Portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the Martin Scorsese movie The Aviator, Howard Hughes is legendary as a playboy and pilot—but he is notorious for what he became: the ultimate mystery man. Citizen Hughes is the New York Times bestselling exposé of Hughes’s hidden life, and a stunning revelation of his “megalomaniac empire in the emperor’s own words” (Newsweek).
At the height of his wealth, power, and invisibility, the world’s richest and most secretive man kept what amounted to a diary. The billionaire commanded his empire by correspondence, scrawling thousands of handwritten memos to unseen henchmen. It was the only time Howard Hughes risked writing down his orders, plans, thoughts, fears, and desires. Hughes claimed the papers were so sensitive—“the very most confidential, almost sacred information as to my innermost activities”—that not even his most trusted aides or executives were allowed to keep the messages he sent them. But in the early-morning hours of June 5, 1974, unknown burglars staged a daring break-in at Hughes’s supposedly impregnable headquarters and escaped with all the confidential files. Despite a top-secret FBI investigation and a million-dollar CIA buyback bid, none of the stolen secret papers were ever found—until investigative reporter Michael Drosnin cracked the case.
In Citizen Hughes, Drosnin reveals the true story of the great Hughes heist—and of the real Howard Hughes. Based on nearly ten thousand never-before-published documents, more than three thousand in Hughes’s own handwriting, Citizen Hughes is far more than a biography, or even an unwilling autobiography. It is a startling record of the secret history of our times.
“A story of breadth and depth, scope and flavor . . . A terrifying portrait of power gone berserk.” —Chicago Tribune
“Reveals a Howard Hughes who is far more evil than we might have known before.” —New York Times
“Direct access to the mind of a callous and frightened man.”
“Sensational: one of the best 'truth is stranger than fiction' stories of all time.”
“Remarkable . . . the mysterious Howard Hughes is exposed in his own strident memos.”
—San Francisco Chronicle