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on 9 August 2016
A fascinating story of four drunken, promiscuous, selfish, destructive and talented actors. I enjoyed this book from start to finish. Just when you thought the behaviour of these thugs could not get any worse it often did and certainly got no better. Women were treated like shagging material and casually cast aside in their scores when they had served their brief purpose. Faithful wives were treated appallingly. The exception being the spoilt, demanding, drunken Elizabeth Taylor who screwed Richard Burton, in every sense, till the end of their two marriages. A former husband of Taylor, Eddie Fisher, said a $50,000 diamond would please her for only a few days.

They got away with their destructive behaviour - smashing up restaurants and hotels was their forte - because of the adulation, amounting to a societal disease, that we accord to those we deem to be celebrities. But Nemesis stalked them in the form of alcohol. Their daily consumption, throughout their days and much of their nights, was gargantuan. And when the party was over their end was pitiful as they deteriorated in body and mind.

Yet this was a story with lessons offered to rest of us. Most of us, certainly myself, lead constricted lives, anxious to please, concerned about our reputations. These four renegades defied authority, ignored the restrictions of society and lived life without restraint. Having read their
stories I found myself wondering if I too could benefit from being a lot less ready to submit to the petty tyranies that are visited on us. The
book is full of stories that will make you laugh and at other times your skin will crawl. And, as another reviewer rightly said, they are so
different to the bland celebrities of today and the telling of their banal activities.

If you want an entertaining escape into lives so outrageous that they seem to recognise no limits then this is the book to provide it.
5 people found this helpful
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on 19 October 2014
An interesting read of the boozy ways of four well known actors the book takes us through each decade with lurid tales switching from actor to actor, in this way where they come across each other it works quite well. I would imagine quite a lot of research went into to this and its does make for interesting reading; entertaining, if repetitive, stories of unbelievable antics.
Some people may think these actors had some deep troubles to drive them to booze it up so much, perhaps Richard Burton did (he was married to Elizabeth Taylor after all) but the rest seem to have just done it because the enjoyed it and they hated the thought of living a conventional life.
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on 13 February 2014
I LOVED this book. So much so, that I couldn't put it down, and consequently, found myself giggling at the bawdy, boozed up antics of Ollie and Co. at three in the morning when any sane person would have been snoring! Being an avid film fan, it made me dig out my old DVDs and watch these titans of the silver screen with fresh eyes. Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed were one-offs: amazing actors, razor-witted raconteurs and above all, down to earth, honest to goodness human beings who took life by the scruff of the neck and gave it a darned good shake. Sadly, I fear we will never see their like again...
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on 1 March 2014
If you remember the bygone times when people had fun , without giving a s*** about what the rest of the world thought , then this is the book for you . Packed full of tales of afternoons on the lash that had me laughing out loud . Stories that make you regard the four men mentioned within , more as naughty schoolboys having a giggle than a menace to society . There's no way half of it could be done today because of the way society frowns upon you having fun . At the end of the day , they didn't kill anyone , just got hammered and had fun . The book is truly the stuff legend is made of
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on 17 August 2017
Being of a certain age (almost 50) I missed the best stories that they created. But I grew up with some great films, played out on a rainy afternoon. These were all larger than life stars, the sort we'll never see again, and I loved the stories in this book that brought back a few good memories !!
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on 21 February 2013
What a life they all led! The only puzzling thing is why they all lived as long as they did, given their monumental consumption of alcohol over many decades. And Peter O'Toole is still standing! Heaven only knows how they ever managed to work into the bargain. You know their lifestyle was clearly destructive, and definitely not to be followed or recommended, you can't help but have a sneaking admiration for their fortitude, and what-the-hell attitude to life. At the same time, I don't think I'd have ever wanted to be at one of their parties!
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on 26 February 2013
As another has said, Hellraisers definitely puts the luvvie, stuck up stars of today to shame. At the height of their fame Burton, O'Toole, Reed and Harris could be found drinking in an average pub with your average Joe, not at a top class establishment surrounded by 7ft bodyguards.
This book was funny, interesting and entertaining and can make you feel as though you yourself are a bit boring! These four men lived their lives to the full and reading this book its surprising how they could even stand up before the camera after the sheer amount of booze they would consume!
The reason I gave it four stars is that in my opinion the book concentrated too much on their drunken antics and not enough on their career's and other area's of their lives.
While these four men were world class drunks they were much much more than that also but reading this book you don't really get a sense of that.
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on 24 March 2016
An entertaining and eye-opening read about the lives and antics of four famous British thesps who were very over fond of the bottle. Clearly many of their antics were somewhat hellish for others who experienced them and no-one would have been wanting to use their livers for a transplant. A fun read if you're on holiday etc.
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on 25 April 2016
Really enjoyed this book. Some great stories in here which provided a laugh and pause for thought on occasion. In my opinion the book tailed off a little in the 80's onwards but all of the burton tales were highly amusing. This book would be an ideal holiday read.
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on 22 November 2013
This book wasn't quite as thought it might be. The author skipped from one well known drunk to another in a rather haphazard fashion. As I always liked Richard Burton, I found myself skipping the others sometimes to get to the next bit about him, then went back to the others later, yes a bit haphazard I know. Having said this, I did find it quite enjoyable and a bit irritating at the same time.
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