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House of Hilton: From Conrad to Paris: A Drama of Wealth, Power, and Privilege

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This intimate, shocking—and thoroughly unauthorized—portrait of the Hiltons chronicles the family’s amazing odyssey from poverty and obscurity to glory and glamour. From Conrad Hilton, the eccentric “innkeeper to the world” who built a global empire beginning with a fleabag in a dusty Texas backwater, to Paris Hilton, his great-granddaughter, whose fame took off with a sex This intimate, shocking—and thoroughly unauthorized—portrait of the Hiltons chronicles the family’s amazing odyssey from poverty and obscurity to glory and glamour. From Conrad Hilton, the eccentric “innkeeper to the world” who built a global empire beginning with a fleabag in a dusty Texas backwater, to Paris Hilton, his great-granddaughter, whose fame took off with a sex video, House of Hilton is the unauthorized, eye-popping portrait of one of America’s most outrageous dynasties. If you want to know how Paris Hilton became who she is, you have to know where she came from. From scores of candid and exclusive interviews, from private documents and public records, New York Times bestselling author Jerry Oppenheimer has dug deeply into her paternal and maternal family roots to reveal the often shocking, tragic, and comic lives that helped shape the world’s most famous and fabulous “celebutante.” The cast of characters includes Paris’s maternal grandmother, a materialistic “stage mother from hell.” There is Paris’s maternal grandfather, who became an alcoholic housepainter. The life of Paris’s mother, Kathy Hilton, groomed by her mother to be a star and marry rich, is candidly revealed, too, as is that of Paris’s father, Rick, Conrad’s grandson. Paris’s tabloid antics are truly in the Hilton tradition. Set against a glittery Hollywood backdrop—with appearances by stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Natalie Wood, and Joan Collins—House of Hilton brings to light a cornucopia of closely held Hilton family secrets and sexual peccadilloes, such as the many affairs and the nightclub-brawling, boozing, and pill-popping life of Paris’s great-uncle, Nick Hilton. The story of his hellish marriage to Liz Taylor alone rivals any of today’s Hollywood breakups. Behind it all was Conrad Hilton, who built his worldwide empire through the Great Depression while others were jumping out of windows. A devout Catholic publicly, his personal life was that of an unrepentant sinner. His first marriage was to Mary Barron Hilton, a sexy, hard-drinking, gambling Kentucky teenager half Conrad’s age. Wife number two was the gorgeous Zsa Zsa, who, like Paris, was famous for being famous. Their tumultuous marriage and headline-making divorce are revealed here in all their juicy glory. In all, House of Hilton is a gripping American saga, from the fire and passions that built a business empire to the debauchery and amorality passed on from one generation to the next.


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This intimate, shocking—and thoroughly unauthorized—portrait of the Hiltons chronicles the family’s amazing odyssey from poverty and obscurity to glory and glamour. From Conrad Hilton, the eccentric “innkeeper to the world” who built a global empire beginning with a fleabag in a dusty Texas backwater, to Paris Hilton, his great-granddaughter, whose fame took off with a sex This intimate, shocking—and thoroughly unauthorized—portrait of the Hiltons chronicles the family’s amazing odyssey from poverty and obscurity to glory and glamour. From Conrad Hilton, the eccentric “innkeeper to the world” who built a global empire beginning with a fleabag in a dusty Texas backwater, to Paris Hilton, his great-granddaughter, whose fame took off with a sex video, House of Hilton is the unauthorized, eye-popping portrait of one of America’s most outrageous dynasties. If you want to know how Paris Hilton became who she is, you have to know where she came from. From scores of candid and exclusive interviews, from private documents and public records, New York Times bestselling author Jerry Oppenheimer has dug deeply into her paternal and maternal family roots to reveal the often shocking, tragic, and comic lives that helped shape the world’s most famous and fabulous “celebutante.” The cast of characters includes Paris’s maternal grandmother, a materialistic “stage mother from hell.” There is Paris’s maternal grandfather, who became an alcoholic housepainter. The life of Paris’s mother, Kathy Hilton, groomed by her mother to be a star and marry rich, is candidly revealed, too, as is that of Paris’s father, Rick, Conrad’s grandson. Paris’s tabloid antics are truly in the Hilton tradition. Set against a glittery Hollywood backdrop—with appearances by stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Natalie Wood, and Joan Collins—House of Hilton brings to light a cornucopia of closely held Hilton family secrets and sexual peccadilloes, such as the many affairs and the nightclub-brawling, boozing, and pill-popping life of Paris’s great-uncle, Nick Hilton. The story of his hellish marriage to Liz Taylor alone rivals any of today’s Hollywood breakups. Behind it all was Conrad Hilton, who built his worldwide empire through the Great Depression while others were jumping out of windows. A devout Catholic publicly, his personal life was that of an unrepentant sinner. His first marriage was to Mary Barron Hilton, a sexy, hard-drinking, gambling Kentucky teenager half Conrad’s age. Wife number two was the gorgeous Zsa Zsa, who, like Paris, was famous for being famous. Their tumultuous marriage and headline-making divorce are revealed here in all their juicy glory. In all, House of Hilton is a gripping American saga, from the fire and passions that built a business empire to the debauchery and amorality passed on from one generation to the next.

