Howard Hughes was one of the world’s most financially successful people. He was one of the most interesting and well-rounded individuals to have ever lived. Known for his career with the Hughes aircraft Company, his experience as an engineer as well as his time as a film director, he spent his lifetime creating a variety of innovations and is known for his peculiarities stemming from a worsening of excessive compulsive disorder. As an interesting historical figure, Hughes has been regularly studied for his legacy and for the impact he had on our world.
What are the Best Books on Howard Hughes to read?
Best Books on Howard Hughes: Our Top 20 Picks
If you’d like to learn more about Howard Hughes there are many perspectives that authors have taken to write about him. Here are some of the best books on Howard Hughes that you may consider:
1. Taking K 129 Russian Operation History
The Taking of K-129 is a book by Josh Dean detailing how the CIA used Howard Hughes and his knowledge to steal one of the most powerful Russian submarines to complete a covert operation. This Cold War era story plays out like the Hunt for red October and shares a true tale of how Howard Hughes spent an expansive amount of his wealth and over six years of his engineering life to steal a nuclear armed Soviet submarine. The top-secret mission entitled project Azorian cost an estimated $800 million and was one of the most daring CIA operations ever completed using Hughes’s reputation the CIA was able to operate an steal the sub right from under the noses of Russian Forces. Read this daring mission report here.
- Authors: Josh Dean (Author)
- Publisher: Dutton Caliber; Illustrated Edition (September 25, 2018)
- Pages: 448 pages
2. Howard Hughes By Peter Harry Brown
Howard Hughes by Peter Harry Brown is a book that details the life and times of one of the most controversial and intriguing figures of the 20th century. Providing details on the way that Howard Hughes developed his billionaire fortune, some of the inventions that he produced as well as his life as a pilot, various aspects of his life are all covered in this interesting and humorous story of his life. It’s been difficult for many authors to penetrate into the world of Howard Hughes with such accuracy. This is one of the first books to intimately explore the details of his life, his experience in Watergate and more. As a notoriously reclusive and secret person, this could be one of the most in-depth versions of the Howard Hughes story ever told.
- Authors: Peter Harry Brown (Author), Pat H. Broeske (Author)
- Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint Edition (November 3, 2004)
- Pages: 528 pages
3. Howard Hughes- His life of madness
Howard Hughes: his life and madness is a book written by Donald L Barlett and James B Steele. This is a book that takes a deep dive into the dashing lifestyle and reclusiveness of this historical figure. The book explores the true shape of Howard Hughes and who he was in every aspect of his life. Including over 80 photographs, this book is written in the same format as the motion picture with Leonardo DiCaprio. Following various events throughout the life of Hughes, this is a book that delivers a historical accurate account detailed chapter by chapter.
- Authors: Donald L. Barlett (Author), James B. Steele (Author)
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Illustrated Edition (September 17, 2004)
- Pages: 688 pages
4. Hughes a Definitive Biography
The definitive biography of Howard Hughes was written by Richard Hack. As a self-proclaimed biography that Hughes would’ve hated, this is a biography that dives deep into his story. The author new Hughes for over 17 years and Hack tells his version of the man and his story. Covering the achievements of his lifetime, how he became the richest man in the United States and more, this is a book with many details you won’t find anywhere else. This is a definitive biography from one of Howard Hughes’s closest friends and a firsthand version of what he was truly like as a person.
- Authors: Richard Hack (Author)
- Publisher: New Millenium (September 1, 2001)
- Pages: 444 pages
5. The Autobiography of Howard Hughes: Confessions of a Billionare:
The autobiography of Howard Hughes and the confessions of an unhappy billionaire is a detail of stories throughout his life. Put together by Clifford Irving, this version of the Howard Hughes story showcases more on his motivation for buying favors of US presidents, working to purchase the whole city of Las Vegas and how he was able to create innovations in the world of science and aviation. Clifford Irving was tasked by Hughes while he was still alive and told to write the story of his life. This feels like the authentic voice of Howard Hughes writing through Clifford Irving. Told from his life in seclusion, the book details more on his death and how Hughes felt as though his employees had stolen billions of dollars from his estate. As one of the most revolutionary and interesting first-hand accounts of Howard Hughes life, we can keep this autobiography as Howard’s version of his own story, told for the first time.
- Authors: Clifford Irving (Author)
- Pages: 389 pages
6. Howard Hughes Airline Informal History
Howard Hughes’ Airline provides the in formal story of the TWA. Robert J. Sterling details the Hughes aircraft Company and what it would’ve been like to work at this company at the time the Hughes was alive. As Howard Hughes is known as one of the most financially successful individuals, working at the Hughes aircraft Company in the year 1932 would have been a highly unique experience. This book details not only what it would’ve been like to work on the TWA but also the types of people that were flying back at this time. As Hughes was breaking world airspeed records, the Airlines that he was running was creating the pilots of tomorrow. As the first great air carrier and the gateway to the rich and elite flying as their main means of travel, this is the portrayal of the company, the people using it and the state of working for Hughes at the time.
