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JFK, Nixon, Oliver Stone and Me: An Idealist's Journey from Capitol Hill to Hollywood Hell
Synopses & Reviews
JFK, Nixon, Oliver Stone and Me is the funny, thoughtful memoir of an accomplished former Congressional staffer who left D.C. for Hollywood and a job with Oliver Stone, hoping to help make politically engaged films and a difference, and found himself instead in a wildly dysfunctional universe ruled by greed, paranoia, narcissism, competition, alcohol and drugs.
After finishing law school, Eric Hamburg became an unusually effective young staffer on Capitol Hill — convincing his boss, Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, to submit a bill that would release the House's closely held files on the John F. Kennedy assassination investigation, one of Hamburg's own pet obsessions. This led to his meeting Oliver Stone and soon — much to his own surprise — Hamburg found swimming amongst the sneakiest of Hollywood sharks.
Hamburg describes his fascinating experiences working on the films Nixon and Any Given Sunday while navigating the arcane politics of Stone's studio, Ixtlan. Pursuing film projects (and Kennedy assassination leads), he also muses on the ways and means of the movie biz; on the strange symbiotic Washington/Hollywood relationship; on the meaning of success and the price of power. His story is a contemporary Mr. Smith Goes to Hollywood, told by a narrator of wit, intelligence, and a singular set of experiences.
"Whereas Hamburg is a galumphing master of the obvious ('[m]y own theory is that people just didn't want to see a three-hour movie about Nixon' and 'I believe that 1968 was a watershed year in America' and 'Tony Hopkins could pour out emotion on cue. But then that's what makes him a great actor'), Stone is tricky, slippery, elusive. And Stone's personality, let's call them 'quirks,' that drive Hamburg up the wall are precisely the ones that make him so weird and more fascinating (his obsession with Rodney Dangerfield and Don Rickles, for instance). I can't for the life of me see these two in the same room together, but then, for the sake of this mad train wreck of a book, I for one...am glad they were." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
Book News Annotation:
A memoir by an accomplished former Congressional staffer who left D.C. for L.A. and a job with filmmaker Oliver Stone in 1993. Expecting to make politically engaged films and make a difference for the better, he instead found himself immersed in a wildly dysfunctional world ruled by greed, paranoia, narcissism, competition, alcohol, and drugs.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This revealing insider's look at Hollywood is the thoughtful memoir of a former Congressional aide who left D.C. for Hollywood and a job with Oliver Stone, one of Hollywood's most notoriously difficult directors. Hoping to make politically engaged films and make a difference, the author found himself in a dysfunctional universe ruled by greed, paranoia, narcissism, alcohol, and drugs. Photos.
Great reading for anyone interested in the entertainment business — both insiders and wannabes — in the tradition of Hello, He Lied. Includes behind-the-scenes info and gossip on the movies JFK, Nixon, Any Given Sunday, Natural Born Killers, U-Turn, and others. Offers unique insights on the subject of the Washington/Hollywood connection, frequently discussed in opinion media.
About the Author
Eric Hamburg originated and co-produced the films Nixon and Any Given Sunday with Oliver Stone. He is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz and the University of San Francisco School of Law, and is a visiting fellow at UCLA in the Burkle Center for International Relations. He is producing a mini-series for television on the Pentagon Papers case with John Dean and Alec Baldwin. He lives in Los Angeles.
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