Monday, April 28, 2014

The Hiltons by J. Randy Taraborrelli

Paris Hilton doesn't show up in THE HILTONS: The True Story of an American Dynasty until the 16th and final CD. The great granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, Paris has a very insignificant role in the rich history of the hotel magnate, whose early career in Texas started when he purchased his first hotel on borrowed money. A devout Catholic, Conrad counted Zsa Zsa Gabor as one of his failed marriages, while his son Nicky married Elizabeth Taylor with tragic results. The bitter fights over Conrad's will form part of the narrative, as Barron contests the handling of increased value of shares (Conrad was stingy when it came to his heirs, expecting them to make it largely on their own, and left most of his money to charity.) How Conrad amassed such wealth is examined, particularly his philosophy of use of space, quality and taste, and honesty in business dealings. Barron's initial denial of a hotel license in Atlantic City (due to an associate's ties) forms another section, culminating in the purchase by Donald Trump. Trump's involvement may have led to his sponsoring of Paris later in modeling. Read by the engaging Robert Petkoff, the audiobook tells a multi-generation spanning story with fascinating insights into the times from the eyes of the privileged, showing that one must use what they have to succeed or they will fail on their own…although it helps to have a name to dazzle those who believe it's mostly "luck." Author J. Randy Taraborrelli is author of bios of Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedy women, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, and Michael Jackson. 

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