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Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood
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Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  364 ratings  ·  56 reviews
In this riveting popular history, the creator of You Must Remember This probes the inner workings of Hollywood’s glamorous golden age through the stories of some of the dozens of actresses pursued by Howard Hughes, to reveal how the millionaire mogul’s obsessions with sex, power and publicity trapped, abused, or benefitted women who dreamt of screen stardom.

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ebook, 560 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Custom House
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Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the audio book of this so it definitely felt like an extended episode or when you listen to a whole season at once.

I had been a bit concerned that what she put out on her podcast would make a lot of things redundant but thankfully that wasn’t the case. I appreciate that she had to walk the line between knowing her audience was reading this and wanted new information and not losing the people that hadn’t heard of her podcast before.

I really appreciated that Karina Longworth has deep empat
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, Howard Hughes was a bigger piece of work than most of us might have thought. In this exhaustively researched book, the author (the creator and host of the podcast You Must Remember This) tells what it was like to be a woman in Hollywood during the time of Howard Hughes. Such stellar luminaries, including Katharine Hepburn, Jean Harlow, Ava Gardner, Jane Russell and Ginger Rogers are intermingled with young starlets to tell a tale of exploitation, misogyny and manipulation.

Looking back at
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No one does Hollywood history better than Karina Longworth.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating, slightly snarky in the right places and sad in many others look at a real grade-A asshole, the women he terrorized and the industry who enabled it.
Nick Spacek
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: movies
In her new book, Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood, Karina Longworth uses the story of movie mogul and industrialist Hughes to examine the lives of myriad young women in the early days of Hollywood. Given that Longworth, host of the inimitable and interesting You Must Remember This podcast, has a knack for interweaving detailed stories of forgotten Hollywood, it should comes as no surprise that Seduction is a fascinating read.

Better than that, though, is the way in w
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nov-2018
Thank you Custom House Books for an e-copy of Seduction by Karina Longworth for review. Seduction will be available November 13, 2018.

Seduction is a history book not just about Howard Hughes but also about the women he affected. In the golden age of Hollywood, producers signed actors to contracts and leased them out for movies. Howard Hughes “collected” young women new to Hollywood and signed them to exploit them.
This book is an extensive look into that time. It was long and detailed but also h
Interesting in parts, but I got bored in others. It's no wonder that Weinstein et al thought they had a right to act the way they did- that's the culture that has been around Hollywood since the very beginning. It's pretty disgusting that it has been allowed to go on for such a long time.
Howard Hughes is an interesting guy. Horrible, but interesting.
Reading this book led me to the author's podcast, and I've listened to several episodes even though I really don't like the way she talks, so I'm
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazingly researched hybrid of a Howard Hughes bio and a history of ALL the women (famous and not) that circled his orbit or were snared by his gravitational pull. It's all about the movies and Hollywood and a guy that was rich and manipulative and really weird. But, it's also a great historic tale of how Hollywood changed (often by Hughes' doings) and the way women were exploited by the star machine and men who ran it. This is not just about Hughes, but about those women (both tragic and succes ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in2018
3.5 stars. I really like Karina's style of writing (which makes sense, I like her podcast!), I just wish I was more interested in some of the subject matter.
Douglas Fugate
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is about Howard Hughes. It covers his life from being raised in Texas to his death while being flown to a hospital in Houston, Texas. The reader will learn of the women he touches – physically, sexually, by phone, or by memo. The control he held over everyone with whom he had contact – male and female. The research is exceptional. Interspersed, are mini-biographies of several women.
This is a first-rate look at Hollywood from the Silent movies, through the addition of sound and then co
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anyone thinking the Harold Robbins book The Carpetbaggers was sensational, clearly had no idea of the realities of the life of Howard Hughes. Clearly he continues to fascinate, first as a daring aviator and then as ground breaking film producer, but finally as a creepy old guy. It is a paradox that Hughes probably died because he was too powerful to receive the care he needed. Hereditary deafness and his need to compensate only made his isolation worse. A 1946 air crash probably was never really ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 out of 5. I’ve been a fan of Karina’s work on her podcast You Must Remember This for a while so I was really excited to see that she had a book coming out about Howard Hughes. While I was not shocked that he was a completely gross, creepy, controlling predator, particularly toward very young women of a certain type, I was surprised that he was a really bad businessman and filmmaker (I should have known about the filmmaker stuff, I have seen The Conqueror, do not recommend). For all the glitz ...more
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: movies
I looked up so many movies and actresses while reading this that it was kind of absurd. And so fun! This is probably the best nonfiction book I read this year.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Karina Longworth’s Seduction is technically a biography of Howard Hughes, but she crafts the book so that Hughes is defined by the negative space between the women—ten in particular—whose careers and lives he manipulated in order to attempt to enhance his own. Longworth’s work amounts to a certain satisfying sort of revenge in exposing the ugly details of a life that Hughes so desperately worked to keep private (satisfying not because what he wished to remain private is being made public, but be ...more
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won a copy of this through Goodreads Giveaways.

