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Download Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream, by Steven Watts Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (138 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steven Watts Narrator: Ray Porter Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Gorgeous young women in revealing poses; extravagant mansion parties packed with celebrities; a hot-tub grotto, elegant smoking jackets, and round rotating beds; the hedonistic pursuit of uninhibited sex—put these images together and a single name springs to mind: Hugh Hefner. From his spectacular launch of Playboy magazine and the dizzying expansion of his leisure empire to his recent television hit The Girls Next Door, the publisher has attracted public attention and controversy for decades. But how did a man who is at once socially astute and morally unconventional, part Bill Gates and part Casanova, also evolve into a figure at the forefront of cultural change?

In Mr. Playboy, historian and biographer Steven Watts argues that, in the process of becoming fabulously wealthy and famous, Hefner has profoundly altered American life and values. Granted unprecedented access to the man and his enterprise, Watts traces Hef’s life and career from his Midwestern, Methodist upbringing and the first publication of Playboy in 1953 through the turbulent sixties, self-indulgent seventies, reactionary eighties, and traditionalist nineties up to the present. He reveals that from the beginning Hefner believed he could overturn social norms and take America with him.

Throughout this fascinating biography, Watts offers singular insights into the real man behind the flamboyant public persona. He shows Hefner’s personal dichotomies—the pleasure seeker and the workaholic, the consort of countless Playmates and the genuine romantic, the family man and the Gatsby-like host of lavish parties at his Chicago and Los Angeles mansions who enjoys well-publicized affairs with numerous Playmates, the fan of life’s simple pleasures who hobnobs with the Hollywood elite. Punctuated with descriptions and anecdotes of life at the Playboy Mansions, Mr. Playboy tells the compelling and uniquely American story of how one person with a provocative idea, a finger on the pulse of popular opinion, and a passion for his work altered the course of modern history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[F]ascinating…offers readers new insights into the life of one of the most renowned entrepreneurs of the twentieth century. Ray Porter gives a rousing, commanding reading that exercises his captivating voice. His strong voice contains a certain journalistic integrity that holds the listener’s attention, and his unbiased tone allows listeners to draw their own conclusions about Hefner.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Steven Watts’ biography presents a more complex personality lurking behind the pipe and smoking jacket, and Ray Porter’s courtly manner suggests indignation, and near envy, over Hefner’s excesses. The tension is well suited to the tangled web of contradictions that Hefner embodies.”


  • “Porter’s rich, resonant reading cruises along at a comfortable, relaxed gait. Given the wealth of information…Porter’s delivery could become monotonous, but he modulates his tones, bringing emphasis and clarity to the details…Webb brings legitimate research to this reliable account of an American icon. Porter’s strong reading makes this extremely palatable.”


  • “[A] nuanced portrait of Hefner’s life that also serves as a panorama of hip culture from the 1950s onward…Probably the last word on the man behind a million adolescent fantasies.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Jenn | 11/27/2013

    " writing was not very good "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Melanie | 9/15/2013

    " I actually read this in Borders after I accidentally knocked it off the shelf trying to find another book. Is it bad that I already knew a lot of the stuff in this book? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Gary Gray | 5/20/2013

    " A bit on the long side, but everything you ever wanted to know about Hugh Hefner. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jennifer | 5/11/2013

    " Well written book about a dirty young, now old, man. Kind of nauseating, but subtle enough to keep me from vomiting. I had no idea the turmoil Hefner went through whilst creating and recreating his empire. And the magazine itself? It IS about the articles! :) "

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