Tuesday, August 30, 2016

West of Eden by Jean Stein

  • THE BOOK
    • West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein
    • Published February 9, 2016
    • Other works by author include Edie: An American Girl (about Andy Warhol's protege) and American Journey: The Times of Robert Kennedy (with George Plimpton)

  • THE PREMISE
    • An oral history of Hollywood/Los Angeles that features the stories of five people: Edward Doheny, oil tycoon; Jack Warner, movie tycoon; Jane Garland, the mentally ill daughter of a Malibu real estate tycoon; Jennifer Jones, Oscar winning actress and second wife of David O. Selznick, movie-producing tycoon; and the author's father, Jules Stein, founder of MCA (Music Corporation of America), ophthalmologist turned music tycoon.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I'm not a big fan of oral histories. The stories tend to contradict and you are only getting edited fragments of interviews doled out at the author's discretion. Thus the "author" is actually the interviewer with the exception of her comments about her own father.
    • If you have any interest in these particular five people and their families it would be easy to read the section that interests you without delving into the rest. It's more a glancing overview, not an in-depth look at any one subject. 
      • I recommend the library if you only wish to read about one person.
    • Recommended for readers who like stories about old Hollywood or tales of Malibu life.

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