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The Carpetbaggers

(The Carpetbaggers #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  4,466 ratings  ·  152 reviews
Jonas Cord coveted his father's fame, fortune, even his young, beautiful wife.  When his father died, Jonas swore to possess them all.  But Rina Marlow was the celebrated screen goddess no man could master.  Her sizzling sensuality might inflame and enthrall millions, but her personal boudoir was no Hollywoo
Mass Market Paperback, 688 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Forge Books (first published 1961)
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Joe Maybe you're thinking of the film The Adventurers also based on a Harold Robbin's novel? That one is about a South American playboy and a civil war. T…moreMaybe you're thinking of the film The Adventurers also based on a Harold Robbin's novel? That one is about a South American playboy and a civil war. The Carpetbaggers is about the beginnings of Hollywood and a Howard Hughes type main character. (less)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  4,466 ratings  ·  152 reviews

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Paul Bryant
Mar 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels
I see what he does – he flat-out steals well-known stuff which everyone has heard of and stirs it shamelessly into his story – so after the hero gets involved in the movie business circa 1929 when talkies were just coming in, he’s already described a movie which sounds like High Noon (1952), then problems with a leading lady’s horrible voice like in Singin’ in the Rain (1952). And then our hero has to design a new type of bra for the leading lady to tone down her uncontrollable breastfulness, li ...more
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read somewhere that Harold Robbins sold 750 million books,worldwide. While this may not necessarily be an accurate figure,there is no doubt that once he was among the top selling authors in the world.

It is another matter,that this status was achieved by relying on rather dubious methods.
It was when his writing became very trashy,that his popularity soared.

In a way,it was a pity,because he had the genuine storyteller's gift. His early books,Never Love a Stranger and A Stone for Danny Fisher,we
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
My grandpa gave me this book before he died. He thought I was finally old enough for the "smut" in the book. I was 29! ...more
Benjamin Thomas
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I always know a book is a fun read when I find myself making excuses to read it rather than work on my "Hunny-Do" list. According to at least one source this book is the 4th most read novel of all time. I don't know if that's really true but certainly it has been a widely read story for more than 40 years so obviously a lot of people have read it. The book apparently is somewhat notorious, largely for pushing the sexual boundaries of the time, right up to the edge. By today's standards it is rel ...more
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh
We used to rent a renovated barn-like house on Douglas Lake in Michigan for a summer vacation and there were a ton of paperback books downstairs in the "livingroom." I had rarely seen paperback books, as my parents had hardback books in their library as did my grandparents. We went to the library and, again, there were no paperbacks, so this was exotic to me.I was absolutely drawn to these small, yellowed or well-worn books stacked up in a tall bookcase. They had covers with men and women and so ...more
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hairy-eyeball
Immensely entertaining pot-boiler involving the exploits of Jonas Cord, a thinly disguised version of Howard Hughes. The novel is a roman-a-clef of old Hollywood featuring movie star Rina Marlow, and cowboy turned movie star, Nevada Smith whose lives are intertwined with Jonas Cord's career. The strength in The Carpetbaggers is that it's really 3 novels in one: a western, a soap opera and a hard-boiled Hollywood expose. The plots never lag and Robbins leaves the highfalutin literary tricks to th ...more
Apr 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh to be 15 again and reading the Carpetbaggers for the first time
Barry Cunningham
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book because I loved 'The Adventurers' This book was very risque for a young teenage boy, I kept it hidden from my mother as it felt embarrassing that I was reading such a sexually graphic novel, honestly in the 60's this was as close to pornography as you could get in a work of fiction, these days I suppose its tame in that respect. In any case I enjoyed the book, the story line was good, I read it avidly, but I have to admit my motives for reading it were not literary, well I was 1 ...more
Asghar Abbas
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Before Martin Scorsese's movie, this guy had already written a novel about the Aviator.
Cliff Harrison
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think the Carpetbagger was the first Harold Robbins novel I read. It was set in Hollywood, Ca and Reno Nevada and probably, at least loosely, based partly on Howard Hughes who was still alive and active in both Hollywood and Nevada, but in Las Vegas. Robbins said the Carpetbagger was based on Bill Lear and not Howard Hughes but there is controversy about that.

You can't talk about Harold Robbins without fast learning he is probably one of the most loved and most hated authors of all time. You
Rachel Smalter Hall
So sometimes you pick up a book thinking, "Wow, this is going to be really awesome and trashy!" and then you're just disappointed. Well, this one did not disappoint. Unfortunately, Robbins brings out the big guns too early (the "Nevada Smith" fugitive-cowboy-turned-hollywood-movie-star story is too good to be true) and then he just keeps recycling the same characters over and over for the next 500 pages. ...more
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A five-star rating for THE CARPETBAGGERS may raise a few eyebrows, but I'll defend it by saying that for sheer one-two punch storytelling and readability, it beats anything out there today. Harold Robbins was a natural storyteller (although he later severely over-estimated his abilities), and his powers of narrative drive reached their peak in this novel. Though considered quite bold and daring in its day, THE CARPETBAGGERS is actually rather mild compared to the onslaught of explicit novels whi ...more
Madhu murugesan
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good book which can get a rating of 4....this story revolves around the Hollywood in the period of early 20th century...the period when the motion pictures were introduced...the characters portray the supreme urge of getting power success love and lust..

Harold Robbins wrote many bestsellers over his long career and this one was the #4 bestseller in 1961. It was also made into a movie. Robbins hits all the tropes of a big fat trashy page turner. I read tons of books like this when I was in my thirties, raising my sons and dreaming of adventure. It was kind of fun to read one again now that I am such a literary fiction reader.

Jonas Cord, a motherless kid with a Native American cowboy named Nevada Smith as his male nanny, was raised in the Nevada
Denise Cornelius
Jan 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: trashy-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dawn Wells
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Rape and incest is always part of his novels. Which is real life for some so I read them with that understanding. This book also has homosexual relations mentioned. Also true to life. The problem for me with this novel is the Howard Hughes type of character. I did not get drawn in by him or the other 4 or so sort of main characters in the background. It was a book about real issues with unreal characters
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Up until I started high school, I didn't exactly have a love affair with literature, then my stepmother borrowed a copy of this novel for me. It's complete trash, just filthy and easily one of the most enjoyable novels I've ever read! ...more
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this book! It is definitely a man's read, especially the Old West depictions in the beginning. I liked the touches of true history mixed in with fiction, and the glamour and despair of Hollywood in the 30s and 40s! ...more
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: guilty-pleasures
Move over, JR Ewing, because Jonas Cord Jr. makes you look like a saint.
Norma Christensen
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Many years ago, I was an avid Harold Robbins reader. Of all the novels I read, The Carpetbaggers was probably my favorite. I have a bunch of his paperbacks in a box in my basement, but when I went to find this one, it was not among them. Of course, I purchased it on Amazon, what else?
It does remain one of my favorite all-time books. He was a master story weaver.
One paragraph that stood out to me this time was: "Then, bit by bit, the understanding came to her, as it always must to the survivors,
If i was to do a one word review it would be 'Inconsistent'. Inconsistent characters, tone, pacing, graphicness, length.. somehow.
This is basically a soap-opera drama, something along the lines of 'Dynasty' or 'Dallas'. It follows the interweaving lives of three main people, a cowboy, a woman based at least partially on jane russel and a howard hughes knockoff. Except then just as your expecting it to finish up it adds two more new characters... what? Who are these people, why is this still goi
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thought the book was a great read. My dad has been raving about this book for years that i had to read. he made the comment that he doesnt read much, but when he read this book, he couldnt put it down. this was many many years ago. before i was born. But he's always talked about how i should read it. so i got it for my 26th birthday. i was reading a different book at the time, but once i started it was a really good book. From what my dad has told me, this book is based on the life of howard h ...more
Mar 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Jonas Cord goes through a transformation that takes a lifetime to achieve. I was happy for him at the end, even with all the tragedy that surrounded his plush lifestyle.

It took a while for me to read through this, but Harold Robbins different points of view had me hooked and by the middle of the book, I finally caught on to his unique structure to this book. It's long, but overall, I felt satisfied by the end of it.
Chris Gager
I bought this book in the old Penn Station in June/July of 1962 while waiting to catch the Broadway Limited to Chicago with my mother and younger sister. From Chicago we continued on the California Zephyr to Oakland. I read this sexy book at age 15 while on the trip while all the scenery went by. And kept it hidden from my mother of course. Fictionalized life of Howard Hughes as everyone knows by now.
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I can't remember why I picked up this book. It was written in the late 30's and it was great. It was really a scandal in it's day. In todays terms it would be light reading but in the 30's WOW what a shock it would have been. The book is broke into characters and while I was reading it I was sad to leave one section for the next but all the characters were good. This another book I read in 5 days loved it. ...more
Arra Bawalan
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I was too young back then when I first read this book.
It is not recommended for bookworms of a very young age.
The promiscuity of the society are expounded in intricate details. It can be an eye-opener of what's behind the high-end class system and what they are capable of doing.
I'll give this a satisfactory rating.
The Carpetbaggers is a realistic, tough, ruthless, outspoken novel of men and women who always take more than they give. It is filled with sin and success as the sharply drawn characters search endlessly for love and power, to dominate others even at the expense of self-destruction. Interesting at the time, but now very dated.
Feb 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
I know I am supposed to have probably loved this book, but I just couldn't. It took me ages to finish because I kept finding something better to do. I did however find Nevada to be a great character, he was pretty much the only reason I kept reading. ...more
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
This is an old book - but an enjoyable one. It is pre-world war II thru WWII, telling about the building of airplanes, the movie business. The characters are vivid and convincing. while the content is raw- it is a story of redemption. I will remember this one.
Zohaib Furqan
Feb 27, 2013 rated it liked it
only good, not that good, but good, I would recommend this book to the people who are born with a golden spoon in their mouth. I do not belong to that particular part of the society, so this book was like watching royal families day in and day out.
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Born as Harold Rubin in New York City, he later claimed to be a Jewish orphan who had been raised in a Catholic boys home. In reality he was the son of well-educated Russian and Polish immigrants. He was reared by his pharmacist father and stepmother in Brooklyn.

His first book, Never Love a Stranger (1948), caused controversy with its graphic sexuality. Publisher Pat Knopf reportedly bought Never

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