Seduction
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.In recent months, the media has reported on scores of entertainment figures who used their power and money in Hollywood to sexually harass and coerce some of the most talented women in cinema and television. But as Karina Longworth reminds us, long before the Harvey Weinsteins there was Howard Hughes—the Texas millionaire, pilot, and filmmaker whose reputation as a cinematic provocateur was matched only by that as a prolific womanizer.His supposed conquests between his first divorce in the late 1920s and his marriage to actress Jean Peters in 1957 included many of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, among them Billie Dove, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner. From promoting bombshells like Jean Harlow and Jane Russell to his contentious battles with the censors, Hughes—perhaps more than any other filmmaker of his era—commoditized male desire as he objectified and sexualized women. Yet there were also numerous women pulled into Hughes’s grasp who never made it to the screen, sometimes virtually imprisoned by an increasingly paranoid and disturbed Hughes, who retained multitudes of private investigators, security personnel, and informers to make certain these actresses would not escape his clutches.Vivid, perceptive, timely, and ridiculously entertaining, Seduction is a landmark work that examines women, sex, and male power in Hollywood during its golden age—a legacy that endures nearly a century later.

Seduction Details

TitleSeduction
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 13th, 2018
PublisherCustom House
ISBN-139780062440532
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Culture, Film, Biography, Media Tie In, Movies, Audiobook

