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The Best Books About Classic & Old Hollywood

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“What are the best books about Old Hollywood?” We looked at 183 of the top books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 23 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Old Hollywood” book lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 150+ books, as well as the lists we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 23 Books About Classic Hollywood



23 .) A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott

Lists It Appears On:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Goodreads 2

“When Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana, for Hollywood, she never imagines she’ll cross paths with Carole Lombard, the dazzling actress fromJulie’s provincial Midwestern hometown. The young woman has dreams of becoming a screenwriter, but the only job Julie’s able to find is one in the studio publicity office of the notoriously demanding producer David O. Selznick, who is busy burning through directors, writers, and money as he films Gone with the Wind.
Although tensions run high on the set, Julie finds she can step onto the back lot, take in the smell of smoky gunpowder and the soft rustle of hoop skirts, and feel the magical world of Gone with the Wind come to life. Julie’s access to real-life magic comes when Carole Lombard hires her as an assistant and invites her into the glamorous world Carole shares with Clark Gable, who is about to move into movie history as the dashing Rhett Butler.
Carole Lombard, happily profane and uninhibited, makes no secret of her relationship with Gable, which poses something of a problem for the studio because Gable is technically still married—and the last thing the film needs is more negative publicity. Julie is there to fend off the overly curious reporters, hoping to prevent details about the affair from slipping out. But she can barely keep up with her blond employer, let alone control what comes out of Carole’s mouth, and—as their friendship grows—Julie soon finds she doesn’t want to. Carole, both wise and funny, becomes Julie’s model for breaking free of the past.”

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22 .) All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Off The Shelf

“In this spectacular saga as radiant, thrilling, and beguiling as Hollywood itself, Adriana Trigiani takes us back to Tinsel Town’s golden age—an era as brutal as it was resplendent—and into the complex and glamorous world of a young actress hungry for fame and success. With meticulous, beautiful detail, Trigiani paints a rich, historical landscape of 1930s Los Angeles, where European and American artisans flocked to pursue the ultimate dream: to tell stories on the silver screen.

The movie business is booming in 1935 when twenty-one-year-old Loretta Young meets thirty-four-year-old Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. Though he’s already married, Gable falls for the stunning and vivacious young actress instantly.

Far from the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sister Alda Ducci has been forced to leave her convent and begin a new journey that leads her to Loretta. Becoming Miss Young’s secretary, the innocent and pious young Alda must navigate the wild terrain of Hollywood with fierce determination and a moral code that derives from her Italian roots. Over the course of decades, she and Loretta encounter scandal and adventure, choose love and passion, and forge an enduring bond of love and loyalty that will be put to the test when they eventually face the greatest obstacle of their lives.

Anchored by Trigiani’s masterful storytelling that takes you on a worldwide ride of adventure from Hollywood to the shores of southern Italy, this mesmerizing epic is, at its heart, a luminous tale of the most cherished ties that bind. Brimming with larger-than-life characters both real and fictional—including stars Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, David Niven, Hattie McDaniel and more—it is it is the unforgettable story of one of cinema’s greatest love affairs during the golden age of American movie making.”

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21 .) Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing by Lee Server

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Huffington Post

“She was the sex symbol who dazzled all the other sex symbols. She was the temptress who drove Frank Sinatra to the brink of suicide and haunted him to the end of his life. Ernest Hemingway saved one of her kidney stones as a sacred memento, and Howard Hughes begged her to marry him―but she knocked out his front teeth instead.

She was one of the great icons in Hollywood history―star of The Killers, The Barefoot Contessa, and The Night of the Iguana―and one of the few whose actual life was grander and more colorful than any movie. Her jaw-dropping beauty, charismatic presence, and fabulous, scandalous adventures fueled the legend of Ava Gardner―Hollywood’s most glamorous, restless and uninhibited star.”