30 review for House of Hilton: From Conrad to Paris: A Drama of Wealth, Power, and Privilege

  1. 4 out of 5

    R Z

    I not-so-guilty-pleasure love the Housewives franchise, and I've heard that the first part of this book is perfect for understanding and and why things like this happen and i just want to know why and how kyle stole kim's goddamn house (which it does not answer because the years are off but whatever this review is just one bad reference after another.) Anyways, read the first part, got what I came for I not-so-guilty-pleasure love the Housewives franchise, and I've heard that the first part of this book is perfect for understanding and and why things like this happen and i just want to know why and how kyle stole kim's goddamn house (which it does not answer because the years are off but whatever this review is just one bad reference after another.) Anyways, read the first part, got what I came for

  2. 4 out of 5

    Feistymonkey

    I read this book because I wanted to know how far south a family had to go before they ended up with a Paris Hilton. Then I realized that I was approaching it from the wrong perspective. Compared to her crazier relatives, there is nothing wrong with Paris Hilton.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dna

    This book was okay. I wanted tabloid trash about rich idiots. It served its purpose.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    This piece of crap was so fun to read!I downloaded it onto my Kindle and I couldn't put it down. It was very interesting because it wasn't about Paris, but about all the relatives and how they came to be. All the females are nuts in that family. This piece of crap was so fun to read!I downloaded it onto my Kindle and I couldn't put it down. It was very interesting because it wasn't about Paris, but about all the relatives and how they came to be. All the females are nuts in that family.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    Lots of interesting information on both the Richards and Hilton families. Really entertaining if you watch the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" because it dishes on Kim and Kyle. Good trashy beach read. Lots of interesting information on both the Richards and Hilton families. Really entertaining if you watch the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" because it dishes on Kim and Kyle. Good trashy beach read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Ok, maybe I'm the only person in my social circle, and family, and town, who does not totally hate Paris Hilton. To me, she's that chick who would always be nice to be when I see her, and if I needed it, she'd give me a ride somewhere if it was on her way. Her geneology is a roller coaster ride of gold-digging women, and playboy bachelors. Having grown up near LA, I have known kids whose parents were so beyond reality in the glamour sense, that these kids had but no option, but to grow up with t Ok, maybe I'm the only person in my social circle, and family, and town, who does not totally hate Paris Hilton. To me, she's that chick who would always be nice to be when I see her, and if I needed it, she'd give me a ride somewhere if it was on her way. Her geneology is a roller coaster ride of gold-digging women, and playboy bachelors. Having grown up near LA, I have known kids whose parents were so beyond reality in the glamour sense, that these kids had but no option, but to grow up with that same mentality. I liked the book, and I still like Paris. So, sue me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    snazzy2008

    In hindsight, I don't know why I checked this book out at the library. Anywho, this was a take along book for my flight to Vegas. The author came off to me sometimes as seedy and sleezy. It appears he surmised most of his information from the Enquirer, Star magazine or gossip. Pros: You will learn a few things about the history of the Hiltons. Cons: After reading the book, it only confirmed what I thought about Paris Hilton: spoiled rich kid born with a silver spoon in her mouth. I thought Paris In hindsight, I don't know why I checked this book out at the library. Anywho, this was a take along book for my flight to Vegas. The author came off to me sometimes as seedy and sleezy. It appears he surmised most of his information from the Enquirer, Star magazine or gossip. Pros: You will learn a few things about the history of the Hiltons. Cons: After reading the book, it only confirmed what I thought about Paris Hilton: spoiled rich kid born with a silver spoon in her mouth. I thought Paris was sort of ditsy, but above all, this girl hustles. Gotta' respect her game.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Corral

