The Last Mogul Lew Wasserman McA and the Hidden History of

  • Paperback
  • 600 pages
  • The Last Mogul Lew Wasserman McA and the Hidden History of Hollywood
  • Dennis McDougal
  • English
  • 15 August 2014
  • 9780306810503

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The Last Mogul Lew Wasserman McA and the Hidden History of HollywoodThis is long and sometimes slow but a valuable lesson about old Hollywood and how the biggest wheeler dealer of them all The reviewer of the Boston Globe said point blank Over the years I've read hundreds of books on Hollywood and the movie business and this one is right at the top As the elusive tyrannical head of the Music Corporation of America MCA until the 1990s Lew Wasserman was the most powerful and feared man in show business for than half a century His career spanned the entire history of the movies from the silent era to the present and he was guru to Alfred Hitchcock Marilyn Monroe Marlon Brando and Jimmy Stewart and to a new generation of filmmakers beginning with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas For than four years Dennis McDougal interviewed over 350 people who knew the man with the giant dark horn rimmed glasses colleagues relatives rivals and drew on tens of thousands of pages of documents to produce this extraordinary and first ever portrait of a legend and his times a book that the New York Times Book Review called thoroughly reported and engrossing and that the Daily News called simply a bombshell If you are in the entertainment industry or have even a passing interest in it read this bookIt has its flaws For example with all of its footnotes and extensive citations there are assertions made about situations the author would have no firsthand knowledge of yet are not supported with references There is one episode about Marilyn Monroe in particular that would have so much power if there were a citationThere is also a bit of a knowing insider tone that presumes the reader knows certain historical events or milestones that no lay person would have reason to know In what is ultimately a non academic pop history book these should be fatal flaws exceptThe story the book tells how it tells it and the people whose voices are included make the good far outweigh any bad There simply won't be another general interest book covering this period or point of view I am not aware of a revised edition but there is easily room for one as the main subject was still living when the book was published and the business he left behind went through a convulsive period in the years following publicationRead this book This was good with a lot of information The author made a big deal of how hard it is to get to know Lew Wasserman and really see what made him tick and it seems like rule worked for this book too On the other hand a lot of time biographers think they know what makes their subjects tick and it gets subjective I would give this book an OK Some of the steamier stuff might be exaggerated or taken out of context or from anecdotal accounts The author rags on Hitchcok's last movies and as I have ranted elsewhere I don't think that's fair or right If you are a Hitchcock person consider this fair warning The Last Mogul is an exhaustive history of MCA and the evolution of Lew Wasserman from band booker to agent to studio head to entertainment mogul The book gave a detailed accounting of the evolution of business in Hollywood from the 1930's through 1990's; this is both the book's greatest asset and it's greatest detractor The book takes freuent tangents to explain the deal making behind this star's contract or that bit of labor negotiation The result is a comprehensive history but also a thick tiring slowly paced book All that said for those who want to know the history of Hollywood this is the best account I've read yet An interesting look at the formation of agencies and the gestation of different entertainment mediums focusing on Wasserman who ruled Hollywood for years including a look at Reagan and his connections to MCA However 600 pages about Hollywood was about 350 than I could handle Highly recommend for anyone working or interested in the media industry I love any book that pulls back the curtain on the rich and powerful A great read for anyone who enjoys a glimpse into the entertainment business of old Decent book but an example of how journalist started putting themselves into subjects Of course now you find few that don't do that