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20 .) Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud by Shaun Considine

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

They were two of the most talented beauties Hollywood ever produced: the elegant Joan Crawford, a former chorus girl who shot through the ranks at MGM, and the brash, tempestuous Bette Davis, a Broadway star notorious for refusing to bow to the studio bosses. Their work together in the hit film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? sowed the seeds for a mutual hatred that would consume their lives. As each fading star tried to outshine the other, lives were upended and reputations were destroyed. Glamorous, merciless, and cruel, their feud became the stuff of legends. Based on interviews the author conducted with both actresses and more than a decade of research, Bette & Joan shows the hard-drinking, hard-fighting duo at their best and worst. The epic story of these dueling divas is hilarious, monstrous, tragic, and the inspiration for the Ryan Murphy TV series Feud starring Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange. Now updated with two new chapters and a sixteen-page photo insert.

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19 .) Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood by Peter Biskind

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Hollywood Reporter
  • Bustle

When the low-budget biker movie Easy Rider shocked Hollywood with its success in 1969, a new Hollywood era was born. This was an age when talented young filmmakers such as Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg, along with a new breed of actors, including De Niro, Pacino, and Nicholson, became the powerful figures who would make such modern classics as The Godfather, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and Jaws. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls follows the wild ride that was Hollywood in the ’70s — an unabashed celebration of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll (both onscreen and off) and a climate where innovation and experimentation reigned supreme. Based on hundreds of interviews with the directors themselves, producers, stars, agents, writers, studio executives, spouses, and ex-spouses, this is the full, candid story of Hollywood’s last golden age.

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18 .) Harlow in Hollywood: The Blonde Bombshell in the Glamour Capital, 1928-1937 by Darrell Rooney and Mark A. Vieira

Lists It Appears On:

  • Huffington Post
  • Goodreads 2

“Scene 1: Harlean Carpenter comes to Hollywood.
Scene 2: Hollywood creates Jean Harlow.

Scene 3: Her legend lives forever.

At last, the story of how Hollywood shaped a myth and determined a young woman’s reality. A town, a remarkable town, became the backdrop for one of Hollywood’s most incredible stories, a life rife with glamour, pleasure, power, and–in the end–utter sorrow. Her story lives in the pages and breathtaking pictures of Harlow in Hollywood. When Jean Harlow became the Blonde Bombshell, it was all Hollywood’s doing. She was the first big-screen sex symbol, the Platinum Blonde, the mold for every famous fair-haired superstar who would emulate her.”

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17 .) Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer by Scott Eyman

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Blonde At The Film
  • Goodreads

“Lion of Hollywood is the definitive biography of Louis B. Mayer, the chief of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — MGM — the biggest and most successful film studio of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
An immigrant from tsarist Russia, Mayer began in the film business as an exhibitor but soon migrated to where the action and the power were — Hollywood. Through sheer force of energy and foresight, he turned his own modest studio into MGM, where he became the most powerful man in Hollywood, bending the film business to his will. He made great films, including the fabulous MGM musicals, and he made great stars: Garbo, Gable, Garland, and dozens of others. Through the enormously successful Andy Hardy series, Mayer purveyed family values to America. At the same time, he used his influence to place a federal judge on the bench, pay off local officials, cover up his stars’ indiscretions, and, on occasion, arrange marriages for gay stars. Mayer rose from his impoverished childhood to become at one time the highest-paid executive in America.

Despite his power and money, Mayer suffered some significant losses. He had two daughters: Irene, who married David O. Selznick, and Edie, who married producer William Goetz. He would eventually fall out with Edie and divorce his wife, Margaret, ending his life alienated from most of his family. His chief assistant, Irving Thalberg, was his closest business partner, but they quarreled frequently, and Thalberg’s early death left Mayer without his most trusted associate. As Mayer grew older, his politics became increasingly reactionary, and he found himself politically isolated within Hollywood’s small conservative community.”

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16 .) Love, Lucy by Lucille Ball

Lists It Appears On:

  • Chemistry Cachet
  • Goodreads 2

“Love, Lucy is the valentine Lucille Ball left for her fans—a warm, wise, and witty memoir written by Lucy herself. The legendary star of the classic sitcom I Love Lucy was at the pinnacle of her success when she sat down to record the story of her life. No comedienne had made America laugh so hard, no television actress had made the leap from radio and B movies to become one of the world’s best-loved performers. This is her story—in her own words.

