The Man Who Invented Sex
By Andrew Wilson
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781596910089, 320pp.)
Publication Date: September 18, 2007
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A sizzling, sexy biography of the blockbuster author whose life of excess was as racy as one of his own novels.
During his fifty-year career Harold Robbins, the godfather of the airport novel, sold approximately 750 million copies of his books worldwide. His seventh novel, The Carpetbaggers, a steamy tale of sex, greed, and corruption loosely based on the life of Howard Hughes, is the fourth most read book in history. As decadent as his fiction was, however, his life was just as profligate. Over the course of his five-decade career, Robbins spent money as quickly as he earned it, reportedly wasting away $50 million on everything from booze and drugs to yachts and prostitutes. Based on extensive interviews with family members and friends, including Larry Flynt and Barbara Eden, Harold Robbins examines the remarkable life of the man who gave birth to the cult of the modern bestseller and introduced sex to the American marketplace.
Andrew Wilson is the author of Beautiful Shadow, which won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Critical Biography. He lives in London.
“Meticulously researched...Wilson debunks the lies in between a thorough accounting of Robbins' career as novelist and Hollywood celebrity.” —Chicago Sun Times
“Besides answering nearly every question about its subject…[Harold Robbins is] also better written than an of Robbins's own behemoths…I doubt any future biography of Robbins will equal this one…Wilson is impressively…determined to uncover the reality behind Robbins's fabulations.” —New York Times Book Review
“[An] interesting book for anyone who wonders what set of circumstances produced Robbins and his wild imagination.” —Janet Maslin, New York Times
“Andrew Wilson's even-handed biography is both fascinating and deeply disturbing. Wilson illuminates the emotional bankruptcy of a self-made man who got everything he ever wanted -- but who died bitter and alienated. You don't have to remember or even to have read Robbins to relish this spooky bio. Wilson has written a cultural exploration of post-World War II America, when the country appeared to cast off the last shackles of Puritanism in order to embrace guilt-free hedonism—sex, drugs, money and pleasure.”—USA Today
“Reading this excellent biography, you can't help but think of ' The Great Gatsby, ' as though stacks of silk shirts or plates of lettuce with a lot of fish roe on it would be the ticket -- to what? -- to something bigger, stranger, wilder, weirder. ...Andrew Wilson has written perhaps a better biography of Robbins than Robbins deserved...a fascinating narrative.” —Washington Post
“The writer's life is almost as fantastic and riveting as his debauchery-driven plots.”—Columbus Dispatch
“A titillating portrait.”—Sacramento Bee
“A frank look at the not-always-likable man behind the blockbusters.”—Bookpage
“Today’s Hollywood movers and shakers think they know how to throw wild parties - but none of them can hold a candle to best-selling author Harold Robbins.”—New York Post
“[A] lot of juicy stuff.” —Chicago Sun Times