This is a really thorough look into exactly what it's title says: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood." It's not a super thorough look into Howard Hughes, though it gives the basics, nor any of the starlets that he wooed, seduced and lied to during his time trying to influence the film industry. It's also not a super thorough look into Hollywood, though it again gives a pretty decent look into a particular period of time. If you are
Kimberly Shephard
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m a huge fan of You Must Remember This the podcast and of Longworth. I listened to the audiobook, so it basically felt like one very long, extended episode. I loved the book, five stars for the detailed and compelling story of Hollywood, Hughes, and women for 5 decades. I would listen to this book again in a heartbeat. However, it lost one start for me for a couple reasons. One, I think Longworth tried to fit together both a chronological and an actress by actress structure and that got confus ...more
Jason Bergman
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-heather
An excellent Hollywood history. If you've ever listened to Longworth's podcast You Must Remember This, you'll feel right at home here. All the same elements are present - the meticulous research, the looks at classic films through modern eyes, the use of women to tell the story of powerful Hollywood men, and even the occasional, slightly snarky aside. So if you like the podcast, you'll love the book (and vice versa, I'd imagine).

As is her way, Longworth does some impressive sleuthing here. Sourc
Alan Kaplan
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun, sometimes shocking book about Howard Hughes career in Hollywood. Hughes began his career as a Hollywood producer from the 1920's thru the 1950's until his mental illness sidelined him as a recluse. Howard Hughes was a brilliant sociopath who treated women like objects, including some of the biggest movie stars of his time. He would promise beautiful young girls that he could make them stars. They would sign personal contracts with him for years, and he would essentially keep them locked up ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The stories that Longworth has to share with us here are fascinating, harrowing, sad, and convicting. Hollywood and its complicated history with gender and power are on full display here, and the stories that emerge are incredible. This is a good read for anyone interested in seeing how the patterns of the treatment of women in show business are really nothing new, but have been institutionalized for decades. There's a lot we can learn from recognizing this history, and Longworth does a good job ...more
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Karina Longworth's Seduction (subtitled Just When You Thought Howard Hughes Couldn't Be More Of A Garbage Person, Look Out!) is a masterfully told, impeccably researched account of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
It baffles, it outrages, it entertains, often all in the same paragraph.
I've been a fan of her work for many years through her podcast You Must Remember This, and Longworth treads some familiar ground of those episodes in this work - while still keeping the reader thoroughly engrossed thr
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge fan of You Must Remember This, and this book feels like what my friend Greg called "an extra-long episode of the podcast." Longworth has such a distinctive voice, even when you're reading and not listening. I found Seduction to be both illuminating and disturbing. My only other Howard Hughes knowledge seems to come from The Aviator (during which I fell asleep), which is decidedly Howard-centric. I loved reading the story from the perspective of the women who were involved with him, pe ...more
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In “Seduction,” Longworth provides a solid narrative around one of the most enigmatic figures of Hollywood’s first century. This book details the relationship between tool heir, controlling yet reluctant studio chief, Hollywood playboy, and recluse Howard Hughes and the various actress loves he had in his life throughout the years, including Billie Dove, Jean Harlow, Terry Moore, Jean Peters, and Ava Gardner. “Seduction” is a must- read for any fan of Longworth’s stellar podcast “You Must Rememb ...more
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a big fan of Longworth's "you must remember this" podcast and a winner of the giveaway, so this was very exciting.

