Joseph P. Kennedy reigned in Hollywood from 1926 to 1930, when he ran three movie studios, led the revolution in sound pictures, and created the first modern entertainment empire. Sorting through the archives of Kennedy deals, letters, and memos, Cari Beauchamp tells for the first time how he made it all happen, a miracle of smoke and mirrors that resulted in a gambit never seen before or since: the merger with RCA that resulted in RKO Studios. Beauchamp writes about the pictures Kennedy produced; the stars he made and ruined (including his lover, Gloria Swanson); and the Hollywood titans he charmed, cajoled, and battled, including William Randolph Hearst, in this fascinating tale of greed and business genius that shows how Kennedy not only made a fortune but changed the very nature of the business of moviemaking.
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"Pam Ward has a lot to carry as narrator of this detailed biography. Overall, she does well at keeping the listener engaged with the life of Joseph P. Kennedy, father of the Kennedy dynasty, during his Hollywood career in the 1920s. However, her vocal projections when quoting different people within the book, especially Kennedy himself, are inconsistent and often confuse the listener. Nonetheless, her attention to the narrative and expository elements helps listeners get through Beauchamp's meticulous research. While the arrangement of information works, sometimes Beauchamp's litany of facts is difficult for listeners to process. Happily, Ward significantly helps with well-placed emphasis throughout these long stretches. L.E. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine"