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Discover Old Hollywood With These 11 Fascinating Books

There’s a lot that’s changed, and a lot that’s stayed the same. Find out brilliant stories of our show industry’s epicenter!

Hollywood is more than just a town on a hill. It’s an image, it’s a great crowd of people, and it’s culture.
Although the name remains the same, Hollywood used to be almost unrecognisable. From silent stars to how the Great Depression and WWII affected the production of movies, you’ll be taken on a magical tour of what’s often considered the best film industry ever to have existed.

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#1 Silent Stars by Jeanine Basinger

Silent Stars by Jeanine Basinger
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Sam Williamson from Streaming Movies Right.

Silent Stars by Jeanine Basinger is a great book which details the lives and habits of lesser known silent stars from old Hollwood. Not only is the book really fascinating, it’s a real page turner as often the lives of these stars were incredibly interesting. This book gave me a real appreciation for the talents of these early silent stars, and an admiration for how much they could achieve with so little.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#2 City of Nets by Otto Friedrich

City of Nets by Otto Friedrich
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Ethan Lichtenberg from AutoInsuranceCompanies.

In the 1930s Hollywood was outstanding. 530 movies were produced in a single year and the actors and producers were paid handsomely. With the onset of the 1940s, Otto Friedrich takes the stance that Hollywood had its downfall. This beautiful work is a story of the decline of Hollywood in the 1940s.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#3 The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Ethan Lichtenberg from AutoInsuranceCompanies.

This 1939 novel is set in Hollywood during the Great Depression. It is a wonderful book about the factual history and the individuals it took a toll on. West explores the movie-making world and how desperate they became during the Great Depression.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#4 The Genius of the System by Thomas Schatz

The Genius of the System by Thomas Schatz
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Ethan Lichtenberg from AutoInsuranceCompanies.

In order to know how old Hollywood truly was, you should know the history. Thomas Shatz recount of the period of time where Hollywood was at its peak is fantastic. From the beginning in the 1920s to the efficient film-makers of the 1940s, this novel is full of knowledge and facts.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#5 Three Stages by Ben Bryant

Three Stages by Ben Bryant
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Ben Bryant from Entertainment Books by Ben.

A Hollywood Memoir recounting the career of a working actor from 1957 through 1972 with tales of the famous from Alfred Hitchcock, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, John Cassavetes, Jerry Orbach, Charles Bronson, Chris Walken, Jack Webb, Frank Zappa and many, many more.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#6 Hollywood: Her Story by Jill Tietjen and Barbara Bridges

Hollywood by Jill Tietjen
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Jill Tietjen from Hollywood: Her Story.

HOLLYWOOD: HER STORY is a lavishly-illustrated documentation of women involved in every facet of the movie business since its inception.

The year was 1896, the woman was Alice Guy-Blaché, and the film was The Cabbage Fairy. It was less than a minute long. Guy-Blaché, the first female director, made hundreds of movies during her career.

Thousands of women with passion and commitment to storytelling followed in her footsteps. Working in all aspects of the movie industry, they collaborated with others to create memorable images on the screen. This book pays tribute to the spirit, ambition, grit and talent of these filmmakers and artists.

Women were more active in the silent film era than at any point since. These actresses, directors, screenwriters, producers, editors and on and on who worked their magic in the movie business are captured through stunning photographs.

Perfect for anyone who enjoys the movies, this photo-treasury of women and film is not to be missed.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#7 Harlow In Hollywood by Darrell Rooney

Harlow In Hollywood by Darrell Rooney
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Stefanie Lesser from Hope & Love Radio.

A story of how Hollywood shaped a myth and determined a young girls life. Its a story of glamour, pleasure as well as sorrow. A biography of Jean Harlow, the first sex symbol known as The Platinum Blonde. She essentially created anew genre resulting from her peerless image. A must read for every film bluff, book collector and Harlow fan.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#8 Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays: 1920-1970 By Karie Bible and Mary Mallory

Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays: 1920-1970 By Karie Bible
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by S. Snyder.

Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays: 1920-1970 is a wonderful read for film fans, lovers of Old Hollywood and stunning photography, and anyone seeking to learn more about Hollywood’s history and stars of yesteryear. Spanning several decades and including a dazzling array of over two-hundred themed portraits of Hollywood stars commemorating the various holidays, this unique coffee table book also provides an introductory overview of the numerous stars—both iconic favorites and lesser-known gems—featured. It makes a lovely gift for the holidays or any time of year.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#9 Terry O’Neil: Rare & Unseen

Terry O'Neil: Rare & Unseen
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by ACC Art Books.

Terry O’Neill, one of the most iconic photographers, with work displayed and exhibited at first-class museums and fine-art galleries worldwide has captured Hollywood stars over several decades. His iconic images of Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Brigitte Bardot, Faye Dunaway, and David Bowie – to name but a few – are instantly recognizable across the globe. Now, for the first time, O’Neill has selected a range of images from his extensive archive of vintage prints, which will surprise and delight collectors and photography lovers alike.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#10 Always Audrey by Iconic Images

Always Audrey by Iconic Images
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by ACC Art Books.

Always Audrey features many rare and unseen photos of Audrey Hepburn on and off stage with images from the archives of six top photographers: Norman Parkinson, Milton H. Greene, Douglas Kirkland, Lawrence Fried, Terry O’Neill and Eva Sereny. Throughout the book, Douglas Kirkland, Terry O’Neill and Eva Sereny share their memories of working with the icon.

They present a wonderful mix of on-set, fashion, portrait and behind-the-scenes photographs, including contact sheets and never-before-seen images. With an introduction by Terence Pepper and a foreword by Patricia Bosworth, Always Audrey is sure to delight any Hepburn fan.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#11 Hollywood Dogs by Gareth Abbott

Hollywood Dogs by Gareth Abbott
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by ACC Art Books.

Hollywood Dogs showcases a fine selection of photographs from the famous John Kobal Foundation. Taken between 1920 and 1960 during the Golden Age of Hollywood, they feature stars including Humphrey Bogart, Buster Keaton, Elvis Presley, Tony Curtis, Sophia Lauren, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Ava Gardner, Shirley Maclaine, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn posing with dogs of every stature and breed.

In almost every case, these stunning photographs have never been seen before now. Amongst the images are some of the most famous dogs in Hollywood films: Lassie; Asta; Rin Tin Tin and Toto from the Wizard of Oz. There are also a few carefully-set-up publicity shots, such as Frank Sinatra on the set of Pal Joey, and Jean Harlow accessorized with a large hat and two Old English sheepdogs.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Contributors to this article
Sam Williamson from Streaming Movies Right

Ethan Lichtenberg from AutoInsuranceCompanies

Ben Bryant from Entertainment Books by Ben

Jill Tietjen from Hollywood: Her Story

Stefanie Lesser from Hope & Love Radio

ACC Art Books

Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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