Joseph P. Kennedy reigned in Hollywood from 1926 to 1930, when he ran three movie studios, led the revolution in sound pictures, and created the first modern entertainment empire. Sorting through the archives of Kennedy deals, letters, and memos, Cari Beauchamp tells for the first time how he made it all happen, a miracle of smoke and mirrors that resulted in a gambit never seen before or since: the merger with RCA that resulted in RKO Studios. Beauchamp writes about the pictures Kennedy produced; the stars he made and ruined (including his lover, Gloria Swanson); and the Hollywood titans he charmed, cajoled, and battled, including William Randolph Hearst, in this fascinating tale of greed and business genius that shows how Kennedy not only made a fortune but changed the very nature of the business of moviemaking.
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“Pam Ward delivers a solid performance, presenting Beauchamp’s findings with a straightforward, journalistic tone. Neither over the top nor monotonous, Ward relates the material with an ear for old Hollywood-speak without sounding forced or mechanical. The result is an entertaining and incredibly informative listening experience.”
“Beauchamp’s smart…new book, suggests that nothing…prepared [Kennedy] for presidential politics the way his time in the picture business did.”
— New York Times Book Review
“An exceptional work of film scholarship, packed with information no one had uncovered before that reads like a juicy novel.”
— Vanity Fair
“[A] crackling page-turner…Beauchamp demonstrates again and again, that apart from [Kennedy’s] abiding love and concern for his nine children (and perhaps a few others, including Marion Davies), the bottom line was everything.”
— Los Angeles Times
“Rarely has [Kennedy’s time in Hollywood] been documented in such meticulous detail…Well-written and well researched, Beauchamp’s book is a probing examination of the man in the industry during perhaps its most fascinating period.”
— Chicago Sun-Times
“Fascinating…The intellect, the intuition, the gumption, the gall, the vision, and the restless ambition of the founding father are meticulously documented.”
— Boston Globe
“Beauchamp serves up with gusto many measures of gossipy history and historical gossip…One hell of a story.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
“Beauchamp deserves great credit for bringing Joseph P. Kennedy into sharp focus with a wealth of detail…Beauchamp has succeeded not only in finding a new way of telling the story, but one which adds to it much we didn’t know before.”
— Michael Korda, Daily Beast
“[Ward] does well at keeping the listener engaged…her attention to the narrative and expository elements helps listeners get through Beauchamp’s meticulous research.”
“Richly detailed…An engrossing account of a man many only think they know and of some of the golden years of American filmmaking.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“Pam Ward’s narration is clear and expressive; the reedy Boston accent she employs when voicing Kennedy is dead-on hilarious. Recommended for those interested in the Kennedys and for movie history and popular culture buffs.”
— Library Journal
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About Cari Beauchamp
Cari Beauchamp is the author of Without Lying Down. She has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, and Variety. She is an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film scholar.
About Pam Ward
Pam Ward, an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator, found her true calling reading books for the blind and physically handicapped for the Library of Congress’ Talking Books program. The fact that she can work with Blackstone Audio from the beauty of the mountains of Southern Oregon is an unexpected bonus.