    I only got to page 43, but that was 43 pages of horrible people being horrible people and doing horrible things and behaving in horrible ways. I had no idea that Paris Hilton is the way she is because everyone in her family has been the exact same way for generations and generations. Granted, the book is heavily slanted against the Hiltons in general, and it's obvious that much of the information would probably not hold up in court. But whether any of it is true or not, I can't read any more of i I only got to page 43, but that was 43 pages of horrible people being horrible people and doing horrible things and behaving in horrible ways. I had no idea that Paris Hilton is the way she is because everyone in her family has been the exact same way for generations and generations. Granted, the book is heavily slanted against the Hiltons in general, and it's obvious that much of the information would probably not hold up in court. But whether any of it is true or not, I can't read any more of it. It would a good, entertaining trash read for the beach.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David

    Pure trash. And I loved every minute.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tgill

    I'm sashamed by how much I enjoyed this book, but not enough. It was written during the height of Paris Hilton's fame, so the parts about that are hilarious to read now. But most of the book focuses on her insane maternal grandmother and her paternal grand-uncle. Full of juicy nonsense that you have to obviously take with a grain of salt, but he does get most of his sources to agree with having their names put with their gossip. And as a shameful viewer of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that s I'm sashamed by how much I enjoyed this book, but not enough. It was written during the height of Paris Hilton's fame, so the parts about that are hilarious to read now. But most of the book focuses on her insane maternal grandmother and her paternal grand-uncle. Full of juicy nonsense that you have to obviously take with a grain of salt, but he does get most of his sources to agree with having their names put with their gossip. And as a shameful viewer of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that stars two of Paris' aunts a lot of the ridiculousness does hold up.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This was an okay read. The book been talking about Paris then delved into the history of her family. The book ends by going back to Paris. Not much was learned that probably couldn't be uncovered via a web search. The stuff about Big Kathy was interesting and for me explains Kim's never owning up to anything personality. It would have been interesting to learn more about Kim, Kyle and even Nicky. This isn't a book that I'd recommend as most people don't have the capacity to sift through the fill This was an okay read. The book been talking about Paris then delved into the history of her family. The book ends by going back to Paris. Not much was learned that probably couldn't be uncovered via a web search. The stuff about Big Kathy was interesting and for me explains Kim's never owning up to anything personality. It would have been interesting to learn more about Kim, Kyle and even Nicky. This isn't a book that I'd recommend as most people don't have the capacity to sift through the filler and fluff.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Totally gossipy and snarky and who knows if any of it is true. But it was fun!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily Mason

    tbh i only read the first half but let's be real anyone who is reading this book in 2022 is just there for the dated kim and kyle richards gossip anyways thought other GR users were giving it such low ratings because the subject matter itself is trashy, but it's really not very well-written either. very unstructured and scattered, non-linear but creatively so. also, most of the people interviewed seem to be distant exes or the relatives of distant exes. so while i have no problem believing that b tbh i only read the first half but let's be real anyone who is reading this book in 2022 is just there for the dated kim and kyle richards gossip anyways thought other GR users were giving it such low ratings because the subject matter itself is trashy, but it's really not very well-written either. very unstructured and scattered, non-linear but creatively so. also, most of the people interviewed seem to be distant exes or the relatives of distant exes. so while i have no problem believing that big kathy was an insane pimp, you gotta take a grain of salt when it's her ex-husband's second wife that's the informant. juicy, though, and timely as kathy hilton joins RHOBH.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Dobos-Bubno

    Great book Great book.. very interesting.. what a story.. sad.. no wonder Kim is a mess, her mom was a crazy lady!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine

    I came here for the Richards family, and got plenty of dirt. If you're a RHOBH fan, it's worth it. I came here for the Richards family, and got plenty of dirt. If you're a RHOBH fan, it's worth it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melinda Elizabeth

