96 books like My Wicked, Wicked Ways

By Errol Flynn,

Here are 96 books that My Wicked, Wicked Ways fans have personally recommended if you like My Wicked, Wicked Ways. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca: Bogart, Bergman, and World War II

Robert Matzen Author Of Season of the Gods

From my list on old Hollywood in general (and Warner Brothers in particular).

Why am I passionate about this?

My dad instilled in me a love of, and respect for, history and an avid interest in golden-era Hollywood. In my adult life as a professional writer, that paternal guidance has translated into eight books about various aspects of old Hollywood, with a growing focus on the intersection of Hollywood and World War II. My career to date was punctuated by the international success of Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II, which detailed the future star’s very hard life in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation. Dad didn’t live long enough to know I’d written anything, let alone a number of books he would have enjoyed reading. 

Robert's book list on old Hollywood in general (and Warner Brothers in particular)

Robert Matzen Why did Robert love this book?

When a New York Times correspondent and Yale Fellow sits down to write a book about the making of Casablanca for its 50th anniversary, one expects quality, and Harmetz delivers by detailing the times and people who created and marketed the timeless classic.

This book served as a primary source during the writing of my book. The extensively researched and footnoted book was repackaged in 2002 as The Making of Casablanca: Bogart, Bergman, and World War II and remains in print more than 30 years after its initial release.

Book cover of Starstruck: My Unlikely Road to Hollywood

Robert Matzen Author Of Season of the Gods

From my list on old Hollywood in general (and Warner Brothers in particular).

Why am I passionate about this?

My dad instilled in me a love of, and respect for, history and an avid interest in golden-era Hollywood. In my adult life as a professional writer, that paternal guidance has translated into eight books about various aspects of old Hollywood, with a growing focus on the intersection of Hollywood and World War II. My career to date was punctuated by the international success of Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II, which detailed the future star’s very hard life in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation. Dad didn’t live long enough to know I’d written anything, let alone a number of books he would have enjoyed reading. 

Robert's book list on old Hollywood in general (and Warner Brothers in particular)

Robert Matzen Why did Robert love this book?

Leonard Maltin shot to prominence as a youth publishing the annual Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, with each new edition becoming an instant New York Times bestseller. Maltin also served a long stint as an on-air correspondent for Entertainment Tonight, where he earned backstage access to generations of movie stars.

His recently published memoir details his early obsession with the movies and then his slow but steady rise as one of Hollywood’s leading historians. I love this book most for its insights into the old stars that Maltin met—stars who knew him from his books and TV work and opened up about their own histories, making this book a valuable resource for film scholars.

By Leonard Maltin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Starstruck as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hollywood historian and film reviewer Leonard Maltin invites readers to pull up a chair and listen as he tells stories, many of them hilarious, of 50+ years interacting with legendary movie stars, writers, directors, producers, and cartoonists. Maltin grew up in the first decade of television, immersing himself in TV programs and accessing 1930s and ‘40s movies hitting the small screen. His fan letters to admired performers led to unexpected correspondences, then to interviews and publication of his own fan magazine. Maltin’s career as a free-lance writer and New York Times-bestselling author as well as his 30-year run on Entertainment…


Book cover of Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era (1930-1934): When Sin Ruled the Movies

Robert Matzen Author Of Season of the Gods

From my list on old Hollywood in general (and Warner Brothers in particular).

Why am I passionate about this?

My dad instilled in me a love of, and respect for, history and an avid interest in golden-era Hollywood. In my adult life as a professional writer, that paternal guidance has translated into eight books about various aspects of old Hollywood, with a growing focus on the intersection of Hollywood and World War II. My career to date was punctuated by the international success of Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II, which detailed the future star’s very hard life in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation. Dad didn’t live long enough to know I’d written anything, let alone a number of books he would have enjoyed reading. 

Robert's book list on old Hollywood in general (and Warner Brothers in particular)

Robert Matzen Why did Robert love this book?

The year before Errol Flynn blew into Hollywood, the “pre-Code” era ended. What was the “pre-Code” era? It was the period in the early 1930s when Hollywood rode the cliff, making movies about sensational topics like adultery, pay-for-play, drug use, and more. Many of the pictures included a scene or two with leading ladies scantily clad and even braless. Leading men were often scoundrels.

