man, almost certainly the most successful entertainer of the 20th century, is completely unknown to modern audiences. And the author identifies why. Although Hope starred on television for decades during the 50s, 60s, 70s, & even 80s, he specialized in variety shows. He never appeared in, or even flirted with, the sitcom. Through endless repeats many of his contemporaries (Jackie Gleason, Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, etc) have never been off air. But variety sho ...more
Deidra Tosh
Very interesting, enjoyable read.
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
The title of this book is a good choice. From his start in vaudeville in the 1920's through his TV specials that ran into the 1990's no other entertainer had the span of popularity as Bob Hope.

Although he was born in England, his family moved to Cleveland when he was 4 years old. As a young boy he sold newspapers from the curbside and once sold a paper to John D. Rockefeller, his first association with the rich and famous. He wasn't much of a student and never attended school past the 10th grade
JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)
There are three people that come to mind as being for the masses, and for the ages: John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart...and Bob Hope. Having read the definitive John Wayne, still waiting for the Humphrey Bogart; I turned my attention to the soon-to-be-released biography Hope. It is a volumnious work, nearly 500 pages, and the most thorough account of Bob Hope's life and career.

He was not an easy man to know; it isn't even clear whether he knew himself or not. For it appears that Bob Hope was a creatio
Andy Miller
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The introduction was addressed to readers like me, people whose impression of Bob Hope was fixed by his being at odd with the times in the sixties and seventies whose jokes seemed to be based not in humor but in sarcasm and anger and were stale compared to the hip new comics.

But this biography is of Hope's entire life, how he overcame an early poverty like life largely due to very hard work and a willingness to change with the times. He started in vaudeville, was actually a good singer, adapted
Randall Smith
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Entertainer of the century? I tend to agree with that subtitle. (Although my wife probably thinks Prince is.) When you think of how long a career Bob Hope had and how important he was to several generations, it’s hard to think of anyone else who fits that bill. He lived a full century, from 1903 to 2003. And he was tremendously successful in every form of mass entertainment. He worked his way to the top in Vaudeville, Broadway, movies, radio and television. His books were best-sellers. And he ev ...more
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bob Hope Fans
Richard Zoglin is incredibly thorough and very even-handed in his treatment of this legendary performer from vaudeville, theatre, radio, film and television. The man was with us for 100 years, and active for a great deal of that time, so there's a lot of ground to cover. He wasn't a monster, but he wasn't an angel, either, so if I were looking to this book for either hagiography or character assassination, I would have been bitterly disappointed. While I believe the editing could have been a bit ...more
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even-handed. Hope was too opaque a personality to make conventional biography easy, but Zoglin does as good an estimation of his career as we are likely to get. He divides the book by stages in Hope's work, with exhaustive descriptions of radio, television, live concerts and movies. With the exception of Monsieur Beaucaire and the Road pictures, Hope never really made a decent film --- and never worked with a first-rate director. His reputation rests primarily upon his radio work, the carefully ...more
John Behle
Watching Bob Hope specials as a kid made me feel grown up. Bob Hope spanned every demographic group, toured the globe and literally spanned a century (he passed at 100 in 2003). He told me what could be lampooned. Here was the American comedian laureate, joining us, as he always said, "right in our living room."

Zoglin's book takes us by the hand down this tireless man's life. We meet his wife, Delores, the writers (who were on constant phone call alert), the four adopted children (a not always h
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure why I read this book. Bob Hope was pretty much at the end of his entertainment career as I was growing up, but I remember watching his specials as he entertained the troops. Also, I would really like to see the inside of spaceship house he built in Palm Springs.

I enjoyed this book and the author tells you right up front that if you are reading to learn about Bob Hope's personality, you will be disappointed. He was a very private man who didn't share his inner thoughts and feelings
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This long-awaited, definitive biography is subtitled, ENTERTAINER OF THE CENTURY, and that is the persuasive case that author Richard Zoglin makes: that Bob Hope was indeed the most important entertainer of the twentieth century.

Hope lived for a century, from 1903 until 2003, and is the only entertainer to achieve top success in every field of show business, from vaudeville, to film and television and everything else in between.

He actually invented stand-up comedy and what is now commonly known
Shawn Thrasher
Really well done, well written biography of Bob Hope. Zoglin's thesis that Hope invented modern stand up comedy and as the entertainer of the last century rings true. And while this isn't a hatchet job (Zoglin had the cooperation of Hope's daughter, which I imagine dulled the hatchet somewhat), Hope doesn't come out of this sitting pretty. A friend of mine who works in Hollywood once described a reletively famous actress he worked with on a daily basis: "she's a professional who hits her marks, ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
good reads have sent me amazing books.this is a comprehensive book of the life of bob hope...the good and the bad..but who is perfect? my uncles during the world war could not rave about him more..he went continually to entertain the troops where no one else would. he was applauded as one of the best entertainers and rose to the top..but during the vietnam war slid down much to his surprise. he was best friends with spiro agnew and richard nixon...actually he was good friends with many president ...more
Terry Collins
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read other Hope biographies, I went into this one with open eyes and previous knowledge and was amazed at the both the audacity of the thesis (Hope was the entertainer of the century) and the proving of same. Exhaustive, but not exhausting. Kind, but not a puff piece. Hands down the most balanced portrait of Hope, with extra attention paid to his vaudeville days, his journeys overseas, and his sad decline during the last decade of his NBC specials. The kind of book that makes you look at ...more
Brenda Osborne
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grew up watching Bob Hope on television and movies, yet I really didn't know much about him. This well-written and even-handed book changed that. I loved reading about his early days in vaudeville. His trips to entertain the troops were more extensive and altruistic than I had imagined. This book didn't shy away from talking about his womanizing, temper or shameless self-promoting. Even so, I came away from this book admiring the entertainer as well as the man. ...more
Ronnie Cramer
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent warts-and-all biography of the legendary comedian; the 100 years and 600 pages really flew by. I particularly like the way the author would relate an anecdote, then quote how Hope handled the same story in his autobiography.
Al Berry
A decent read that should have been 700 pages rather than 450, as some parts of his life and career are looked at unde a microscope and some parts are completely glossed over. All in all a decent look at one of the 20th Century's most prominent entertainer. ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for any Bob Hope fan. Shows the man basking in the glory of celebrity & the warts of being a man. Well worth your time...
Trav S.D.
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hope: Entertainer of the Century ...more
Nicole Marble
A really long, and clear, bio of Bob Hope.
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very enjoyable book about a genuinely funny man. While reading this book I rented from Netflix "Sorrowful Jones" a movie with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball (1948). It was hilarious. ...more
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining and eye opening.
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