The story of the ingenue from Jamestown, New York, determined to go to Broadway, destined to make a big splash, bound to marry her Valentino, Desi Arnaz. In her own inimitable style, she tells of their life together—both storybook and turbulent; intimate memories of their children and friends; wonderful backstage anecdotes; the empire they founded; the dissolution of their marriage. And, with a heartfelt happy ending, her enduring marriage to Gary Morton.

Here is the lost manuscript that her fans and loved ones will treasure. Here is the laughter. Here is the life. Here’s Lucy…”

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15 .) MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot by Steven Bingen, Stephen X. Sylvester, and Michael Troyan

Lists It Appears On:

  • Huffington Post
  • The Blonde At The Film

“M-G-M: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot is the illustrated history of the soundstages and outdoor sets where Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced many of the world’s most famous films. During its Golden Age, the studio employed the likes of Garbo, Astaire, and Gable, and produced innumerable iconic pieces of cinema such as The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ in the Rain, and Ben-Hur.

It is estimated that a fifth of all films made in the United States prior to the 1970s were shot at MGM studios, meaning that the gigantic property was responsible for hundreds of iconic sets and stages, often utilizing and transforming minimal spaces and previously used props, to create some of the most recognizable and identifiable landscapes of modern movie culture.

All of this happened behind closed doors, the backlot shut off from the public in a veil of secrecy and movie magic. M-G-M: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot highlights this fascinating film treasure by recounting the history, popularity, and success of the MGM company through a tour of its physical property.”

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14 .) My Autobiography by Charlie Chaplin

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Huffington Post

“Chaplin’s heartfelt and hilarious autobiography tells the story of his childhood, the challenge of identifying and perfecting his talent, his subsequent film career and worldwide celebrity. In this, one of the very first celebrity memoirs, Chaplin displays all the charms, peculiarities and deeply-held beliefs that made him such an endearing and lasting character.

Re-issued as part of Melville House’s Neversink Library, My Autobiography offers dedicated Chaplin fans and casual admirers alike an astonishing glimpse into the the heart and the mind of Hollywood’s original genius maverick.”

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13 .) Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema by Anne Helen Petersen

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • The Blonde At The Film

Believe it or not, America’s fascination with celebrity culture was thriving well before the days of TMZ, Perez Hilton, Charlie Sheen’s breakdown, and allegations against Woody Allen. And the stars of yesteryear? They weren’t always the saints that we make them out to be. Part biography, part cultural history, the stories contained in this book cover the stuff that films are made of: love, sex, drugs, illegitimate children, illicit affairs, and botched cover-ups. Based on Anne Helen Petersen’s popular column on the Hairpin, Scandals of Classic Hollywood is sensationalism made smart.

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12 .) Silent Stars by Jeanine Basinger

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

“From one of America’s most renowned film scholars: a revelatory, perceptive, and highly readable look at the greatest silent film stars — not those few who are fully appreciated and understood, like Chaplin, Keaton, Gish, and Garbo, but those who have been misperceived, unfairly dismissed, or forgotten.

Here is Valentino, “”the Sheik,”” who was hardly the effeminate lounge lizard he’s been branded as; Mary Pickford, who couldn’t have been further from the adorable little creature with golden ringlets that was her film persona; Marion Davies, unfairly pilloried in Citizen Kane; the original “”Phantom”” and “”Hunchback,”” Lon Chaney; the beautiful Talmadge sisters, Norma and Constance. Here are the great divas, Pola Negri and Gloria Swanson; the great flappers, Colleen Moore and Clara Bow; the great cowboys, William S. Hart and Tom Mix; and the great lover, John Gilbert. Here, too, is the quintessential slapstick comedienne, Mabel Normand, with her Keystone Kops; the quintessential all-American hero, Douglas Fairbanks; and, of course, the quintessential all-American dog, Rin-Tin-Tin.

This is the first book to anatomize the major silent players, reconstruct their careers, and give us a sense of what those films, those stars, and that Hollywood were all about. An absolutely essential text for anyone seriously interested in movies, and, with more than three hundred photographs, as much a treat to look at as it is to read.”

