By William J. Mann
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Description: By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America’s new favorite pastime, and one of the nation’s largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence. Yet Hollywood’s glittering ascendency was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies—including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now.
In a fiendishly involving narrative, bestselling Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of the enigmatic Taylor and the diverse cast that surrounded him—including three beautiful, ambitious actresses; a grasping stage mother; a devoted valet; and a gang of two-bit thugs, any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet. And overseeing this entire landscape of intrigue was Adolph Zukor, the brilliant and ruthless founder of Paramount, locked in a struggle for control of the industry and desperate to conceal the truth about the crime. Along the way, Mann brings to life Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties: a sparkling yet schizophrenic town filled with party girls, drug dealers, religious zealots, newly-minted legends and starlets already past their prime—a dangerous place where the powerful could still run afoul of the desperate.
A true story recreated with the suspense of a novel, Tinseltown is the work of a storyteller at the peak of his powers—and the solution to a crime that has stumped detectives and historians for nearly a century.
The Good Stuff
- Reads like fiction. Forgot on many occasions that I was reading non-fiction
- Absolutely fascinating, hooked me in with the first chapter. Author really knows how to set a scene
- Henry Peavey sounded like he was a delightful and colourful man
- Interesting to find out about the scandal involving Fatty Arbuckle. I knew a little about it from stories from my Dad, but had no idea what really had happened. Poor bastard.
- I know, I know, but I am still flabbergasted at the Anti-antisemitism against the Jews in Hollywood - especially by so called christian people who went to church every sunday but thought Jews were evil - still blows me away
- Made me very interested in reading more about Hays
- Extremely thorough and well researched
- Fascinating exploration of the decadence of Hollywood in the Twenties
The Not So Good Stuff
- Not sure if the finished copy (I received an ARC) has pictures, but if not, this would be a lovely addition
- My lord, Mary's mother was a truly horrific women - cannot believe the scene in which she forces her daughter to have an abortion - worse than many evil fictional characters
- Ummm tagline says murder was solved until now- well technically it is not solved, this is just a theory (This is the reason I lowered the rating on the book)
"The affair had started as a lark, full of fun and laughs, but it had ended up wrecking Mabel's health and depleting her bank account--the way romances with cocaine usually ended."
"The only part of his religious education that had ever interested the future moviemaker was the Bible itself, because it was a primer in how to tell good stories."
"Zukor knew that bringing on Hays wouldn't completely silence bigots like Ford, but it would deprive them of one of their most potent, and loathsome, rallying cries. The leader of the movies would no longer be a Jewish infidel, but a Christian elder."
I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review