Liz Smith says Mr. Confidential reads like, "A house afire in a sultry swamp!" Publishers Weekly gives it a starred review, and calls it, "Hard boiled-yet juicy... an apt, unflinching take on the wildly popular tabloid!" And Booklist raves, happily urging readers to, "Get a load of it!" while Cox News Service goes highbrow, chapioning the book's take on, "The neurotic underpinning of the American Dream." But sshhh! Keep it Confidential...




Robert Harrison was a sub rosa giant of American journalism in the 1950s. The flagship of his fleet of mostly pinup magazines was the celebrity scandal sheet Confidential, a hint-all more than a tell-all, full of delicious dishing and scandal-mongering seasoned with puns and alliteration. During its short, mercurial run, Confidential outed gay and bisexual movie folk and celebrity drug users on a scale that approached that of Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon books. Stars often noisily threatened to sue but nearly always quietly dropped litigation before any oath-bound testimony and other inconveniences to their studios' publicity machines; for example, Lizabeth Scott took umbrage at being called a "baritone babe" but quickly withdrew her knee-jerk lawsuit. When Harrison agent and anti-Communist crusader Howard Rushmore killedhimself and his estranged wife in a taxicab, the world caved in on Harrison and his jaunty journal. Though he makes definite statements rather than leering suggestions, Bernstein spills the beans on that story and more in language reminiscent of Confidential's house style. Get a load of it.