Seduction Review

  • Lee
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 empathy for what the women in 20th century Hollywood had to go through without excusing their bad behavior. Likewise she shows a humanity to Howard Hughes that I’m not entirely sure I could ascribe to him myself. She really did justice to her premise- that by looking at Howard Hughes and Hollywood you were able to see a microcosm of Hollywood as a whole. Definitely an enjoyable read for anyone interested in this era of Hollywood.
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  • Nick Spacek
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 which Longworth is able to take the concept of her podcast and expand it widely. As she states in the press interview which came with our review copy, "[a]approaching this as a book gave me a longer timeline to do the research, which allowed me to travel and write about many primary sources, such as telegrams, memos, depositions, unpublished notes and memoirs, etc."As a result, the reader gets a view of not only Hughes, but the mechanisms he set in place to control the women upon whom he fixated. To explain the cope of the book in a few short sentences is nigh-impossible, but the TL;DR of Seduction is this: Howard Hughes was obsessed with a certain kind of woman, and he relentlessly pursued them in a way which was as controlling as any fictional Svengali.Longworth created a mini-series of episodes tied to the release of Seduction, and after a couple of weeks of listening, my co-worker pointed out that all of the stories seemed to follow a particular pattern: "A girl comes to town, meets Howard Hughes, he treats her awfully and fools around on her, she fools around, she turns to alcohol, and everything ends poorly."It's essentially the pattern of the book, distilled to its essence. Hughes had a type, to be sure. He liked his girls -- both adult women and in some cases, literal girls not much past their sixteenth birthday -- bosomy, brunette, and new to town. He'd have one of his flunkies meet them straight off the train and set them up to be one of his many, many "potential starlets." Many would never be in a single film.It would all be sad as hell, were it not for the stories of the women who broke free of Hughes' machinations and became successes in their own right. Sadly, there weren't many, and Longworth makes a pretty valid point that many of these women could have been icons, were it not for Hughes' interference. For all of Hughes' controlling, deeply disturbing habits, and emotional malfeasance, it appears that he did have an eye for talent, but no ability to let it flourish.It's astonishing to see how many actresses waited years for their big films to come out, and the fact that someone like Jane Russell was able to outlast the madness and tinkering which was the process of making The Outlaw is astonishing in light of how many young women never saw anything. The strength and power Hughes wielded is only matched for the rapidity and sadness of his decline, which has been well-documented over the years. Thanks to Longworth's dedicated research, she's able to bring into the light the stories of so many women who were kept in the darkness of Hughes' shadow.Longworth's Seduction does an excellent job of demonstrating what a cad Howard Hughes was, as well as using him to tell the stories of these women. The most appealing aspect of Seduction is that it's not "Howard Hughes was a god among men" for the hundredth time, but instead the untold stories of women who were repeatedly tossed aside as the tycoon's interest waxed and waned. It's almost as if he's finally the one being used.As recommended listening, check out the You Must Remember This episode on Linda Darnell, whose story isn't explored much in the book. The expanded version of the prologue is also essential background.
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  • Alecia
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 these times through the lens of the recent #MeToo movement, we can see the movie business with our current perspective and understand a bit more how it led to Harvey Weinstein and others. Howard Hughes was clearly wounded himself, and was an expert liar. "Howard Hughes would move from pursuing top female stars to pursuing young (sometimes very young) women whose careers had not yet gotten very far off the ground. More than ever, he would become obsessed with controlling these women, seeking to tie them up via marriage proposals or long-term contracts-or both-and taking ownership over their bodies and how they were presented to the public-or weren't."For anyone with an interest in this detailed, sometimes gossipy book, it is worth the time. It is a long book, but it held my interest as the research was good, the writing was good, and, of course, the subject was very compelling and disturbing at the same time.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 highly readable. If you have ever listened to Ms. Longworth’s podcast “You Must Remember This”, you will know how much work she puts into her stories. They are not just a string of dates and times but more a more immersive experience.A great book and highly recommend it if you’d like to learn more about the time before US Weekly spreads and the Me Too Movement.
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  • Cait
    January 1, 1970
    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
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 color, into and through the 50s. You will discover several stars of both the silent and sound era, female “want-to-be” stars, B-movie stars and a few household mega-stars. All of these surround the lanky Texan, Howard Hughes. He adored brunette, big-chested women.His repeated conflicts with motion picture code officials were well publicized and Hughes made certain they captured headlines throughout the country. No doubt his influence in the movie industry has had a major effect on all subsequent movie ratings. Howard Hughes may have been one of, if not The Most, selfish men in Hollywood. Compared with other major heads of studios, directors, and male motion picture stars of that era, that is saying something. Howard Hughes used his money, position and charisma to take advantage of hundreds of young women. Miss Longworth has produced a work that displays excellent research, writing, and anecdotes. This is an exceptional work on Hughes and Hollywood.
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  • Marshall
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 treated properly and in the end one of the world’s richest men suffered from malnutrition.Along the way there were films, none really great, but groundbreaking, and there were the women, a list that reads like a who’s who (at least at first), Billie Dove, Jean Harlow, Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Jane Russell, Jane Greer, Ida Lupino, Yvonne de Carlo, Jean Peters, and Terry Moore. There were also countless others who Hughes kept under contract and who never achieved fame or notoriety. Hughes compulsively sought women and the lucky ones were the ones who managed their own careers and moved on at the first sign of trouble. Ava Gardner actually tormented Hughes for 15 years, but was smart enough to avoid him as best she could. Terry Moore and Jean Peters weren’t so lucky. Katrina Longworth, who presides over one of the best podcasts available (I always look forward to Tuesday mornings when I can hear her take on a different aspect of the first 100 years of Hollywood history, it makes my week), is also the author of this book. If you are a fan of the podcast, this will be sheer bliss, if you’re not, you soon will be. She brings her practiced sensibility to the task of trying to explain the Hollywood career of the amazing and bizarre Howard Hughes.
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  • Zack
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 of showing this throughout. The book's major flaw is that it ties its narrative to that of Howard Hughes; the characters in the book and their stories are interesting enough that Hughes just becomes an organizing conceit and is one of the least interesting elements in the story. He brings a unique element to the tale, no doubt, but is ultimately relatively useless in the narrative. Overall a good, thought-provoking read.
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  • Mariah
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 throughout. Even with only the most rudimentary knowledge of the films discussed but with a love of consuming scandal, it's very easy to follow and I heartily recommend for a frothy non-fiction binge.
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  • Miklos
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 subtle but unmistakable. If you're a regular podcast listener or a history buff of Hollywood's golden era, I highly recommend "Seduction".
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  • Katie Pesznecker
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 Weinstein, but it did establish he was an egomaniac and control freak who couldn't resist a new pretty face and was at times erratic, irrational and even violent.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 have any interest in these topics( and even if you don’t ), you will find this book fascinating. Highly recommended!
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  • Richie
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Mark Wheaton
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Brianna
    January 1, 1970
    Incredibly constructed and immaculately researched. An absolutely readable history of Golden Age Hollywood. So very relevant in the time of the #metoo movement and the outting of modern day movie icons as manipulative monsters. A must read for anyone interested in Hollywood history or how a person can truly manipulate the narrative of their life.
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  • Nourah
    January 1, 1970
    The only thing I didn't like about this book is that it eventually had to end. Even though I've already listened to all the podcasts and there is a tiny bit of repetition it was still interesting to go through it again.
  • Exapno Mapcase
    January 1, 1970
    No rose-colored glasses here. While primarily a biography of Howard Hughes Longworth portrays a wild west atmosphere of Hollywood in the ‘30s and ‘40s. This is definitely a must read for all those interested in the current climate, as well as those of old time Hollywood.Free review copy.
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  • Melinda Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    Wowee wow wow
  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant biography of Hughes focusing on the women whose careers were hijacked by him.
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Andy
    January 1, 1970
    A super well researched book that covers the love life of our nations first mad billionaire.
  • Lirazel
    January 1, 1970
    I knew it was going to be good because Karina Longworth, and it was. (For sheer writing and research, this should get 5 stars. But Hughes was so awful, I can't do it.)
  • Xiola
    January 1, 1970
    I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, and it was like getting to listen to a whole season of her podcast, You Must Remember This. I absolutely loved this book.
  • Jillian
    January 1, 1970
    Sucks that I gotta return this to the library :( It was so good so far! Hopefully I'll get the chance to pick this up again soon.
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