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

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,081 ratings  ·  160 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, 576 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Custom House
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Rachel
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No one does Hollywood history better than Karina Longworth.
Lee
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
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Alecia
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
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Rex Fuller
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the author's opinion, Howard Hughes believed the purpose of popular movies was to literally expose as much of the lead actress on screen as permissible. She also demonstrates that Hughes was serially smitten with and constantly seeking beautiful women, with which being in the movie business fit perfectly. After all, he romanced Billie Dove, Faith Domergue, Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Katharine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Ginger Rogers, Janet Leigh, Rita Hayworth, Mamie Van Doren, ...more
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
...more
Tad
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you are anything like me and love watching old movies and love reading about classic Hollywood, then this book will be right up your alley. Exhaustively researched and endlessly engaging, Longworth gives us a detailed look at Howard Hughes and the ways in which he used his power, money and influence to seduce and entrap women into his orbit. Some were well known, others less so. But they all shared a level of affection for Hughes that often led to their own detriment.
The Aviator is one of my
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Stephanie
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
...more
Gemma
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's a lot to go over and think about in this book but seriously if anyone was surprised by the depth of the charges against Harvey Weinstein (and so much other stuff that's come out recently) "Hollywood" has been enabling hell even celebrating this stuff pretty much since the beginning.
And if you aren't overly interested in Hughes (I'm not) there's some interesting stuff about films, the early publicity machine, selling women's bodies, how the studio system and the press worked to create
...more
Katie
I am a Longworth devotee because of the impeccable craft of her podcast episodes and other writings: she is incredibly adept at contextualizing what you are listening to. Longworth is relentless in her research and is always looking at her subjects from various angles and interrogating those angles to get as close to truth as is possible when chronicling the history of a professional sphere which specializes in hiding truth. I was not disappointed at all in the book – Longworth accomplishes ...more
unknown
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
A fascinating Hollywood history that attempts to cover a little bit too much, but you can imagine it was hard to resist doing so with a subject as fascinating as Hughes. The last quarter grows increasingly scattered and unfocused as Longworth races through the final decades of Hughes' post-Hollywood life and gets lost in the tangle of the reclusive weirdo's many affairs and marriages, but the first two-thirds are engrossing—and, like the podcast You Must Remember This, will have you adding ...more
Writer's Relief
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the 1920s to the 1950s, movie mogul Howard Hughes astounded the world by making movies many never thought would be made, flying around the world in his own private plane, and launching legendary publicity campaigns for the films he would produce. He also had many, many romances with famous women in Hollywood—from established stars like Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn to lesser known names such as Faith Doumergue and Jean Peters. Karina Longworth, host of the popular podcast “You Must ...more
Joseph
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.
Boz Reacher
this was so facsinating i hardly put it down except to occasionally puke
F.R.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The podcast that first hooked me into the whole world of podcasts wasn’t SERIAL, I was too late to the party for that, it was Karina Longworth’s YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS. A look behind the stories of old Hollywood which was sympathetic, empathetic and offered a 21st century perspective on these old black and white tales. I’d never really listened to any podcasts before it, but it hooked me in completely.

(Interestingly, at the end of this book, she says she got this book contract in 2015 when the
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Aroha Bahuguna
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
"...the consummate tit-man" is the phrase that stands out to me after reading this book a few weeks ago and having forgotten half the number of women that Howard Hughes tried to seduce or seduced. More often than not he failed at it, because he was such a charmer of a person. My only introduction to HH before this book was through Aviator that I saw way back when, which painted him as an eccentric genius. But this book was a real insight into the dirtbag that he was. The book is extensively ...more
Eliza
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Sadly disappointed with this - a 2.5 really. What works so well in You Must Remember This - where Longworth illuminates connections and spins narrative, delivering delight in a witty and knowing drawl - does not translate well to the page. This reads as a hurried litany of second source anecdotes with no additional analysis or conjecture. Towards the end I was bored which is a feat considering the fantastical, fascinating source material. Back to the podcast.
Beth
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.
Colleen
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, old-movies, ww2
Comes as no surprise that Howard Hughes was a terrible man--in practically every way. This book focuses on just mainly one facet of his all around shitty self--the sexual predator and controller of women part, and tangentially how he ran RKO into the ground like a spoiled child in order to manipulate women and obsess over Jane Russell's breasts.

If you're looking for a companion piece, I recommend Zanucks of Hollywood, The: The Dark Legacy of an American Dynasty, which I read recently. (And
...more
Bob Garrett
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Karina Longworth writes, narrates and produces a podcast titled YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS, and if you're a classic film buff, then her podcast is a "must listen." Longworth consistently proves herself knowledgeable on Hollywood history, does her homework (A list of sources for each episode appears on the podcast website.) and is a great story teller.

She brings all of those qualities to this book, and fans of her podcast (among which I count myself) won't be disappointed. It's true that a number of
...more
Donie Nelson
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gossipy read. Who knew that Hughes was great in bed, (according to Katherine Hepburn), or that he used marriage proposals & engagement rings as bait for pre-marital sex! He was obsessed with brunettes with big tits & employed scouts to find mostly teenage girls as potential "starlets" he could pay to wait for him to make them stars! Some of them he never met in person. I never met Hughes, but I met ex-wives Terry Moore at a party in Malibu in the 1970s (Adam "Batman" West was there, too) ...more
Lisa
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
...more
Doug Becker
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Howard Hughes has always been an enigmatic figure. Karina Longworth’s, with her skill unearthing Hollywood history, presents him in all of his bizarre glory. Studio heads have always considered the women they had under contract as their personal playthings. Hughes seemed to have a studio just to collect women. His life was about conquest. This is a tale of toxic masculinity and the entitlement of wealth coupled with stories of how the women he sought to control were able or unable to navigate. ...more
James
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 ...more
Martin
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Karina Longworth is one of our best film critics and film historians, a storyteller who makes the past come alive with crackling prose. Here, through the life of eccentric Howard Hughes and the women and men who come in and out of his life, we get an amazing overview of Hollywood during the first half of the 20the century. Many of the themes Longworth writes about that pertain to the film industry are as relevant now as they were then. This is more than a biography of Hughes, it’s a biography ...more
Susan Liston
I didn't really know that much about Howard Hughes' actual path through Hollywood, so much of this information was new to me. I hadn't realized he had quite so many famous girlfriends, for one thing. I also hadn't realized how bad he was at being a film mogul. He was just so creepy in so many ways, it's hard to imagine that he must have been at least a little charming at some point. I did bog down a bit toward the last quarter or so as Howard got weirder and the Hollywood connection faded, but ...more
Cait
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
...more
Becky Johnston
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5, rounded up.

This was a meticulously researched and well argued book that succeeds at presenting Howard Hughes as the proto- Harvey Weinsten/ Donald Trump. However, in the author's goal to focus on the women Hughes used, abused, and discarded -it's more a mixed bag. Some women shine through the book (Ginger Rogers, Jane Russell, Jean Peters) while others get lost in the shuffle of women. Writing about a man who treated women as interchangeable ended up having a "sameness" effect on the women
...more
Anne
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, ...more
Marshall
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
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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