Hollywood Off Guard: A High-Spirited, Humorous, and Hilariously Illustrated Expose of Hollywood Stars Caught Off Guard

Arnold Hartpence, Author, Robert L. Oshman, Author Hippocrene Books $11.95 (227p) ISBN 978-0-87052-360-1
First novelist Hartpence makes good use of his 20 years' experience in the African oil business. Before hero Charley Collins becomes head of the Congo operations of the American-African Oil Company (AMAFCO) in 1961 he's already had quite a life as an air ace for the RAF, a POW in Germany and a rising star in AMAFCO's postwar expansion. In a long flashback he deals with Nazis, a few outraged husbands, some ruthless competitors, dangerous African nationalists anddeadliest of allenemies in the New York home office. The climax finds Collins flying planes in Tshombe's successful quashing of the Katanga revolt. The book works best in showing the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by oil company executives before African independence, big business power games and the savage violence perpetrated by all sides in 1960s Congo politics. If Charley fails to scrutinize either his continual philanderinghis French wife is ""continental'' and understandingor his loyalty to AMAFCO (and its profitability), it may be because he's typical of a whole breed of postwar expatriates. Hartpence has a real knack for mixing sex, politics and big business into a readable brew. (May 25)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
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