Empire

  • by Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele
  • Narrated by Christopher Hurt
  • 28 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Howard Hughes lived one of the greatest, most heroic, misunderstood, mysterious, bizarre, and tragic lives in American history. In this brilliantly documented biography, the mythology that surrounded that life is disentangled from the truth.Hughes had always been different. Certainly his riches set him apart, but he was also tough. Orphaned and a millionaire at 18, Hughes repudiated his relatives, seized control of the Hughes Tool Company, the linchpin of his fortune, and went on to become a flamboyant movie producer, holder of many world aviation records, principal owner of Trans World Airlines, a critically important defense contractor, Hollywood's most pursued and elusive bachelor, and partner of the United States government.This is an epic biography of an epic figure who bestrode the world like a colossus yet could not master himself.

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What the Critics Say

"Of all the books written about Howard Hughes, Empire is easily the best...." (New York Times Book Review)
"A remarkable job of investigative reporting....cracks Hughes's public persona as it disentangles the psychodrama of his private doings." (Publishers Weekly)
"[The] most responsible and authoritative biography of Hughes to date."Newsweek)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fascinating, Fascinating, Fascinating!!!

I've read several books about Howard Hughes throughout the years, but this book by Donald Bartlett, tops them all!

The author takes us on an intriguing adventure that totally captivates you from start to finish. Hughes, as has been well chronicled throughout the years, was an intriguing, yet dashing figure and personality throughout the mid-part of the last century. When he was younger, he had the world at his fingertips, with movie starlets for girlfriends anytime he wanted, boatloads full of money, the ear of every influential politician of his era, and so much more.

It's an intriguing tale of what we may nowadays call "mental illness", which was fueled by addictions to painkillers and narcotics, psychosis, a mistrust of people in general, fear of germs and, finally, his own "inner circle" closing in around him and taken advantage of him while he mindlessly toiled away the days/weeks watching television butt naked as he eventually lost control of his empire.

The story did get a little tedious when the author went into probably a little bit too much detail, and some of the business dealings that Hughes was able to construct, but other than that, this text will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.

I don't know if I learned anything new about the life and times of Howard Hughes, but this rendition of the story that is been told before, is by far the very best. A must-read for those who like mystery, intrigue, adventure, featuring one of the wealthiest and best-known personalities that this country has ever produced.


Excellent!!!
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- James

Too Much Detail on Trivial Matters

Any additional comments?

The book goes on for 30-40 minutes detailing correspondence between Howard's mother and his summer camp leader when Howard was around 7 or 8. "Please make certain Howard has plenty of thick socks for summer activites", "I assure you madame, Howard will have an ample number of socks for the summer", etc., etc. 30 to 40 minutes of this? Seriously? This could have been abridged.

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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-29-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.