- Authors: Robert J Serling (Author)
- Publisher: Lume Books (January 3, 2017)
- Pages: 472 pages
7. Howard Hughes The untold story
Howard Hughes the untold story is written by Peter Harry Brown. This is a biography that details some of the most controversial aspects of his life. Even though he was a political influencer known for his ties to Watergate, he was also a billionaire playboy and major movie maker. Howard Hughes has many chapters involved in his life and it’s difficult to see the details behind each of these amazing careers that he had. Few people have been able to get close to Hughes but this untold story goes into some of the first-hand accounts of Howard Hughes from people that were closest to him. With even his death cloaked in a mystery, this is one of the first books that can penetrate through the walls of secrecy involving Howard Hughes and his complexity.
There are revelations in this biography that will finally help you to feel like you’re getting the full story. As Howard Hughes was an extremely reclusive powerbroker in America, we can finally begin to see his impact in the influences that he had over the country up until his death.
- Authors: Alex Frith (Author)
- Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd (April 1, 2016)
8. Hughes after aircraft
Hughes after howard shares a story of Howard Hughes after his involvement with the aircraft company. Many people across the world have heard of Howard Hughes but Dr. Kenneth Richardson details what happened in the year 1953 in which Howard Hughes disappeared from his own company. The Hughes aircraft Company began in the year 1932 and it quickly became one of the largest sellers of military electronics in the entire world. This book explores the complex mechanisms in place that led Howard Hughes to leave his own company and just how on the forefront the company was for its innovation and its electronic prowess.
- Authors: D.Kenneth Richardson (Author)
- Publisher: Sea Hill Press; Illustrated Edition (July 7, 2011)
- Pages: 496 pages
9. Next to Hughes Behind the downfalll
This intimate love details the tragic downfall of Howard Hughes and how his closest advisor betrayed him. This intimate look details how eccentric Howard Hughes became in the late stages of his life and how his condition continued to worsen. As an extremely influential man throughout American history, not much is known about the state of his decline and some of his final years. This book written by Robert Maheau and friend of Hughes Richard Hack, details the way that Howard Hughes was later on in his life. This look behind the veil truly shows how Hughes continued to operate long after his fall from power.
- Authors: Robert Maheu (Author), Richard Hack (Author)
- Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st Edition (April 1, 1992)
- Pages: 289 pages
10. Investigation Uncovers contested American History
The investigation is a story of a former FBI agent that details connections that Howard Hughes had within American history. Gary Magnesen provides details and the connection between Melvin Dummar and Howard Hughes. That you had a controversial meeting in private which would eventually lead to a handwritten note supposedly from Howard Hughes. The Hughes will apparently named Dummar as his sole heir from this meeting. As Hughes was a billionaire even at the time of his death, this investigation is considered to be one of the greatest American mysteries of all time. Here is truly had one of the most contested wills in American history and in this book you can discover whether Melven Demmar truly is the heir of Howard Hughes.
- Authors: Gary Magnesen (Author)
- Publisher: Barricade Books; 1st Edition (November 1, 2005)
- Pages: 263 pages
11. Secret life of Howard Hughes
Boxes: The secret life of Howard Hughes is a book by Douglas Wellman that uses some of the secret files acquired from the Hughes estate to tell personal stories about Howard Hughes’s life. This is a well documented and well researched read with short stories from the history of Howard Hughes and some of his greatest accomplishments. With accused links to Bugsy Spiegel, the John F. Kennedy murders and more, this is a book that portrays Hughes in an entirely new way and showcases his involvement in US politics is one of the wealthiest people in the United States. With secrets that have remained locked up for over 31 years, this is a book that has some of the most exclusive stories about Howard Hughes and his involvement with the United States government.
- Authors: Douglas Wellman (Author)
- Publisher: WriteLife Publishing; Second Edition, Second edition (March 1, 2016)
- Pages: 320 pages
12. American Legends: The Life of Howard Hughes
American legends and the life of Howard Hughes is produced by Charles River Editors in a complete biography on Howard Hughes. Including inspirational quotes with his view on partners and some of the statements that Hughes would have issued later in his life, this book details his rise to a living folk hero to his eccentric retirement. As a multitalented millionaire making headlines in the late 20s, his company was one of the top producers in the United States by the mid-30s. As one of the most famous people in the United States, he was also one of the world’s first billionaires. Taking the inheritance that he earned in his teens, by middle age he was able to become one of the richest men in America. This book details how Howard Hughes was able to amass an empire, become worldwide yet still be considered close to no one.
