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Hope: Entertainer of the Century Hardcover – November 4, 2014
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“Terrific—scrupulously researched, likely definitive, and as entertaining and as important (to an understanding of 20th- and 21st-century pop culture) as its subject once genuinely was.” (Vanity Fair)
“A Bob Hope bio even millennials can love…As Zoglin vividly demonstrates here, Hope, who died in 2003, was a groundbreaker—a song-and-dance man who was also one of the inventors of stand-up comedy. Hope took great humanity, spectacular delivery and ordinary material and somehow transformed himself into one of the best-loved cultural icons of the age. Whether or not you’ve heard of him, this insightful bio is worth a read.” (People)
"A wonderful biography by Richard Zoglin. For me it's a feast." (Woody Allen)
“Richard Zoglin’s biography Hope does such an effective job of arguing the appeal that even the Hope-hater comes away eager to see more of his good early work, and more sympathetic to the forces in his life and in the country’s which left him hard to like at the end.” (Adam Gopnik New Yorker)
“Bob Hope was an entertainment colossus, shrewd and influential well beyond show business. Richard Zoglin’s biography captures it all—the public and private Hope.” (Tom Brokaw)
"Richard Zoglin's fascinating biography is as close as we're ever going to get to one of the most opaque human beings ever to become justifiably world-famous. Bob Hope lived so long that it's easy to forget how original he was, not to mention brilliantly funny and attractive. It's all here: the women, the politics, the amazing career, the selfless devotion to American soldiers, the unexpected empathy, and, thank God, the laughter." (Scott Eyman, author of John Wayne)
“This beautifully written volume is, at last, the book about Bob Hope. Zoglin covers everything: the early life, the sky-rocketing triumphs in every medium, the life-risking—and ego-feeding—patriotism that spanned the globe, bringing laughter (and gorgeous ladies) to our troops in wartime, the wealth, the women, the quirks, the warts, the temper, the cheapness, the touching generosity, the fabulous talent and the genius-managed career." (Dick Cavett)
“An entertaining and important book.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“Important…Zoglin has put together a fair-minded book about Hope as an entertainer and as a person, and tells a far more compelling story than can be found in some tossed-off snark. Don’t just ask your grandparents. Read Zoglin.” (Akron Beacon-Journal)
“A thorough, evenhanded and absorbing portrait.” (Associated Press)
“Bob Hope lived to be 100. And even in death he has retained a kind of ubiquity. Let Richard Zoglin draw it for you in the introduction to what is one of the necessary American books – the definitive biography of one of the holy monsters of American show business.” (Buffalo News)
“[Zoglin] does a superb job in fetching all the mostly-forgotten versions of Hope and soberly parading them past us without too much hyperbole…. a good guide to the century of Bob Hope.” (Boston Globe)
"A definitive biography of this legendary performer has long been overdue, an undertaking Time magazine theater critic Zoglin completes here with great attention to detail and commendable skill. . . . Not just for Hope fans, Zoglin’s work will also appeal to readers interested in the colorful history of American entertainment, in which Hope played a prominent role." (Carl Hays Booklist)
“The definitive biography of the legendary comedian…In this rich and entertaining work, Zoglin pulls no punches but also remains an astonished admirer.” (Kirkus (starred review))
“A crackerjack biography.” (Goldderby.com)
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Top Customer Reviews
For my part, I wasn't particularly surprised by many of the revelations contained is this book. If a sailor was entitled to a girl in every port, Hope had many girl friends through the decades while still remaining married to his publicly acknowledged wife Dolores.
What this book will also tell you about is Hope's business savvy and how he became quite wealthy through real estate investments. Family life, career moves, his relationship with Bing Crosby, and his many missions to entertain the troops are also covered. Also a very early short lived marriage to a vaudeville partner go with the territory.
The probably most interesting aspect of this book remains for me the research that delved into BH's family background and his life before and after the family came to America. The author used genealogical records and family recollections to reconstruct the problems the Hope family encountered stateside due to his father's chronic drinking. It also portrayed Hope's mother Avis Towne as a stoic and resourceful woman who managed to keep the family going under difficult circumstances. Avis, for what it is worth, could have been the subject of a book. Curiously, public record or the lack of it even results in some confusion as to whether Hope was ever legally wed to wife Dolores.
This book is so wide sweeping and interesting that it was difficult to put down.Read more ›
To cut to the chase: I think Zioglin's book will probably stand as THE definitive biography of Bob Hope. A door-stopper of a book at 565 pages, it's exhaustively researched, thorough yet entertaining, critical yet affectionate. Hope's achievements in entertainment and society, which were truly epic, are recounted in full. Hope was a success in vaudeville, Broadway, radio, movies, TV, personal appearances, etc. During World War II, it's fair to say he was THE face of Hollywood entertainment, circling the globe, giving endless shows to troops. Hope hobnobbed with the world leaders throughout five decades. An astute businessman, he was filthy rich when he died in 2003. Yet, as revealed in Zoglin's book, all this came at a cost to his private life, his family and friends. Show biz was his mistress and, for good and bad, that shaped his life and times.Read more ›
Hope, a biography of Bob Hope is both affectionate and clear-eyed. Mr. Zoglin, theater critic for TIME is an authority on the history and development of American stand-up comics, so it was natural for him to take on the story of the man who he names in the subtitle " Entertainer of the Century."
Bob Hope covered everything in show biz, starting with vaudeville and on to Broadway stardom; he had the most popular radio show for years and segued to TV. He was a leading box-office star in movies for a number of years overlapping his TV years as number one. Only after 50 years on top did his charming antics and joking patter begin to pall, outlasting many of the luminaries of entertainment.
Mr. Zoglin covers it all. He describes Hope's tough early years as he clawed his way out of the depths of dingy music halls in the sticks. It is all here: the women ( many, even during his lasting marriage to Dolores), his wealth ( considerable, but kept quiet), his loyal friendships and his difficult relationship with Bing Crosby, his co-star in the famous Road pictures ( despite the on-cue pals-forever warmth, the association never continued offstage into true friendship.)
The reader will get a picture of Bob Hope who gave freely of himself as Bob Hope, the entertainer, but kept Bob Hope, the inner man behind the public persona he created. He became the Star of his own life story. The wise-cracking conniver, who financially aided friends and relations, but made sure he got freebies of anything from cars to coffee. The on screen leering wolf stuttering when it looked like the object of his advances turned warm, but who in real life was a serial philanderer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very good read. I learned a lot about the real Bob Hope. Well written and informative.Published 1 day ago by Bryan
I would never have thought Bob Hope to be the worthy subject of an in depth biography, but Richard Zoglin’s book happily proves me wrong. Read morePublished 19 days ago by F. C. Schaefer
It was a good read I got a lot of information that I didn't know about Bob Hope.Published 1 month ago by Francis S.
Very interesting story, but it could have been said with much fewer words and less detail.Published 1 month ago by Patti Ahlstrom
The book covered a lot about things he did, but most of these topics were public record. Not a lot of insight into he really was other than a workaholic and an extraordinary amount... Read morePublished 1 month ago by JFB