I guarantee this will be the most unusual book you read about Hollywood's golden age. Packed into a relatively short, yet informative and very readable account, It uses multiple perspectives to fill in the breadth and depth of that era, never to return. One is based on reviewing a huge collection of what stars wrote about themselves and their lives, in both good and bad books, many now forgotten, but some were surprisingly good and not ghost written. Another is an expert examination (Bannock is a distinguished business economist as well as star-struck) of the economics and business aspects of the dream factory, before, during and after the studio system, including sketches of the moguls, and how and why it broke down. Another is looking at themes, such as the sadness of many private lives of the stars, how racial and ethnic prejudices were gradually overcome, a look at actors who went into politics, and a careful re-examination of the communist witch-hunt, and subsequent blacklisting in the 1940s and its aftermath. There's even a chapter on the meaning of acting. A few of the author's favourites get a whole chapter to themselves, including Errol Flynn, but there are many delightful short portraits, and shrewd judgements of character, acting ability, and career. There are a few superbly chosen photos, but small and black and white. The book is, admittedly, idiosyncratic, and a bit of a patchwork, but that is more of a strength than a weakness. All in all an engaging, enjoyable and educative read.