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11 .) Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood by Mark A. Vieira

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

Looks at motion picture history during the decade before the Hollywood production code was established

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10 .) The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography by Esther Williams

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • The Blonde At The Film

“Now, for the hundreds of thousands of people who read and loved both of Niven’s books, comes Esther Williams’s wonderfully witty, fresh, and frank autobiography, all about an eighteen-year-old girl who reluctantly answers the siren call of MGM — at the time, the most powerful and prestigious movie studio in the world — and who soon finds herself launched on a career that will last more than twenty years, during which time she will help to create a genre of film that seems almost unimaginable today, yet which still holds all its original freshness and fascination, and who becomes during those years one of the world’s top box office stars.

Williams calls MGM her “”university,”” and the education she got there was one in how to project glamour and femininity, how to make yourself desirable while always, always playing the lady. No one who were through that university has ever written before with such absolute candor about what it was really like — the affairs, the gossip, the tricks of the trade, the competition, the deals, the fights, and the methods the studios had for keeping their stars in line.”

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9 .) The Parade’s Gone By… by Kevin Brownlow

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

The magic of the silent screen, illuminated by the recollections of those who created it.

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8 .) The Player by Michael Tolkin

Lists It Appears On:

  • Bustle
  • The Daily Beast

“Griffin Mill is ruthlessly ambitious, driven to control the levers of America’s dream-making machinery. Griffin listens to writers pitch him stories all day, sitting in judgment on their fantasies, their lives. But now one writer to whose pitch he responded so glibly is sending him postcards: “”You said you’d get back to me. You didn’t. And now in the name of all writers who get pushed around by studio executives I’m going to kill you.””

Squeezed between the threat to his life and the threat to his job, Griffin’s deliberate and horrifying response spins him into a nightmare. Then he meets the sad and beautiful June Mercator and his obsession for her threatens to destroy them both.

With a compulsively readable narrative that offers a devastating portrait of contemporary Hollywood–the studio execs, the deal-making, the politics, the pitches–The Player is the smartest book.”

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7 .) The Prince of Beverly Hills by Stuart Woods

Lists It Appears On:

  • Off The Shelf
  • Goodreads

Los Angeles, 1939. It’s Hollywood’s Golden Age, and Rick Barron is a suave and sharp detective on the Beverly Hills force. After a run-in with his captain, he finds himself demoted, but soon lands a job on the security detail for Centurion Pictures, one of the hottest studios. The white knight of such movie stars as Clete Barrow, the British leading man with a penchant for parties, and Glenna Gleason, a peach of a talent on the verge of superstardom, Rick is dubbed “the Prince of Beverly Hills” by society columnists. But when he unearths a murder cover-up and a blackmail scam, he finds himself up against West Coast wise guys whose stakes are do-or-die…

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6 .) The Star Machine by Jeanine Basinger

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

“From one of our most distinguished film scholars, comes a rich, penetrating, amusing book about the golden age of movies and how the studios worked to manufacture stars.

With revelatory insights and delightful asides, Jeanine Basinger shows us how the studio “star machine” worked when it worked, how it failed when it didn’t, and how irrelevant it could sometimes be. She gives us case studies focusing on big stars groomed into the system: the “awesomely beautiful” (and disillusioned) Tyrone Power; the seductive, disobedient Lana Turner; and a dazzling cast of others. She anatomizes their careers, showing how their fame happened, and what happened to them as a result. Deeply engrossing, full of energy, wit, and wisdom, The Star Machine is destined to become an classic of the film canon.”

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5 .) Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann

Lists It Appears On:

  • Huffington Post
  • Goodreads 2

“The Day of the Locust meets The Devil in the White City and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in this juicy, untold Hollywood story: an addictive true tale of ambition, scandal, intrigue, murder, and the creation of the modern film industry.

By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America’s new favorite pastime, and one of the nation’s largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence. Yet Hollywood’s glittering ascendency was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies—including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now.