This book entertainingly details both the point of view of studios struggling to remain relevant in the depths of the Great Depression by creating salacious products and the outcry from alarmed parents who took their kids to the movies only to cover their eyes and rush them back out again.

The author backs up his narrative with eye-popping photos illustrating just what was so shocking about the pre-Code era. This interesting period of Hollywood history ended abruptly and, unfortunately, with the puritanical “Production Code” that ushered…

By Mark Vieira,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forbidden Hollywood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Those Crazy Wonderful Years When We Ran Warner Brothers

Robert Matzen Author Of Season of the Gods

From my list on old Hollywood in general (and Warner Brothers in particular).

Why am I passionate about this?

My dad instilled in me a love of, and respect for, history and an avid interest in golden-era Hollywood. In my adult life as a professional writer, that paternal guidance has translated into eight books about various aspects of old Hollywood, with a growing focus on the intersection of Hollywood and World War II. My career to date was punctuated by the international success of Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II, which detailed the future star’s very hard life in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation. Dad didn’t live long enough to know I’d written anything, let alone a number of books he would have enjoyed reading. 

Robert's book list on old Hollywood in general (and Warner Brothers in particular)

Robert Matzen Why did Robert love this book?

The author was one of a platoon of young, bicycle-riding male messengers that roamed the sprawling Warner Bros. studio in Burbank before World War II, delivering scripts and memos to directors, writers, and stars like Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, and yes, Errol Flynn (who got a big thumbs-up from the messenger boys).

Jerome pulls no punches on the stars he liked and those he detested and provides graphic details to back up his rankings. This book shows the stars as real people, for better or worse, while also providing an invaluable look at the inner workings of one of the most successful studios of old Hollywood.

By Stuart Jerome,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Those Crazy Wonderful Years When We Ran Warner Brothers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A successful screen writer describes his experiences working in the Warner Brothers mail room in 1938


Book cover of Tom Mix and Pancho Villa

Craig McDonald Author Of One True Sentence

From my list on suspenseful thrillers where fact & fiction meet.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a career journalist/communications specialist and historical suspense novelist, the intersection of fact and fiction has always been a fascination and an inspiration. In journalism and nonfiction reportage, the best we can hope to ascertain are likely facts. But in fiction—particularly fiction melded with history—I believe we can come closest to depicting something at least in the neighborhood of truth. My own novels have consistently employed real people and events, and as a reader, I’m particularly drawn to books that feature a factual/fictional mix, something which all five of my recommended novels excel in delivering with bracing bravado.

Craig's book list on suspenseful thrillers where fact & fiction meet

Craig McDonald Why did Craig love this book?

This novel sparked my lifetime obsession regarding Mexican Revolutionary Francisco “Pancho” Villa and the U.S. Army’s eventual pursuit of Villa deep into Mexico following his presumed attack on Columbus, New Mexico.

In some ways evoking aspects of Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms, this is a blood and thunder coming-of-age novel set against a wartime backdrop and narrated by a young (and future silent movie cowboy star) Tom Mix, who on a romantic whim, decides to cross the border and fight with Villa to overthrow Mexico’s despotic president.

I believe I reread this novel perhaps six times within a year of its 1982 release. Irving also knows something about effectively mixing fact and fiction as the convicted (and incarcerated) author of the notoriously fake Autobiography of Howard Hughes.

By Clifford Irving,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tom Mix and Pancho Villa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1913 a young Tom Mix meets revolutionary Pancho Villa and travels with his band across Mexico on a journey that opens his eyes to life, love, violence, and his own illusions


Book cover of Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan

Sam Roggeveen Author Of The Echidna Strategy: Australia's Search for Power and Peace

From my list on understand Asia’s new power politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

A confession: I don’t read a great many books anymore, especially about the region and issue that I focus on. My preferred format for analysis of contemporary events is the long essay supplemented by social media and op-eds. So, rather than offer a selection ripped from today’s Asia headlines, I’ve tried to choose books that I read years (sometimes decades) ago and which stuck with me, books that formed the foundations for my intellectual development, or which just surprised me with their novelty and contrarianism. 

Sam's book list on understand Asia’s new power politics

Sam Roggeveen Why did Sam love this book?

