Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Saga of the Hilton Family Reads Like a Novel – or a Soap Opera

The Hiltons: A Family Dynasty opens with Zsa Zsa Gabor's deposition. Her daughter Francesca is contesting Conrad Hilton's will. The issue of whether Francesca is Conrad's daughter is a theme that runs through the book and keeps us wondering until the end how it will be resolved.

The Hiltons in addition to being enormously successful in the hotel business, primarily due to Conrad's vision and energy, were well known personalities who led personal lives that rivaled those of the movie stars to whom several of them were married. In addition to Zsa Zsa, who was briefly married to Conrad, an extensive list of Hollywood personalities like Natalie Wood, Joan Collins and Eddie Fisher make appearances.

The three Hilton sons and their wives are featured. Nicky Hilton's disastrous marriage to Elizabeth Taylor is discussed in detail as is his father's marriage to Zsa Zsa. The fallout from these marriages followed the men for years: Zsa Zsa in a constant battle with Conrad; Nicky feeling guilt for his abusive treatment of Elizabeth.

The lives of these amazing characters keep you turning the pages. The marriage problems of the male members of the family read like a novel, or a soap opera. However, even more interesting is the chronicling of Conrad's experience building a hotel empire. Even the business sections are filled with interesting characters and suspense. If you like stories of big business, you'll enjoy this part of the book.

I recommend this book if you find the Hiltons fascinating, or if your interest is in how a major corporation was born.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.