Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood

In recent months, the media has reported on scores of entertainment figures who used their power and money in Hollywood to sexually harass and coerce some of the most talented women in cinema and television. But as Karina Longworth reminds us, long before the Harvey Weinsteins there was Howard Hughes—the Texas millionaire, pilot, and filmmaker whose reputation as a cinematic provocateur was matched only by that as a prolific womanizer.

His supposed conquests between his first divorce in the late 1920s and his marriage to actress Jean Peters in 1957 included many of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, among them Billie Dove, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner. From promoting bombshells like Jean Harlow and Jane Russell to his contentious battles with the censors, Hughes—perhaps more than any other filmmaker of his era—commoditized male desire as he objectified and sexualized women. Yet there were also numerous women pulled into Hughes’s grasp who never made it to the screen, sometimes virtually imprisoned by an increasingly paranoid and disturbed Hughes, who retained multitudes of private investigators, security personnel, and informers to make certain these actresses would not escape his clutches.

Vivid, perceptive, timely, and ridiculously entertaining, Seduction is a landmark work that examines women, sex, and male power in Hollywood during its golden age—a legacy that endures nearly a century later.


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Reviews of Seduction

Named a most anticipated book of the fall by ELLE, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, Newsday, and SF Weekly

“Karina Longworth loves Hollywood the way it ought to be loved—mercilessly. This is a deep and radiant book, and Longworth is a national treasure.” —James Kaplan, author of Sinatra

“Karina Longworth casts a gimlet eye over the dark corners of movie history, taking us on an entertaining and timely tour of early Hollywood mores and manipulation. No matter how much you think you know about golden age Hollywood, Longworth serves up fascinatingly fresh perspective on the ways male desire and power shaped movie mythology.” —Joy Press, author of Stealing the Show

“A history that shows clearly how powerful men exploited actresses long before the #MeToo movement began. Hollywood historian Longworth has mined memoirs, biographies, magazines, newspapers, and archives to create an entertaining, gossip-filled portrait of the film capital’s golden age… A lively—and often sordid—Hollywood history.” Kirkus Reviews


Upcoming Events for Seduction


VANCOUVER, BC | Thursday November 8 

Rio Theatre | 6:30PM
Karina Longworth live at the Vancouver Podcast Festival | Ticketed Event - Get Tickets

LOS ANGELES | Monday November 12 

Skylight Books | 7:30PM
Conversation with Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times followed by book signing 
 

AUSTIN | Tuesday November 13
BookPeople, offsite at Alamo Drafthouse Ritz | 7:00PM
Screening of PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET followed by book signing | Ticketed event - Get Tickets
 

HOUSTON | Wednesday November 14
Brazos Bookstore, offsite at Rice Cinema | 7:00PM
Screening of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES followed by book signing | Ticketed event - Get Tickets

NEW YORK | Friday November 16
The Academy at Metrograph | 7:00PM 
Screening of THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA followed by book signing | Ticketed event - Get Tickets


TORONTO | Sunday November 18
TIFF | 6:30PM
Introducing a screening of HUMORESQUE | Ticketed event - Get Tickets

 
TORONTO | Monday November 19
TIFF | 7:00PM
Screening of WAIT TILL THE SUN SHINES, NELLIE, conversation, and book signing | Ticketed event - Get Tickets