In a fiendishly involving narrative, bestselling Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of the enigmatic Taylor and the diverse cast that surrounded him—including three beautiful, ambitious actresses; a grasping stage mother; a devoted valet; and a gang of two-bit thugs, any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet. And overseeing this entire landscape of intrigue was Adolph Zukor, the brilliant and ruthless founder of Paramount, locked in a struggle for control of the industry and desperate to conceal the truth about the crime. Along the way, Mann brings to life Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties: a sparkling yet schizophrenic town filled with party girls, drug dealers, religious zealots, newly-minted legends and starlets already past their prime—a dangerous place where the powerful could still run afoul of the desperate.”

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4 .) West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan

Lists It Appears On:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Off The Shelf

“In 1937, F. Scott Fitzgerald was a troubled, uncertain man whose literary success was long over. In poor health, with his wife consigned to an asylum and his finances in ruin, he struggled to make a new start as a screenwriter in Hollywood.

Those last three years of Fitzgerald’s life are the focus of Stewart O’Nan’s graceful and elegiac novel West of Sunset. With flashbacks to Fitzgerald’s glamorous Jazz Age past, the story follows him as he arrives on the MGM lot, falls in love with brassy gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, begins work on The Last Tycoon, and tries to maintain a semblance of family life with the absent Zelda and their daughter, Scottie. The Golden Age of Hollywood is brought vividly to life through the novel’s romantic cast of characters, from Dorothy Parker and Ernest Hemingway to Humphrey Bogart. Written with striking grace and subtlety, this is a wise and intimate portrait of a man trying his best to hold together a world that’s flying apart.”

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3 .) Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger

Lists It Appears On:

  • Bustle
  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

Originally published in Paris, this is a collection of Hollywood’s darkest and best kept secrets from the pen of Kenneth Anger, a former child movie actor who grew up to become one of America’s leading underground film-makers.

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2 .) The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

Lists It Appears On:

  • Bustle
  • Goodreads
  • The Daily Beast

“The Day of the Locust” is the celebrated 1939 novel about the Great Depression, set in Hollywood, California, its over-arching themes dealing with the alienation and desperation of a broad group of odd individuals who exist at the fringes of the Hollywood movie industry.

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1 .) City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940s by Otto Friedrich

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Fedora Lounge
  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2
  • The Hollywood Reporter

“In 1939, fifty million Americans went to the movies every week, Louis B. Mayer was the highest-paid man in the country, and Hollywood produced 530 feature films a year. One decade and five thousand movies later, the studios were faltering. The 1940s became the decade of Hollywood’s decline: anticommunist hysteria excommunicated some of its best talent, while a 1948 antitrust consent decree ended many of the business practices that had made the studio system so profitable.

In this masterful work of cultural history, the legendary Otto Friedrich tells the story of Hollywood’s heyday and decline in a vivid narrative featuring an all-star cast of the actors, writers, musicians, composers, producers, directors, racketeers, labor leaders, journalists, and politicians who played major parts in the movie capital during the turbulent decade from World War II to the Korean War.

Friedrich draws on sources from celebrity biographies to trade-union history, mingling lively gossip with analysis of Hollywood’s seedier business dealings and telling the stories of legendary movies such as Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and All About Eve.”

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The 150 Additional Best Early Hollywood Books



 

