- Hardcover: 679 pages
- Publisher: Buccaneer Books (1 June 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568491417
- ISBN-13: 978-1568491417
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 4.4 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
The Carpetbaggers Hardcover – Import, 1 Jun 1993
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<div><div>"Robbins dialogue is moving . . . his people have the warmth of life." --The New York Times
"Robbins's books are packed with action, sustained by a strong narrative drive, and are given vitality by his own colorful life." The Wall Street Journal</div></div>
About the Author
<div><div>Born in New York City, HAROLD ROBBINS is one of the world's bestselling authors, writing novels that often mirrored his own experiences and that were peopled by charcacters he had met. </div></div>
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book is not the work of a man with a complex against women at all. It is true that female characters in this book use their female sexual powers to manipulate males rather than say, discovering a cure for cancer. Even so, one featured female character is a actually an accomplished physician and her intelligence is obvious. Most of the main female characters are, after all, motion picture romantic leads, one of whom rises into stardom from the sordid origins of being an actual prostitute. So yes this is sexist by today's politically-correct standards in that men view women as sexual objects when they happen to _be_ sexual objects. While some women in the book view marriage to a husband as the ultimate happily-ever-after end goal of life, more commonly the female characters view it as a form of political opportunism. The book includes a lesbian character and expresses a fairly tolerant view of non-default sexual orientation, considering the year it was written.
I won't say the depiction of sexuality is totally honest. It is romanticized and idealized. The men are generally rich, powerful men with good looks, the type of alpha male most women used to deliberately throw themselves at sexually in order to get ahead in the motion picture business (or other fields) up until the #metoo movement upended literally millennia of social norms. And yes, believe it or not, human beings had sex back in the days of World War I. Otherwise no one would be alive in the 21st century to write politically-correct Amazon reviews calling this book sexist trash, a book that was a major blockbuster bestseller when it came out.
This novel was wildly popular, not solely because it included sex scenes more graphic than had been customary in earlier years, but also because it was better-written stylistically than most of today's bestsellers, had a well-told, gripping story to tell, a well-constructed historical setting (the early 20th century), and, despite being a "potboiler," had characterization as round and subtle as actual Literature. Unlike some novels with many characters where you can't tell the characters apart or remember who is who, in this book each of the characters is memorable. The early life experience of the character Nevada Smith gives the reader a poignant look at Caucasian racism against Native Americans and "half breeds." The African-American character Robair is far from a stereotype.
The reviewer who opined the book's main characters are exaggerated and unrealistic didn't get the point that these characters were _supposed_ to be exaggerated: Titans of industry, Hollywood movie stars, extremely rich, powerful, famous, intelligent, good-looking, sexually-attractive, people, who, if they had existed in real life, would in fact have seemed larger than life to a more average, mundane person. If this is as some believe a roman a clef about Howard Hughes, then it was modeled on a person who was larger than life. That is what a potboiler was. That is why this book sold millions of copies. That is why Robbins books sold 750 million copies total. Most authors are lucky if they sell a few hundred thousand copies total.
Stephen King is extremely popular because he can craft authentic characters, depict settings that seem real, write well stylistically, and have a gripping story to tell. Harold Robbins had all those same qualities, but he wrote potboilers rather than horror fiction.
The reason Tolstoy and Doestoevsky are classic literature had a lot to do with their in-depth exploration of many characters' thoughts and behaviors changing over long periods of time in palpable settings and across many pages of text. Harold Robbins does the same thing.
Harold Robbins was like a combination of Stephen King and Tolstoy.
Each main character had a section in the book where their life story was told. Including Nevada Smith. Of course, the movie versions were nothing like the book. The book was better, since it went into so much more detail about all the characters. I always liked the Nevada Smith movie, though, with Steve McQueen. Even though the book version was different, I became interested in his character in the book.
The book was considered quite racy when it was first published, but is tame by today's standards. I really liked Robbin's writing, and hated to see the book end, even though it was quite lengthy.