    A wonderful, in depth analysis of celebrity, and how Paris built her media empire off an unfortunate incident with an ex boyfriend… Kidding! Even though Paris is placed prominently on the cover of this book, Paris has very little to do with the content of the tell all. And I’m sure many will be relieved about this! House of Hilton focuses on Conrad Hilton and his fledgling business, and a little about his business philosophies and how he became so successful. There is a lot more involved with hi A wonderful, in depth analysis of celebrity, and how Paris built her media empire off an unfortunate incident with an ex boyfriend… Kidding! Even though Paris is placed prominently on the cover of this book, Paris has very little to do with the content of the tell all. And I’m sure many will be relieved about this! House of Hilton focuses on Conrad Hilton and his fledgling business, and a little about his business philosophies and how he became so successful. There is a lot more involved with his children, Nick, and grandchildren, Rick, than the founder himself. The book also features Paris’ maternal relatives, and the Richard’s family tree will also be enjoyable reading for all of those “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” fans who want to know what makes Kim and Kyle tick… and wow is there some interesting familial pressure catalogued in this book! For fans of Elizabeth Taylor, there’s a substantial exposé of her short lived marriage to Nick, and subsequently, Nicks philandering, business acumen, and descent into depravity. Nick’s story is quite a sad one to read, even in such a ruthless family. The book is very easy to read, and conversational in form, with interviews with Hiltons, friends, and family members. Whilst some of these take a little bit of thinking to determine how precisely they can be an expert in the knowledge and whether their version of events is indeed correct, the interviews provide an “insiders view” into the family.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura Beth

    I seriously don't know where to start with this review. First of all, totally not what I was expecting. I thought it would be more about the Hilton family as a whole and talk about the businesses. Half of the book (the first half) is all about Paris' grandmother on the non-Hilton side. HALF the book. The Hilton half was about Conrad Hilton and Paris's great-uncle (I think) but yet the way people were identified were Paris's so and so. It was written terribly. And it was terribly boring. Don't wa I seriously don't know where to start with this review. First of all, totally not what I was expecting. I thought it would be more about the Hilton family as a whole and talk about the businesses. Half of the book (the first half) is all about Paris' grandmother on the non-Hilton side. HALF the book. The Hilton half was about Conrad Hilton and Paris's great-uncle (I think) but yet the way people were identified were Paris's so and so. It was written terribly. And it was terribly boring. Don't waste your time. If you're a Paris fan - there is nothing in here for you. If you're a Housewives fan - there is nothing in it for you. If you're a business reader - there is nothing in it for you. If you're a history/bio fan - there is nothing in it for you. If you are a fan of salacious stories - well, the author tries. Wild stories but boringly told. Overall, it's really sad and pathetic.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    I enjoyed reading about Kathy Hilton's mother "Big Kathy" because I'd heard about her on various blogs I read that recap the Real HOusewives of Beverly Hills. Holy cow was that woman ever horrible! No wonder Kim Richards has the issues she has. And Kathy Hilton seems to be just like her. Poor Kyle Richards seems the most normal of them. On the Hilton side, the book mostly talked about Conrad and Nicky Hilton. I wanted to read a little more about Rick, Paris's father. Thankfully though, there isn' I enjoyed reading about Kathy Hilton's mother "Big Kathy" because I'd heard about her on various blogs I read that recap the Real HOusewives of Beverly Hills. Holy cow was that woman ever horrible! No wonder Kim Richards has the issues she has. And Kathy Hilton seems to be just like her. Poor Kyle Richards seems the most normal of them. On the Hilton side, the book mostly talked about Conrad and Nicky Hilton. I wanted to read a little more about Rick, Paris's father. Thankfully though, there isn't a lot on Paris. This is the second biography I've recently read about the Hiltons and this one was more sensational; more gossipy. An interesting book if you're a fan of RHOBH and want to know more about the Richards sisters and their mother. But as for the Hilton family, I recommend reading The Hiltons. It was more interesting and less gossipy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Those who know me, know that I love trashy reality television, and that one of my guilty pleasures is Real Housewives. I read this book for two reasons -- one, two housewives are Kyle and Kim Richards, who are Paris Hilton's aunts and written about in this book. Two, I needed a serious palate cleanser after reading Chernow's 900-page Washington biography. This was indeed trashy, but not even really a fun trashy. The organization was terrible and the style was choppy. This is my karma for basical Those who know me, know that I love trashy reality television, and that one of my guilty pleasures is Real Housewives. I read this book for two reasons -- one, two housewives are Kyle and Kim Richards, who are Paris Hilton's aunts and written about in this book. Two, I needed a serious palate cleanser after reading Chernow's 900-page Washington biography. This was indeed trashy, but not even really a fun trashy. The organization was terrible and the style was choppy. This is my karma for basically reading a long gossip blog post.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    I like biographies, and love to learn more 'behind the scenes' information (I'm my own tabloid). With the Hilton family being so famous these days, it was a fun read to see how it all started. The book is very interesting and gives you quite the insight into the family (all the way back to the original Hilton hotel). It was a pretty quick ready. For those of you who like to gossip about the rich & famous, I would recommend reading this. I like biographies, and love to learn more 'behind the scenes' information (I'm my own tabloid). With the Hilton family being so famous these days, it was a fun read to see how it all started. The book is very interesting and gives you quite the insight into the family (all the way back to the original Hilton hotel). It was a pretty quick ready. For those of you who like to gossip about the rich & famous, I would recommend reading this.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angelo Vassallo