I knew very little about Howard Hughes, save for the spruce goose and RKO. Additionally, I was never terribly interested in the podcast episodes on him as well. That being said, "seduction" is less about Hughes and more about the era in which he and the various stars lived in. The book is thoroughly researched and Longworth's analysis of how that era juxtaposes with today is su
Megan Lucy
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was fascinating not only in capturing history through the points of view of women entangled in the life of Howard Hughes, but also for how that history is reflected in our own time. The narratives surrounding female film stars, and women in general, today are not radically different than they were in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and on. What Longworth is able to do is show through a series of portraits of women involved with Hughes is how different women were able to shape, or be ...more
Katie Pesznecker
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Peek behind the velvet curtain of Hollywood's so-called golden age to get a sense of its seedy and patriarchal underbelly in this book that feels like a confiding tell-all, quoting some of Hollywood's most idolized actresses who shared a common thing: Howard Hughes. He was an obsessive aviator, a hands-on movie man, and a collector of starlets for years. A bit dense and run-on at times, still a fun read. It didn't live up to the promise that it would paint Hughes as sort of the original Harvey W ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The author is the host of the fantastic podcast, “You Must Remember This “ which explores the hidden history of Hollywood. That podcast combined with this fascinating book confirms Longworth’s position of the finest modern chronicler of Hollywood History. This book views Hollywood history through the prism of the brilliant and eccentric Hughes and his relationship with his “ women” both on and off screen. Witty, well written, well researched, and just damn interesting , if you ...more
Did you recently watch the R. Kelley special? Have you followed the stories of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby? Well if you have a desire to know more about how a corrupt system gets set in place and keeps on getting regurgitated over the years with the main aim of exploiting and abusing women all while under the veneer of "entertainment" then you need to go back to Howard Hughes. Longworth does her best to make this a story about women trying to exist and make a living in Howard Hughes's Hollyw ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Got this on audiobook the day after release for a long drive. What’s better than listening to your favorite podcast author reading her brilliant new book to you?

This is really just a long episode of You Must Remember This (without music, which was weird at first). Longworth goes so in-depth about so many things in Hollywood, including the somewhat unbelievable character that was Howard Hughes. She does such a good job being objective, yet real, about Hollywood in its first century.
Mark Wheaton
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Damning re-examination of the cycle of negging, gaslighting, and ghosting Howard Hughes used to lure women into his orbit only to either stifle their careers once he felt he possessed them or promote them to for financial advantage even if it went against the wishes of the actresses themselves. Hughes comes off as damaged physically as he is mentally while also providing a blueprint of expectation for so many who would come to Hollywood after hoping to replicate what they saw as his success.
Niklas Bergljung
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Karina Longworth (vars podcast You Must Remember This är måstelyssning för alla som gillar klassisk film) gör här ett porträtt av Howard Hughes genom att använda ett perspektiv från de många kvinnorna i hans liv. Det är inte en smickrande bild som kommer fram, något helt annat än vad som visades i filmen The Aviator. Mycket läsvärd bok även om det ibland kan vara svårt att hänga med genom alla årtal och kvinnor som nämns.
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Karina Longworth is an American film critic, film blogger, radio personality, author,and journalist based in Los Angeles. She is one of the founders of the film culture blog Cinematical and formerly edited both Cinematical and the film blog SpoutBlog and, while living in New York, was heard regularly on the Public Radio International show The Takeaway.[6] She is currently Film Editor and critic at ...more