This is not an Asia book at all, but to understand Asia’s geopolitical future, one needs empathy with both China (already discussed) and the US.

To imbibe the spirit of America, I recommend historian Edmund Morris’ highly controversial and unusual portrait of Ronald Reagan. “Dutch” sympathetically recounts Reagan’s quintessentially American story. Morris reveals a quixotic character who dominates the global stage. 

By Edmund Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dutch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The authorized life of Ronald Reagan written by America's most innovative and Pulitzer Prize-winning political biographer. This unprecedented book breaks through all conventional definitions of biography.

'Poor dear. There's nothing between his ears.' So Margaret Thatcher described Ronald Reagan. But the Iron Lady, when in the 'poor dear's' presence, giggled like a schoolgirl. 'One could not talk to him for more than a few minutes without being aware of the ordinariness of his mind,' says Helmut Schmidt. But Mikhail Gorbachev, deconstructor of communism, is now despised by his people, while the most popular boys' name in the former USSR is…


Book cover of Instant Mom

Vanessa McGrady Author Of Rock Needs River: A Memoir About a Very Open Adoption

From my list on adoption and what it means to be a family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t just write stories, I study them. I’ve noticed that nearly every major hero/ine’s journey and epic tale has an adoption component. From Bible stories and Greek myths (adoption worked out well for Moses, not so much for Oedipus) to Star Wars through This Is Us, we humans are obsessed with origin stories. And it’s no wonder: “Where do I come from?” and “Where do I belong?” are questions that confound and comfort us from the time we are tiny until we take our final breath. As an adoptive mother and advocate for continuing contact with birth families, I love stories about adoption, because no two are alike. They give us light and insight into how families are created and what it means to be a family—by blood, by love, and sometimes, the combination of the two.

Vanessa's book list on adoption and what it means to be a family

Vanessa McGrady Why did Vanessa love this book?

First of all, Nia Vardalos is just hilarious. She could write an Ikea assembly brochure and it would probably be side-splitting. But in the book, she tells about being a rising star (a great story on its own) who had it all – except a baby. After a grueling battle with infertility, she eventually came around to the idea of adoption, and started to learn more about the fost-adopt process of taking an older child who is unlikely to reunite with their original family. With great heart, she tells the roller-coaster story of bringing a 3-year-old with attachment challenges into her life—and the inevitable universality of motherhood. “Nothing prepared me for the life I would feel for my child. Nothing prepared me for how quickly it happened for me. And here’s what I just figure out now: no one is ever prepared. In a way, we’re all instant moms.” She’s…

By Nia Vardalos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Instant Mom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Instant Mom, Nia Vardalos, writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, tells her hilarious and poignant road-to-parenting story that eventually leads to her daughter and prompts her to become a major advocate for adoption. Moments after Nia Vardalos finds out she has been nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, she is alone and en route to a fertility clinic, trying yet again for a chance at motherhood. Vardalos chronicles her attempts to have a baby, and how she tries everything-from drinking jugs of green mud tea, to acupuncture, to working…


Book cover of Hollywood Exiles in Europe: The Blacklist and Cold War Film Culture

Frank Krutnik Author Of 'Un-American' Hollywood: Politics and Film in the Blacklist Era

From my list on the Hollywood blacklist.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a film studies scholar from a working-class background (which is pretty rare in UK academia!), I’ve long been fascinated by the Hollywood Left and the prospect of what they could have achieved had they not been expunged from the scene. Many of the social justice causes they embraced—anti-fascism, anti-racism, workers’ rights, etc.resonate very strongly with contemporary concerns. The persecution of these creative workers also serves as an ever-timely warning from history about the importance of maintaining vigilance in the face of totalitarian thinking and systems of oppression. 

Frank's book list on the Hollywood blacklist

Frank Krutnik Why did Frank love this book?

Rebecca Prime is one of the contributors to my book and her book is a fascinating sequel to that volume. It covers the careers of several blacklisted filmmakers who fled Hollywood and America, seeking to find new work and life opportunities in Europe. Impeccably researched and elegantly written, Prime’s study tells the story of a generation of creative workers that was lost to the USA but which made a vital contribution to European and British cinemas. As she details, many of the exiled filmmakers faced almighty personal and professional struggles to adjust to their new circumstances, and while a few (e.g. Joseph Losey and Jules Dassin) would eventually achieve fabulous success, many other exiles found it difficult to secure regular and fulfilling work opportunities or personal happiness.

