Believe it or not, America's fascination with celebrity culture was thriving well before the days of TMZ, Perez Hilton, Charlie Sheen's breakdown, and allegations against Woody Allen. And the stars of yesteryear? They weren't always the saints that we make them out to be. Part biography, part cultural history, the stories contained in this book cover the stuff that films are made of: love, sex, drugs, illegitimate children, illicit affairs, and botched cover-ups. Based on Anne Helen Petersen's popular column on the Hairpin, Scandals of Classic Hollywood is sensationalism made smart.
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No Smut? No Problem?
Well, this is an odd question because no two books are alike. However, for this particular genre - Hollywood expose, this is an extraordinally well written book.
One of the most memorable moments from the book was the Clark Gable/Carole Lombard narrative. It was surprisingly touching and, of course, very tragic.
It was a bit frantic at times but not unpleasant overall. The narration style seemed to fit the time period and subject matter covered.
Facts about how prevailing social norms in the country influenced what could make or break a Hollywood star and why. This was fascinating and made me contextualize it in today's celeb obsessed culture.
This book greatly and pleasantly surprised me with its intellectual, provocative examination of stardom, fame and infamy when it comes to Hollywood and public consumption. I expected a gauzy, bawdy romp through the scandals of yesteryear and got something much better instead. There are scandals aplenty but they are offered up in a framework of the psychosocial, religious, political and historical context of the country in real time. The struggle of America to come to terms with sex, gender, race and many other defining issues informs the narratives found within the book at every turn. What a fascinating read as a result! My only complaint is the fact that the author clearly cherry picked her scandals and often chose to treat some incidents with kid gloves. Still, I highly recommend this book.