#BookAuthorLists
(Titles Appear On 1 List Each)
24A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption, and L.A.’s Scandalous Coming of AgeRichard RaynerGoodreads
25A LifeElia Kazan
The Hollywood Reporter
26A Long Hard Look at “Psycho”Raymond DurgnatGoodreads
27Adventures in the Screen TradeWilliam Goldman
The Hollywood Reporter
28Adventures with DW GriffithKarl Brown
The Fedora Lounge
29Agee on Film: Criticism and Comment on the MoviesJames AgeeGoodreads
30American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood & the Crime of the CenturyHoward BlumGoodreads
31American Silent FilmWilliam K. EversonGoodreads
32An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women in Early American Films: 1895-1930Denise LoweGoodreads
33At the Center of the FrameWilliam M. DrewGoodreads
34Ava Gardner: The Secret ConversationsPeter Evans
Goodreads 2
35Ava: My StoryAva Gardner
Goodreads 2
36Bells of AvalonLibbet BradstreetGoodreads
37Beverly Hills Dead (Rick Barron, #2)Stuart WoodsGoodreads
38BlondeJoyce Carol Oates
Off The Shelf
39Bloodletting: Book 4.0 – BetteJoe HumphreyGoodreads
40Bombshell: The Life and Death of Jean HarlowDavid Stenn
Goodreads 2
41Broken Silence: Conversations with 23 Silent Film StarsMichael G. AnkerichGoodreads
42By MyselfLauren Bacall
Goodreads 2
43By Myself and Then SomeLauren Bacall
Goodreads 2
44Children of LightRobert Stone
The Daily Beast
45Chuck Amuck: The Life and Time of an Animated CartoonistChuck JonesGoodreads
46Clara Bow: Runnin’ WildDavid Stenn
Goodreads 2
47Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code HollywoodMick LaSalle
Goodreads 2
48Confessions of a Hollywood AgentWilliam Louis GardnerGoodreads
49Conversations with Classic Film Stars: Interviews from Hollywood’s Golden EraJames BawdenGoodreads
50Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age at the American Film InstituteGeorge Stevens Jr.Goodreads
51Dangerous Curves Atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-Luck Girls of the Silent ScreenMichael G. AnkerichGoodreads
52Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph ValentinoEmily W. Leider
Goodreads 2
53Dark Victory: The Life of Bette DavisEd Sikov
Goodreads 2
54Dean and Me: A Love StoryJerry Lewis
Goodreads 2
55Die a LittleMegan Abbott
Barnes & Noble
56Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent FilmPeter BiskindBustle
57Dream Palaces: Hollywood at HomeCharles LockwoodGoodreads
58Drive-in Dream Girls: A Galaxy of B-Movie Starlets of the SixtiesTom LisantiGoodreads
59Falling WatersGary D. HenryGoodreads
60Fantasy Femmes of Sixties CinemaTom LisantiGoodreads
61Farber on Film: The Complete Film WritingsManny FarberGoodreads
62Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)Raymond ChandlerGoodreads
63Fearing the Dark: The Val Lewton CareerEdmund G. BansakGoodreads
64Femme Noir: Bad Girls of FilmKaren Burroughs HannsberryGoodreads
65Final CutSteven Bach
The Hollywood Reporter
66Flesh And FantasyPenny StallingsGoodreads
67Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten HistoryManny PachecoGoodreads
68Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, LettersMarilyn Monroe
Goodreads 2
69GarboBarry Paris
Goodreads 2
70Ginger: My StoryGinger Rogers
Goodreads 2
71Girl About TownAdam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan
Off The Shelf
72Glamour Girls of Sixties Hollywood: Seventy-Five ProfilesTom LisantiGoodreads
73Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn MonroeAnthony Summers
Goodreads 2
74Golden Images: 41 Essays on Silent Film StarsEve GoldenGoodreads
75GoldwynA. Scott BergGoodreads
76GraceRobert LaceyGoodreads
77Harpo Speaks!Harpo Marx with Rowland Barber
The Fedora Lounge
78Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood: Celebrity Gossip and American ConservatismJennifer FrostGoodreads
79
Hitchcock by Truffaut: The Definitive Study
The Fedora Lounge
80Hollywood and History: Costume Design in FilmEdward MaederGoodreads
81Hollywood Dreams Made Real: Irving Thalberg and the Rise of M-G-MMark A. VieiraGoodreads
82Hollywood Love Stories
Chemistry Cachet
