The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood
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About the Author
SAM WASSON is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood and Fosse: The Biography. He lives in Los Angeles.
"The wondrous thing about Sam Wasson's new book is that it feels both necessary and inevitable - as if Chinatown couldn't (or shouldn't) exist without it. Reading The Big Goodbye, something strange happens: it acquires the historical, dizzying, incestuous gravitas of the film itself. Wasson has a habit of making vividly thematic, compassionately revelatory art." - Bruce Wagner, author of Force Majeure and I Met Someone
"Sam Wasson has written a smart, human and utterly engaging book about an iconic American movie. With its rich depiction of 1970s Hollywood, The Big Goodbye is grounded in marvelous reportorial detail and moves with novelistic urgency." - Julie Salamon, author of The Devil's Candy and An Innocent Bystander
"A fascinating dive into Hollywood"
―Maureen Dowd, New York Times
"Chinatown (1974) was a watershed moment in a colorful era of American filmmaking. Wasson looks past the myth to tell the true story of its making."
―USA Today, "Winter Reading Guide: This Season's Must-Read Books"
"If you love Chinatown, then you'll love The Big Goodbye―and it's good reading for any American cinema buff."
"Inimitable Wasson...argues convincingly that Chinatown was one of the last great Hollywood films... this portrait of a neonoir classic will cast a spell over cinephiles."
―Library Journal, starred review
"Wasson...is one of the great chroniclers of Hollywood lore. And he has truly outdone himself this time." - The New York Times
"Wasson's fascinating and page-turning description of the talent and ideas behind "Chinatown" is more than a mere biography of a landmark movie." - Los Angeles Times
"It's impossible not to fall for this love letter to a love letter that pastes together the often sticky collage of how talent plus perseverance can equal a classic film." - The Associated Press
"It's the definitive book on Chinatown." - Vanity Fair
"[THE BIG GOODBYE] is as fine an unwrapping of the moviemaking process as I've read." - Airmail
The Big Goodbye is a graceful and worthwhile elegy to a time dear to those who are lucky enough to remember it...It will be hard to find a better film book published this year. - PopMatters.com
The Big Goodbye is a fun and insightful read about the business of Hollywood and the complex, creative process. - Coachella Valley Weekly
"An absorbing account of the making of 'Chinatown'...Wasson is a stylish chronicler of Hollywood politics... The Big Goodbye evokes the care that went into every frame."- The Economist
"densely textured, well-researched... ...Film fans will love the behind-the-scenes access to movie town legends, and buffs will relish the details. If you need to know the typewriter brand used by Towne, the reason Nicholson was called "The Weaver" when young, or the designer frock worn by Anjelica Huston at the Oscars, this is the book for you." - The Sunday Times
"Cultural historian Sam Wasson swims in the muddy making of the 1974 film, the messy lives of its four main players, and the murky chronicles of L.A.'s studio system and the municipal water wars to produce a page-turner as suspenseful and spellbinding as the Raymond Chandler novel from which the book takes its name." - The AV Club
"Hollywood stories are hardly in short supply, but Sam Wasson can be trusted for some juicy, compelling discoveries. His latest investigates the making of Chinatown...his innovative approach: and assembly of mini-biographies of Roman Polanski, Jack Nicholson, and more, each packed with intriguing revelations." - Entertainment Weekly
"Sam Wasson does a wonderful job with this book... beautiful [and] meticulously researched." - CBS This Weekend
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