| Summary

Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness
First published as Empire: The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard Hughes

"Of all the books written about Howard Hughes, Empire is easily the best. . .the first fully documented cradle-to-grave account of a unique American life. This is the book Clifford Irving must wish he had written."— New York Times Sunday Book Review

"Donald Barlett and James Steele of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the finest team of reporters west of The Times of London, herewith present the perfect biography of the weirdest, most fascinating, most god-awful corporate creature you will ever encounter." – The Nation

". . .whatever you have wondered [about Howard Hughes] you'll most likely find the answer in this fat, beautifully researched book." – Chicago Sun-Times

"An intensely enthralling tale of one of the country's true eccentrics . . ." – Houston Post

"So compulsive about tiny details of its subject's life is Empire that Hughes himself, maybe the most fastidious man who ever lived, undoubtedly would have loved it. . .It is a book in which truth constantly outstrips fiction. Could Shakespeare or Cervantes have created a Howard Hughes?" – Denver Post

"(Empire) is both first-rate investigative reporting and excellent writing. I had never thought that we could have so detailed and clear a book on Hughes, so firmly based on a mass of factual evidence . . .[the authors] have indeed created a fresh factual image of Hughes and his empire which seems likely to stand the test of time." – Professor Frank Freidel, Charles Warren Professor of History at Harvard University

". . .a remarkable job of investigative reporting. The result is a ruthlessly probing, 687-page blockbuster biography that cracks Hughes's public persona as it disentangles the psychodrama of his private doings." – Publishers Weekly

"Most of Hughes's life has been depicted before, but never in such depth. There are chapters and episodes hitherto unrevealed to the public. This is an incredible book, so engrossing that one does not want to put it down. It does not seem possible that such a life could have existed — but it did." – Hollywood Reporter

"Empire is a penetrating, rigorously researched, and thorough biography. It is so thorough, in fact, that it's hard to think of the enigmatic Hughes as enigmatic after having read it." – Baltimore News American

"There is no contesting. . .the monumental product produced by Barlett and Steele. Despite a wealth of material at hand, the authors had to contend with a man whose later life was secret to the world. After digesting their work, it is easy to see why this pair has been awarded Pulitzer Prizes. Barlett and Steele know how to write." – Buffalo Courier Express

"The only human being in our epoch who has been able to equal Jackie O in ink and air time was Howard Hughes. . .The stories never cease and doubtless never will, but for those who would like to know which are the true ones there is this remarkably researched biography by Barlett and Steele. . .Read this book and you will understand how grave Roman senators made respectful way for the Emperor Caligula's horse on the occasion of his introduction to membership in their august order. Fear or greed — I can buy any man in the world or destroy him — procured infinite men for infinite wicked chores." – New York Review of Books

"A marvelous, lawyerlike job of ferreting out the facts about a man who opted to shroud himself in secrecy in the latter part of his life." – Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A very powerful, very incisive story of a man, but in a way, perhaps, a story of our society at a certain time. . .It's a remarkable biography." – Studs Terkel

"For the first time, we get a look at something resembling the complete Howard Hughes. . .In real life, Hughes was a difficult man to like and an impossible one to know. In all my years of watching him, I never had any sense that I knew him. Perhaps the most relevant thing that I can say about the book is that when I had finished it, I felt, at least to some degree, I had come to know Howard Hughes, human being, as well as Howard Hughes, nutty billionaire. While Hughes was not an eminently admirable man, I must say it: After all these years, it was good, Howard, to get to know you." – Chicago Tribune

"(The authors) have succeeded in producing a disturbing and fascinating piece of scholarship, stripping off layer after layer of the sub-strata of American society to give us horrifying glimpses of the darkness below. . .Their book will shock and amaze and is more compulsively readable than half a dozen best sellers." – London Evening News

"(Empire) is a smoothly written and uniquely well documented story of a billionaire well insulated from the truth. . .The authors give the book the full benefit of their formidable investigative powers and their strictly objective look at a man whose life had aspects of both high comedy and self-induced tragedy. It is a book that will be around for a long, long time." – Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"One comes away with admiration for the man and a sense of wonder at the authors for having achieved such exemplary scholarship. The literati may dismiss the book because of its subject, but the authors have set a standard on how an historic profile should be done. There is so much here that one wonders how the information was achieved and how it could all get packed into 25 chapters. That is astonishing. We get to know the man better than he knew himself." – West Coast Review of Books

"Readers won't be able to put it down once they start it, and will not forget this story of one of the century's most remarkable figures." – Raleigh News and Observer

"A brilliant biography. . .An enthralling book." – Seattle Times

"(Empire) covers the full range of emotions. . .happy episodes, funny episodes, frightening episodes and very serious moments as well, but mostly it is a sad portrait of a powerful man out of control." – Richmond Times-Dispatch

"An extraordinary story that future generations will find hard to believe. . .This is by far the soundest, fairest, and fullest book we have on the bizarre billionaires who commanded the fortunes of Croesus yet could not command himself. It is the story of a man who had everything — and nothing." – John Barkham Reviews

"This well researched and readable book is as much a pop history of 20th century North America as it is biography, a fast-paced tracing of Hughes's career and society's adulation through the twin worlds of seeming and being in which he operated." – Macleans (Canada)

"It remained for Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steete. . .to weave the intricate details of the Hughes epic into a meaningful tapestry. . .Writing with sensitive perception in a precise, crackling style, they present a graphic portrait of a brooding, compulsive, emotionally complex individual, which should dispel forever the simplistic public image of Hughes as a carefree globetrotting aviator, a fun-loving film producer pursuing and pursued by Hollywood's leading ladies, and a somewhat eccentric but vastly successful businessman. . .This thick volume is a fascinating biography, teeming with the movers and shakers of our century. It makes a compelling assessment of an essentially tragic figure." – Barron's

"The definitive opus on one of 20th century America's most peculiar ducks, Howard Hughes." – Miami Herald

"In this riveting biography of this perpetual role player in search of a character he could live with, all of the personal contradictions are somehow brought into focus." – Los Angeles Magazine