83Hollywood Remembered: An Oral History of Its Golden AgePaul ZolloGoodreads
84Hollywood Starlet (The Pacific Pictures Series)Kelly DurhamGoodreads
85Hollywood: The PioneersKevin BrownlowGoodreads
86Hot Toddy: The True Story of Hollywood’s Most Sensational MurderAndy EdmondsGoodreads
87How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in HollywoodWilliam J. Mann
Goodreads 2
88I, FattyJerry Stahl
Huffington Post
89Idols of Modernity: Movie Stars of the 1920sPatrice PetroGoodreads
90If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita HayworthBarbara Leaming
Goodreads 2
91In the Picture: Production Stills from the TCM ArchivesTurner Classic MoviesGoodreads
92Indecent ExposureDavid McClintick
The Hollywood Reporter
93Inside Warner Bros. (1935-1951)Rudy BehlmerGoodreads
94Kate: The Woman Who Was HepburnWilliam J. Mann
Goodreads 2
95Lana: the Lady, the Legend, the TruthLana Turner
Goodreads 2
96Laura Lamont’s Life in PicturesEmma Straub
Off The Shelf
97LIFE Hidden Hollywood: Rare Images of a Golden AgeThe Editors of LIFEGoodreads
98
Liz: An Intimate Biography of Elizabeth Taylor
Chemistry Cachet
99Louise Brooks: A BiographyBarry Paris
Goodreads 2
100Lulu in HollywoodLouise Brooks
Goodreads 2
101Marilyn Monroe: The BiographyDonald Spoto
Goodreads 2
102Marilyn’s Red DiaryE.Z. FriedelGoodreads
103Me: Stories of My LifeKatharine Hepburn
Goodreads 2
104Memo from David O. SelznickRudy Behlmer
The Hollywood Reporter
105Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx BrothersSimon Louvish
The Fedora Lounge
106Montgomery Clift: A BiographyPatricia Bosworth
Goodreads 2
107Movie Star Homes: The Famous to the ForgottenJudy ArtunianGoodreads
108My First Time in Hollywood: Stories from the Pioneers, Dreamers and Misfits Who Made the MoviesCari BeauchampGoodreads
109My Hollywood: When Both of Us Were YoungPatsy Ruth MillerGoodreads
110My Wicked, Wicked WaysErrol Flynn
Huffington Post
111Myrna Loy: Being and BecomingJames Kotsilibas-Davis
Goodreads 2
112Myrna Loy: The Only Good Girl in HollywoodEmily W. Leider
Goodreads 2
113Natasha: The Biography of Natalie WoodSuzanne Finstad
Goodreads 2
114Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling through Hollywood HistoryMark BaileyGoodreads
115Pickford: The Woman Who Made HollywoodEileen Whitfield
Goodreads 2
116Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New HollywoodMark Harris
The Hollywood Reporter
117Play It As It LaysJoan Didion
The Daily Beast
118Robert Mitchum: Solid, Dad, CrazyDamien LoveGoodreads
119Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca–Bogart, Bergman, and World War IIAljean Harmetz
The Blonde At The Film
120Screen Deco: A Celebration of High Style in HollywoodHoward MandelbaumGoodreads
121Self-PortraitGene Tierney
Goodreads 2
122Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia MurderJohn GilmoreGoodreads
123Shake Well Before Using: A New Collection of Impressions and Anecdotes Mostly HumorousBennett CerfGoodreads
124Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie CulturePeter KobelGoodreads
125Silent MurdersMary Miley
Barnes & Noble
126Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and ActressesAnthony SlideGoodreads
127Silent Stars Speak: Interviews with Twelve Cinema PioneersTony VilleccoGoodreads
128Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten HistoryManny PachecoGoodreads
129Speaking of SilentsWilliam M. DrewGoodreads
130Stan and OllieSimon Louvish
The Fedora Lounge
131StardustJoseph Kanon
Off The Shelf
132Supporting Features: Writing and Interviews on Movies and MoviemakersDamien LoveGoodreads
133Temporary Alliance: A Story of Old Hollywood (The Pacific Pictures Series Book 2)Kelly DurhamGoodreads
134The American Film IndustryeditedTino Balio
The Blonde At The Film
135The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, #1)Raymond ChandlerGoodreads
136The Black DahliaJames Ellroy
Off The Shelf
137The Dark Side Of Genius: The Life Of Alfred HitchcockDonald SpotoGoodreads
138The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth CenturyMargaret TalbotGoodreads
