Lew Wasserman to become treasurer of the company. This all lead to the creation of MCA-Universal mostly to the credit of Lew Wasserman that movie usher who met the right person at the right time. As to organization the book could have been helped by introducing or adding information between the various witness quotes so the reader could follow along more and get some perspective as to each quotes perspective.
The list of contributors at the back of the book should be in front of the book, or better yet at the start of each section. So bottom line there is some gossip and interesting history to be found between these pages but it sure needs more editing and organization to make it reader friendly. I finished it but could have easily have skipped it. Mar 10, Tosh rated it really liked it. Hollywood will always be a mystical land that has a tinge of sadness and even worse, tragedy. Not for me, mind you. I lived in Los Angeles for my entire life, and I only know the joy of being in this city.
But then again, I'm one of those rare breeds who was born in Los Angeles, and stayed here as well. On top of that, I'm not in the entertainment business! But here, we have the roots of what became a certain type of Los Angeles culture. Painfully rich, the five families that are profiled in "We Hollywood will always be a mystical land that has a tinge of sadness and even worse, tragedy.
Painfully rich, the five families that are profiled in "West of Eden," are mostly iconic families and some at least to me obscure. It may be my nature but I find the obscure always the most interesting. Jean Stein, who is very much the queen of the oral history narrative, due to her early masterpiece with George Plimpton "Edie" has put together a book that is much more personal or in reality, her backyard. What is interesting about Garland, is that she was not only a rich girl from a Hollywood family, but also quite insane. What is even more insane was that she had a pair of male nurses: Walter Hopps and Ed Moses.
Hopps was the legendary curator and gallery owner of Ferus, and Moses is a great painter. Both, are very much rooted in the art world history that is Los Angeles. How these two eccentrics became a caretaker for Garland is both a fascinating tale, and an amazing map from fine art to the world of films. Each chapter on each family has a sense of sadness, and the reader is introduced to a world that although rich, is actually a landscape touched by insecurity, madness, eccentricity, and to me, a perfect example of either an era passing or the death of a family's power and presence.
Those who are fascinated by the works of Truman Capote or F. Scott Fitzgerald, will find this book fascinating. There is a fascination of watching the wealthy turn into dust - but there is also a beauty of that era, that won't be the same anymore. There will always be the rich, but due to the American promise of riches and happiness - it is usually a bargain that fails in the end. You get the wealth, but the happiness tends to unreachable.
View all 4 comments. Mar 01, Suzanne rated it liked it Shelves: l-a , history , bio. Somewhere between a 2. Mostly it was very gossipy, with some interesting tidbits, but unremarkable overall. I would recommend this only for those looking for very light entertainment or with an interest in minutiae about the lives of these particular five people and their inner circles. There was some discussion of the political and business climate during the lives of the subjects and how these events impacted their lives, such as the Tea Pot Dome Scandal, the House Un-American Activities Committee and Hollywood blacklisting, gangsters and the mob-controlled businesses in Chicago, and the appallingly lax ethics of some psychoanalysts.
But primarily it was about the personalities. Rich people are nuts. Feb 07, Book rated it it was amazing Shelves: english , history , biography , faction. Jean Stein knows what she is talking about — being daughter to Jules Stein who invested his money in MCA, making it the most important address when it comes to talent agencies.
She knew lots of stars before they even become one, while they were just one of the many faces in search of glory. Therefore, Jean Stein with full right and authority delivers in front of readers the real history behind Hollywood, more or less structured around some of the families that ruled Hollywood - the Dohenys, the S Jean Stein knows what she is talking about — being daughter to Jules Stein who invested his money in MCA, making it the most important address when it comes to talent agencies.
Therefore, Jean Stein with full right and authority delivers in front of readers the real history behind Hollywood, more or less structured around some of the families that ruled Hollywood - the Dohenys, the Selznicks, the Warners, and, of course, her own family.
It smelled stale and old like a living room that had been closed too long. So, her intelligently written book will be a real treat for all fans of the movies, American history and show business. View 1 comment. May 27, GoldGato rated it liked it Shelves: summer , library-checkout , non-fiction , biography , history , celebrity , california.
Los Angeles and its surrounding environs were 'made' by certain dynasties, who ruled via oil and entertainment. Here, we learn of five families and their history and impact upon La-La Land.
It's an interesting perspective told by acquaintances of Jean Stein, who was herself a child of one of these families. However, he over-rea Los Angeles and its surrounding environs were 'made' by certain dynasties, who ruled via oil and entertainment. However, he over-reached with the Teapot Dome scandal and then lived long enough to see his only son, already mentally unhinged, die in a murder-suicide killing at their legendary Greystone Mansion.
The sins of the fathers He had developed the Midas touch. Gold flowed out of the grounds at his command.
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The youngest was Jack Warner, a nasty dude who did everything to ensure he always came out on top, knocking over everything in this path including his own family. The point that Nathanael West made, of course, is that the masses ultimately want to kill and devour, to cannibalize their celebrity gods. Raised as a SoCal princess, she spends her days locked up in mental institutions, all the while trying to seduce her way to freedom.
This was a very disturbing chapter, as she was basically the forerunner of the many Mermaid Princesses who now inundate Hollywood. The weird part is the tourists would get out and, surrounded by misery, gasp, "Ava Gardner's footprints! Victor McLaglen, I remember him! Another nutbucket, a fragile star who would change her outfits so many times during the day that she confused her own household. She tried to take her own life and then lived to see her own daughter accomplish the same deed.
Whacked lives. Here is money, power, and aloofness. Jean Stein, the author, would grow up a Hollywood Princess only to take her own life just a year after this book was published. You get the theme It's all very interesting and I finished it fairly quickly.
BUT, it is told via remembrances by other people. I became confused as to who was who, although they all sound as though people should know them. The modest and simple life for me, thank you. Mar 03, judy rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , history. Never before have I reached the middle of a non-fiction book and thought "Why am I reding this"?
I kept on anyway which is my bad. I wasted time that I could have spent reading something more to my taste. I love Stein's method of telling a story.
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I loved "Edie". This book however seemed more like it would suit a specialized audience--one that would love every word. Theoretically this book is about 5 rich, successful families that built early Hollywood.
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As an East Coaster, I rarely recognized the Never before have I reached the middle of a non-fiction book and thought "Why am I reding this"? As an East Coaster, I rarely recognized the names. I also didn't find the stories that interesting since most centered on selfish, eccentric and seriously mentally ill people.
West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein review – snakes in the Hollywood hills
Don't worry--this was the hey day of therapy. Some people even went 5 days a week for years. For younger people I am not , you may feel adrift because even the names you recognize are pictured probably long before you were born.