Shocking True Story
Henry E. Scott
The quick rise and nearly as fast fall of Confidential, “the most scandalous scandal magazine in the history of the world,” gets told in this pop-history snapshot of the naughty 1950s. Primarily concerned with digging up dirt on adulterers, homosexuals, interracial couples, and communists, Confidential finally flamed out in a flurry of lawsuits and industry backlash. Author Scott tells the stories behind “the stories behind the stories” in chapters that track famous Confidential headlines, while intercutting a biographical sketch of its publisher Robert Harrison. Knowing that the line between fact and fiction, news and entertainment, is vague at best in Hollywood (“this make believe town, where phonies sell baloney by the yard and adjectives grow like palm trees”), Harrison made a fortune working the game, and providing an example for countless imitators, before management showed him the door.