139The Forgotten FlapperLaini Giles
Off The Shelf
140The Garden of AllahSheilah GrahamGoodreads
141The Garden on SunsetMartin Turnbull
Off The Shelf
142The Genius of the SystemThomas Schatz
The Fedora Lounge
143The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: A Personal Biography of Bette DavisCharlotte Chandler
Goodreads 2
144The Girls: Sappho Goes to HollywoodDiana McLellan
Goodreads 2
145The Glamour Factory: Inside Hollywood’s Big Studio SystemRonald L. DavisGoodreads
146The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte PaintingMark Cotta VazGoodreads
147The Kid Stays in the PictureRobert EvansBustle
148The Last Tycoon: An Unfinished NovelF. Scott Fitzgerald
The Daily Beast
149The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6)Raymond ChandlerGoodreads
150The Love of the Last TycoonF. Scott Fitzgerald
Off The Shelf
151The Loved OneEvelyn Waugh
Barnes & Noble
152The Making of Some Like It Hot: My Memories of Marilyn Monroe and the Classic American MovieTony CurtisGoodreads
153The Movie Star and MeKelly DurhamGoodreads
154The Name Above the TitleFrank Capra
The Hollywood Reporter
155The Noir StyleAlain SilverGoodreads
156The Pat Hobby StoriesF. Scott Fitzgerald
The Fedora Lounge
157The Secret Life of Marilyn MonroeJ. Randy Taraborrelli
Goodreads 2
158The Shocking Miss Pilgrim: A Writer in Early HollywoodFrederica Sagor MaasGoodreads
159The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 16 Film and Stage Personalities Who Bridged the Gap Between Silents and TalkiesMichael G. AnkerichGoodreads
160The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated HistoryGregory Paul Williams
Huffington Post
161The Women of Warner Brothers: The Lives and Careers of 15 Leading Ladies, with Filmographies for EachDaniel BubbeoGoodreads
162Those Crazy, Wonderful Years When We Ran Warner Bros.Stuart JeromeGoodreads
163Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, DreyerPaul Schrader
The Hollywood Reporter
164True Hollywood Noir: Filmland Mysteries and MurdersDina Di MambroGoodreads
165Try and Stop MeBennett CerfGoodreads
166Two Lovers,: the love Story of Carole Lombard and Russ ColumboBeverly AdamGoodreads
167Unsinkable
Chemistry Cachet
168Val Lewton: The Reality of TerrorJoel E. SiegelGoodreads
169Victor Fleming: An American Movie MasterMichael SragowGoodreads
170Vivien Leigh: A BiographyAnne Edwards
Goodreads 2
171Vivien: The Life of Vivien LeighAlexander Walker
Goodreads 2
172Vixens, Floozies, and Molls: 28 Actresses of Late 1920s and 1930s HollywoodHans J. WollsteinGoodreads
173Walking With Dead People – HollywoodMary-Beth BrophyGoodreads
174Watch Me: A MemoirAnjelica HustonBustle
175What Makes Sammy Run?Budd SchulbergBustle
176What You See in the DarkManuel Muñoz
Barnes & Noble
177When the Movies Were YoungLinda ArvidsonGoodreads
178Who the Hell’s in It: Conversations With Hollywood’s Legendary ActorsPeter BogdanovichGoodreads
179Why a Duck?: Visual and Verbal Gems from the Marx Brothers MoviesRichard J. AnobileGoodreads
180Without Lying Down: Screenwriter Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early HollywoodCari Beauchamp
Goodreads 2
181Women in Horror Films, 1930sGregory William MankGoodreads
182You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood’s Golden AgeRobert J. WagnerGoodreads
183You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town AgainJulia PhillipsBustle


11 Best Old Hollywood Book Sources/Lists



SourceArticle
Barnes & Noble 6 Irresistible Novels About Old Hollywood
Bustle 10 Juicy Hollywood Books To Get You Prepped For the Golden Globes
Chemistry Cachet 4 Books to Read if You Love Hollywood’s Golden Age
Goodreads Best Books on Old Hollywood
Goodreads 2 Popular Old Hollywood Books
Huffington Post 8 Books That Will Transport You To Old Hollywood
Off The Shelf 11 Scandalous Novels That Illuminate the Golden Age of Hollywood
The Blonde At The Film Great Books on Classic Movies
The Daily Beast The 5 Best Novels on Hollywood
The Fedora Lounge Books about Golden Age Hollywood
The Hollywood Reporter Galloway on Film: The 10 Greatest Movie Books