By Rebecca Prime,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hollywood Exiles in Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rebecca Prime documents the untold story of the American directors, screenwriters, and actors who exiled themselves to Europe as a result of the Hollywood blacklist. During the 1950s and 1960s, these Hollywood emigres directed, wrote, or starred in almost one hundred European productions, their contributions ranging from crime film masterpieces like Du rififi chez les hommes (1955, Jules Dassin, director) to international blockbusters like The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, screenwriters) and acclaimed art films like The Servant (1963, Joseph Losey, director).
At once a lively portrait of a lesser-known American "lost generation" and…


Book cover of Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist

Brian Neve Author Of Film and Politics in America: A Social Tradition

From my list on Hollywood blacklist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Years ago, as part of my research, I interviewed Elia Kazan and Abraham Polonsky, two key figures in the blacklist story, and two men who were on different sides in terms of how they responded to the postwar Congressional investigations. These personal encounters – in New York and Los Angeles – fed a fascination with the anti-Communist purge in Hollywood, its dramaturgy, and the way filmmakers of that generation were caught up in it in different ways. There are more specialized works but the books recommended provide a substantive introduction to this still globally resonant topic, calling attention to the problematic and still difficult relationships between citizenship and cultural identity.

Brian's book list on Hollywood blacklist

Brian Neve Why did Brian love this book?

In Tender Comrades, those with experience of the Blacklist tell their stories, prompted expertly by the editors. The book explores the experiences of around forty individuals who were part of the left-wing and liberal community that thrived in Hollywood from the 1930s and 1940s. They involved themselves in political causes and issues, while contributing to some of the key films of that era. The book also captures first-hand accounts of the dynamics of the ‘naming’ process, and how people responded to it – some of them by leaving the country. It is a fascinating story of the impact of these events on private lives and political choices.

By Patrick McGilligan, Paul Buhle,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tender Comrades as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This text offers an account of the McCarthy era in Hollywood. Using oral history techniques, the authors involve 30 of those who were suppressed and unable to talk at the time, owing to the prevailing anti-Communist witch-hunt.


Book cover of He

Andrew Hook Author Of Candescent Blooms

From my list on fictional stories featuring real life people.

Why am I passionate about this?

The central themes in my own writing have always encompassed those of identity, the nature of reality, and variations on immortality. The lives of ‘celebrities’ touch upon all those themes, albeit through a distorted kaleidoscope where their own lives and the public’s perceptions of their lives intersect and are amplified and a third ‘character’ – that of the composite person, is then brought into existence. I find it fascinating how we can all be myriad people dependent upon who we interact with, and this is heightened when layered over the notion of ‘celebrity’ and fame by association. The books I've chosen act as mirrors to celebrity, but also work as great storytelling.

Andrew's book list on fictional stories featuring real life people

Andrew Hook Why did Andrew love this book?

He is a fictionalized account of the comedian Stan Laurel's life. Being a massive fan of Laurel & Hardy, whose films remain irrepressibly funny to this day, and having read several factual books about Stan and his sidekick, it was a no-brainer to pick this up and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Whilst at times it feels like a ‘tick box’ situation regarding some of the events that an aficionado of Laurel would expect to be covered, at other times it provides an acute insight into the man behind the films. The similarity of the process on show here is so close to Blonde that a comparison is inevitable, and whilst he doesn’t provide the same emotional impact and is quite clinical in the telling, it nevertheless remains an important work in its own right and therefore is highly recommended.

By John Connolly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked He as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An extraordinary recreation of one of the most enduring and beloved partnerships in cinema history: Laurel & Hardy.

Winner of the 2017 Ryan Tubridy Show Listener's Choice Award at the Irish Book Awards.

John Connolly recreates the golden age of Hollywood for an intensely compassionate study of the tension between commercial demands and artistic integrity and the human frailties behind even the greatest of artists.

An extraordinary reimagining of the life of one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known: a man who knew both adoration and humiliation; who loved, and was loved in turn; who betrayed,…


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