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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)
About the Author
Richard Zoglin is a contributing editor and theater critic for Time magazine. His book Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-up in the 1970s Changed America is considered the definitive history of that seminal era in stand-up comedy. Zoglin is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, and currently lives in New York City.
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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. The story of Hope's life, as covered by Hope's biographer, is presented in a multi-faceted way that covers so much ground and is so revealing that it has wide based appeal to anyone who remembers BH and his very long career. Bright, witty, well-researched, and terribly engaging are all attributes that describe this book.
He was quite generous with friends, family (brothers), and co-workers yet wouldn't help out his own children when they needed financial help. He could be warm and gregarious with strangers yet cold and aloof with his own children. Although she was 'Mrs. Bob Hope', what kind of career could she have had if he hadn't taken away the spot light from her at the USO tours. Very self-centered man who always had to have the spotlight on one person "Bob Hope".
I applaud Mr. Hope for all the years he spent on the road touring the military bases and putting on Christmas shows. It takes real dedication to do something like that year after year. Of course getting a nice hefty fee didn't hurt either.
Most recent customer reviews
It was interesting reading about his life.
Would suggest this book if you enjoyed Bob Hope's work.