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Mr. Playboy

Cover of Mr. Playboy

Mr. Playboy

Hugh Hefner and the American Dream
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When Hugh Hefner quit his job at Esquire to start a magazine called Playboy, he didn’t just want to make money, he wanted to make dreams come true. The first issue had a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an article on the Dorsey brothers, and a feature on desk design for the modern office. Hefner wrote much of the copy himself and drew all the cartoons. But the most memorable part by far was the set of pictures he bought from a local calendar printer of a scantily clad Marilyn Monroe.

In this wise and penetrating biography, intellectual historian Steven Watts looks at what Hugh Hefner went on to become and how he took America with him. Hefner became one of the most hated and envied celebrities in America, standing just barely on the wrong side of decency — with as many as seven million subscribers to his magazine. 

When Hugh Hefner quit his job at Esquire to start a magazine called Playboy, he didn’t just want to make money, he wanted to make dreams come true. The first issue had a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an article on the Dorsey brothers, and a feature on desk design for the modern office. Hefner wrote much of the copy himself and drew all the cartoons. But the most memorable part by far was the set of pictures he bought from a local calendar printer of a scantily clad Marilyn Monroe.

In this wise and penetrating biography, intellectual historian Steven Watts looks at what Hugh Hefner went on to become and how he took America with him. Hefner became one of the most hated and envied celebrities in America, standing just barely on the wrong side of decency — with as many as seven million subscribers to his magazine. 

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About the Author-
  • STEVEN WATTS is professor of history at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is the author of The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century and The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Few have colored the cultural palette more than Hugh Hefner. The sexual titillation he introduced with PLAYBOY magazine in the fifties now permeates society. In fact, in a culture in which porn-on-demand is a rite of passage. Hef's innovations seem tame. But it wasn't always that way--from his Midwestern Quaker roots to his vast empire in Chicago--which made the whole concept of "lifestyle" a birthright to affluent and upwardly mobile young Americans--Hefner has always courted controversy. Steven Watts's biography presents a more complex personality lurking behind the pipe and smoking jacket, and Ray Porter's courtly manner suggests indignation, and near envy, over Hefner's excesses. The tension is well suited to the tangled web of contradictions that Hefner embodies. J.S.H. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
  • Kirkus Reviews "[A] nuanced portrait of Hefner's life that also serves as a panorama of hip culture from the 1950s onward...Probably the last word on the man behind a million adolescent fantasies."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.
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    Burn to CD: 
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    Transfer to device: 
    Permitted
    Transfer to Apple® device: 
    Permitted
    Public performance: 
    Not permitted
    File-sharing: 
    Not permitted
    Peer-to-peer usage: 
    Not permitted
    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Hugh Hefner and the American Dream
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