    Focused on gossip but with interesting part regarding the origins of the Hilton Empire, from both the side: Paris' mother and father side. Without doubt the father side history is more interesting, especially for the ideas and capacities of Conrad Hilton. In the same time the book help you to understand that maybe in a bed example as Paris, there is always something to learn: the Machiavellian idea that the aim justifies the means. Focused on gossip but with interesting part regarding the origins of the Hilton Empire, from both the side: Paris' mother and father side. Without doubt the father side history is more interesting, especially for the ideas and capacities of Conrad Hilton. In the same time the book help you to understand that maybe in a bed example as Paris, there is always something to learn: the Machiavellian idea that the aim justifies the means.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ngozi O. Nwosu

    Ok, this book was all about the voyuer in me. I did enjoy reading it and if any bit of it is true, "WOW!" is all I can say about the way the Richards sisters were raised. Connie is a very interesting fellow and I appreciate the included background on him. This is not deep reading and I got thru it in a day but it is an interesting peek into the lives of the very wealthy, the wannabe's and what makes them tick that I couldn't resist. Ok, this book was all about the voyuer in me. I did enjoy reading it and if any bit of it is true, "WOW!" is all I can say about the way the Richards sisters were raised. Connie is a very interesting fellow and I appreciate the included background on him. This is not deep reading and I got thru it in a day but it is an interesting peek into the lives of the very wealthy, the wannabe's and what makes them tick that I couldn't resist.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    Hugely salacious and interesting reading - very little about Paris Hilton (fortunately!) with the focus on her matriarchal and patriarchal lineage. Super intriguing for fans (or non-fans) of the Richards sisters of 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' fame. I would have given it five stars because of the fascinating gossip but sadly, the dialogue jumped around and, let's face it, Oppenheimer lists TMZ.com as one of his main sources so it's probably lacking in credibility. Hugely salacious and interesting reading - very little about Paris Hilton (fortunately!) with the focus on her matriarchal and patriarchal lineage. Super intriguing for fans (or non-fans) of the Richards sisters of 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' fame. I would have given it five stars because of the fascinating gossip but sadly, the dialogue jumped around and, let's face it, Oppenheimer lists TMZ.com as one of his main sources so it's probably lacking in credibility.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    A mildly interesting look into the lives of the families from which Paris Hilton came from but this is not a tell-all about her. The first half is about her maternal roots while the second half is about the Hilton clan. It is written with a definite tabloid feel and indeed at the end you are told the research resources were in fact all tabloid trash rags.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Blust

    Kathy Richards-Award for worst Mother in the world-and continued to raise her three daughters to be replicas. Liked the dirt finally dug up about the high and might Richards family. Kyle & Kim jumped on the money trained as soon as Paris did her sex tape for fame. Disgusting family, those women

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I first became aware of PH back in 2000 when she and sister Nicky were featured in Vanity Fair. I remember being outraged by what heinous, bratty, narcissists they were. Having read this book, I see they come from a long line of awful people!!!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    A real gossip fest but this also was educational. I learned so much background on the past lives of Kim and Kyle Richards who are members of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. This book explained so much. It is the real reason why I chose to read this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Elizabeth

    Nice recap of the Hilton family going back generations. I feel the author specifically targeted Paris because of her notoriety at the time. There is not much, I am happy to report, of Paris in the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Loved it! A guilty pleasure to be sure, but also an almost unintentional study of women's roles. Loved it! A guilty pleasure to be sure, but also an almost unintentional study of women's roles.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    Tawdry tale of the biggest media users in generations. Explains some of the dysfunction between the Richards sisters, and some of the shameless promotion done by the entire family.

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