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Comment: Front cover is curled and there is a name on the title page. Good binding, and no other markings found. {t27}
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Laid Bare: A Memoir of Wrecked Lives and the Hollywood Death Trip Paperback – August 28, 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A powerful chronicler of the American Nightmare through his gripping examinations of near-mythic Southern California murders (the Black Dahlia, Tate-La Bianca), John Gilmore now draws upon his personal experiences to turn his sights on our morbid obsession with Celebrity and the ruinous price it extracts from those who would pursue it. With caustic clarity and 20/20 hindsight, Gilmore unstintingly recounts his relationships with the likes of Janis Joplin, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Jane Fonda, Jean Seberg and Lenny Bruce on the way up and at the peaks of their notoriety. In baring his role in James Dean's attempts to push the bounds of sexual experimentation, Gilmore explores the actor's legendary fascination with speed and death. With hip, vivid prose, Gilmore describes his illuminating and often haunting first-hand encounters with Hank Williams, Ed Wood, Jr., Briggite Bardot, Sal Mineo, Eartha Kitt, Charles Manson, Jayne Mansfield, Vampira, Steve McQueen and many other denizens of the 20th century's dubious Pantheon.

About the Author

Acclaimed internationally for his literary fiction, his hard-boiled true crime books and Hollywood memoirs, John Gilmore has a following that spans the globe from London to Tokyo, from Hong Kong to Hollywood. "John Gilmore is the quintessential L.A. noir writer..." Sydney Morning Herald.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Amok Books; 1st edition (August 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878923080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878923080
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've read this book twice and each time I feel like I'm entering a time warp. I'm being transported back into the 1950's, the 1960's. I lived in Los Angeles during those years and this has captured every naunce that is LA in all its dubious glory. John Gilmore has seen the shadows and the spotlights as well. The book takes you all over, from Hollywood to New York, Paris, even Cairo, Egypt. I especially was drawn into Gilmore's relationship with the late actress Jean Seberg, who I always admired. He shows her as she has never been shown. At times this book is very strange, and very engrossing (see Janis Joplin, Jane Fonda, Brigitte Bardot... Gilmore has 'kissed' them all and gives us the dish). A tale of remarkable originality. Super highly recommened, and I can hardly wait for his next tome.
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Format: Paperback
The story in this book defies credibility. What are the odds that one person could get to hang with Errol Flynn, Dennis Hopper, and Sal Mineo, get drunk with Hank Williams and high with Lenny Bruce, talk about writing with Ed Wood, Jr., become cuckolded by Steve McQueen, have sex with Jane Fonda, Brigette Bardot, Janis Joplin,and James Dean AND be able to write like this?
Well, even if it isn't all true-- and I like to think it is, because there's very little here that's self-serving, and Gilmore rarely spares himself-- LAID BARE delivers much more than anyone has a right to expect from any one book. Reading it was like reading TROPIC OF CANCER for the first time, only the characters are Jack Nicholson, Roddy McDowell, James Dean, Jean Seberg, and so on. This is much more than Hollywood gossip. This is the human tragedy that we read gossip in order to infer, exposed completely by a master writer. Gilmore's prose is direct, honest, and muscular. His mastery of detail is astonishing, so much that the details might be a little too thick if this were a novel. However, when he writes about Janis Joplin-- her manner, her way of dressing, her scent-- the importance of his subject, the fact that she really did live, and the devestating fact that she is gone forever make every remebered detail precious, and Gilmore treats each of them with appropriate care.
So why isn't John Gilmore famous? From reading LAID BARE, I think the answer may be that he doesn't care about fame-- and that may be the reason why he survived so much insanity, to tell of so many who did not. I can't wait to read this book again, and to read anything by John Gilmore that I can get my hands on.
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Format: Paperback
Or should I say Slide Side! I have never read a book about the "bad" "slide" "dark" side of Hollywood that comes anywhere near close to the REAL flip-side picture of behind-the-camera Hollywood as this one. John Gilmore is a teriffic writer who takes us through this myriad of real-life characters whose names we all know as well as our box of corn flakes. He opens up the lives and heads he writes about and allows us to see what makes them tick, drink, shoot up, bed-hop, turn upside down and inside out and fall from Heaven or kill themselves. All this through Gilmore's personal experiences, living alongside these individuals, sharing some of their good times as well as the tragic and pitiful times; James Dean, Brigitte Bardot, William S. Burroughs, Jayne Mansfield, Jane Fonda, Steve McQueen, Lenny Bruce, Jim Morrison of the Doors, Jean Seberg, Sal Mineo--the list goes on; people Gilmore has worked with, known, slept with, done drugs with (Gilmore's good ex-friend Dennis Hopper appears in one of the most detailed, tragic portraits of a life on the Hollywood down side); Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, etc., etc. This is the Hollywood/New York Bright White Way 1950's 1960's Broadway scene told with relentless vision and insight. Not one of those books that promises dish but doesnt deliver. Gilmore DELIVERS and you get seconds on dessert! Anyone WAY out there who especially digs Janis Joplin is in for a treat! Read the book if only for getting into Janis. The author was on A&E and I have read interviews and he mentions an autobiography/memoir in the works; in other words, a bigger, fatter tale to beat the rose-colored glasses of our illusions. I can hardly wait and I'm no masochist! LAID BARE must surely rub a lot of people the wrong way or make them mad as hell.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
The author is either the unluckiest man in Hollywood or the most deluded. His story of self promotion is a rollercoaster ride through the fringes of the Hollywood scene during the late 50's and through into the 60's.

The author pulls no punches in taking on the likes of Dennis Hopper, Steve McQueen, Jane Fonda et al and blames them for everything from a bad haircut to world hunger.
He seems to have spent most of his time being ripped off by his friends, being cuckolded by his enemies or being pursued for sex by his superiors. In fact it's a suprise that this book actually made it into print and that it wasn't stolen out from under his pillow by some glory seeking fiend.
For example, although Hopper made one of the 60's seminal films (Easy Rider) Mr Gilmore gives him no credit as a director and instead blames Hopper and Peter Fonda for pinching his script.
Given the way he describes the likes of Hopper, Brando and Jane Fonda just to mention a few it is a wonder the author doesn't go out at all times armed with a running chainsaw, or at least a big dog.
A large part of the book involves attacking those whom the author believes were undermining his position of heir apparent to the legacy of James Dean. His relationship with Dean seems to define his existance and he guards it jealously. Aswell as stalking various film and music people, he lumbers himself on anyone who is an identity on the Hollywood scene.
He puts one in mind of a homeless dog, desperate for acceptance but with very little to offer.
Having said this, however, the book is a good read. Even though the author comes across as a snivelling weasel, his unfettered ego and good quality penmanship make the book highly entertaining.
Take it to the beach and revel in the story of a hasbeen masquerading as a almostwas who in reality never could.....
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