Hill of Beans: A Novel of War and Celluloid


Product Details

$27.95  $25.99
High Road Books
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.1 X 1.2 inches | 1.35 pounds
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About the Author

Leslie Epstein was born in Los Angeles to a family of film makers --his father and uncle co-wrote dozens of films including The Man who Came to Dinner, Arsenic and Old Lace, Strawberry Blonde, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Casablanca--and films make up much of the subject matter of his fiction. He earned an undergraduate degree at Yale and a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford. He is the author of Hill of Beans: A Novel of War and Celluloid, P.D. Kimerakov, The Steinway Quintet Plus Four, Regina, GOLDKORN TALES, Pinto and Sons, Pandaemonium, Ice Fire Water: A Leib Goldkorn Cocktail, San Remo Drive, and The Eighth Wonder of the World. His novel King of the Jews, a classic of Holocaust Fiction, was published in eleven foreign languages; his stage adaptation was produced by the Huntington Theatre Company and the Olney Theatre. He's received Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships, an award for Distinction in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a residency at the Rockefeller Institute at Bellagio, and grants from the Ingram Merrill Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Director of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University for over thirty years, he currently teaches fiction.


"Hill of Beans is a provocative read about the complexity of Hollywood."--Sadie Leite, The Tufts Daily
"The novel is a tragicomic tightrope act, a fantastical oral history told from the perspectives of an array of players in and out of the Casablanca saga."--Neil Giordano, The Arts Fuse
"It's a blisteringly funny, fictional farce using the film's famous production woes as the backdrop for a bawdy espionage adventure boasting an all-star cast of world leaders and movie-industry icons, with the fate of the free world hanging in the balance."--Sean Burns, WBUR The ARTery
"Like its predecessors, Leslie Epstein's twelfth book is filled with unique energy and megaphone voice that never stops from the first page to last."--Mark Bernheim, Jewish Book Council
"Not unlike Casablanca itself, Epstein's distinct narrative elements coalesce to deliver a cinematic reading experience."--Isabella B. Cho, The Harvard Crimson

"Weaves history and real life characters seamlessly into the fabric of fiction with a typical tight focus on the evils of the Holocaust and its repercussions across time."--Tom Meek, The Patriot Ledger [Quincy, MA]
"This sense of the utterly serious and the humorously ironic, so present in the writing of Leslie Epstein's father and uncle, carries through into his own writing as well. Subtitled A Novel of War and Celluloid, Hill of Beans is filled not only with imaginatively rich accounts of the political history of the era, but it overflows with fascinating film sagas."--Charles Munitz, Jewish Journal
"Leslie Epstein's new novel is a behind-the-scenes Hollywood comedy involving his father and uncle, real-life Hollywood screenwriters. It's also a scathing look at 1940s global realpolitik, from the terrible machinations inside Hitler's Third Reich to scenes of FDR, Churchill, and Stalin mixing wisecracks and threats in summits and screenings alike."--Joel Brown, BU Today
"Comedic and elegiac, farcical and tragic, complex and engrossing, Leslie Epstein's Hill of Beans is an energetic and entertaining depiction of the symbiotic relationship between moviemaking and warmongering. This detailed and imaginative representation of Hollywood dynamics and military events, before and during World War II, is revealed through the minds and motives of multiple characters."--Margaret Porter, author of Beautiful Invention: A Novel of Hedy Lamarr

"Leslie Epstein spins a captivating tale, a supple mix of history and fiction that will delight lovers of wartime drama, studio lore, and the outsize personalities of old Hollywood."--Noah Isenberg, author of We'll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most Beloved Movie
"Packed with a master's class worth of history and whiplash and laugh-out-loud funny Judaic black humor, Hill of Beans is a Pynchonesque blend of the serious and the absurd, not so much counterfactual as factual-plus--a novel that weaves a must-read, behind-the-scenes story of America making war while Hollywood makes movies."--Thomas Doherty, author of Show Trial: Hollywood, HUAC, and the Birth of the Blacklist