Hope: Entertainer of the Century

S. & S. Nov. 2014. 384p. photos. filmog. notes. index. ISBN 9781439140277. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781439148587. FILM
Bob Hope (1903–2003) was interested in himself and his career, and not much else. He wasn't intellectually curious. He didn't care about causes that didn't affect him personally. He wasn't interested in other people. Except…that's not entirely true. He wrote long, personal, detail-filled letters to his fans. He always remembered a face. He traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the world visiting U.S. servicemen and -women. Hope's career spanned the whole of the 20th century, and for that reason alone an in-depth look at his life and career is long overdue. Zoglin (Comedy at the Edge) addresses the complexities that defined both Hope and the entertainment industry of his era in what should be the definitive biography of the comedian. Zoglin takes a subject who, outwardly at least, seems flat and easily defined and slowly peels back the layers of decades and the protective wrappings of celebrity to reveal an entertainment pioneer who has been vastly underappreciated.
VERDICT This volume will be of interest to film and television scholars, comedy historians, United Service Organization buffs, and the general reading public looking for a well-written and entertaining account of one of the most famous celebrities of the last century.

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