- Authors: Charles River Editors (Author)
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 7, 2014)
- Pages: 90 pages
13. Howards Whirlybirds: Pioneering Helicopter exploits
Donald J. Porter looks into the life and times of Howard Hughes from the perspective of aviation first. As Howard Hughes was a politically involved billionaire that was known for his secrecy, the public continue to be fascinated by him and his celebrity status. Behind the scenes and behind all of the secrecy, Hughes was a true innovator. His company was responsible for some of the greatest technological leaps in our world. One of the most historically significant innovations that Howard Hughes and his company made were Hughes helicopters. This division of his airline company has all but fallen into complete secrecy. The Hughes aircraft Company is actually responsible for producing products like the Apache helicopter. The company would produce the first turbine powered light observation vehicle, a light helicopter trainer, handled hot cycle rotorcraft propulsion research and delivered one of the world’s most advanced attack helicopters.
This book details the unseen selection of Howard Hughes company and how it was able to develop some the world’s most innovative helicopters that are still working today. We study the legacy of Howard Hughes and how his company has evolved from the second world war up until the 1980s. Rich with technological breakthroughs and written by technical expert, this is the perfect book on Howard Hughes if you are interested in studying him from a technical mindset and from the perspective innovation in aircraft.
- Authors: Donald J. Porter (Author)
- Publisher: Fonthill Media (October 10, 2013)
- Pages: 338 pages
14. Howard Amazing Hughes
Howard: The amazing Mr. Hughes is a book written by Noah Dietrich. In its newly revised format it details some of the past romantic relationships he had and more into his social life. This biography is a bit different from typical recounts of his life which detail more on his company, his innovations and accomplishments. This is a book that goes further in depth into what it was like to be around Hughes and the meat of his lifestyle. In this biography you can find out more about some of his greatest philosophies, how he lived and what it was like to be around Howard Hughes.
- Authors: Noah Dietrich (Author)
- Publisher: Fawcett (January 1, 1971)
15. Howard Hughes his flying boat
Howard Hugues and his flying boat is a book written by Charles Barton. It details the real story behind Howard Hughes as an aviator and innovative engineer. It was difficult to cover the story of Howard Hughes while he lived but this was one of the first published books on use after his death. It has since been revised with new details. Howard Hughes is one of the world’s most difficult biography subjects as the Hughes organization is a business that has always been wrapped in secrecy. With the nature of the projects that Hughes took on, Hughes employees were forbidden to talk about their work as well as their boss. This biography includes some of the first hand accounts of Hughes employee’s and Associates that were closest to him as he was working. Finding true first-hand accounts of what Howard Hughes was like would have been difficult as Hughes would only allow the publishing company Rosemont Enterprise Inc to publish stories on him. With this publication ban lifted since his death, these accounts from employees leads to one of the clearest pictures of Howard Hughes we know today.
- Authors: Charles Barton (Author)
- Publisher: Charles Barton Inc; Revised Edition (February 1, 1998)
- Pages: 288 pages
16. Howard Hughes Paranoia Palace
Howard Hughes is one of the most enigmatic and famous individuals that lived in the 20th century. He challenged conventions, packs theaters and became one of the world’s foremost aviation experts. From his shattering of airspeed records to becoming one of the world’s first billionaires, Hughes lived an extremely rich life. One of the largest aspects of hues that is misunderstood is the secrecy and his paranoia. This book details the history of our cues including the ugly parts. From his time dating Hollywood starlets in the 1930s and 40s to becoming a casino mogul, we get a full portrait of Howard Hughes and how he completely shaped the United States as it is today.
- Authors: Geoff Schumacher (Author)
- Publisher: Stephens Press LLC; First Edition (February 15, 2008)
- Pages: 296 pages
17. Asylum Howard Hughes
The Asylum of Howard Hughes in the first edition is a book by Jack G. Real and Bille Yenne. It tells the story of one of the wealthiest men in the world and how a plane crash changed his life forever. Starting with his rise and detailing his crash and eventual addiction to drugs, this is the story of how Hughes became more dependent on pain management and how he drew further and further into himself to become a recluse. The details of asylum grow as we learn more about the team that was working to keep Hughes cut off from the surrounding world. We learn more about who he could trust and how he was able to maintain his privacy even as the world grew smaller. Jack Real was one of Howard’s most trusted confidants near the time of his death. Real tells his version of the Howard Hughes story, sparing no detail and sharing the efforts that he made to keep our cues comfortable while he was living in seclusion. Telling a different side of the story about Hughes and his guards, Jack G Real tells a tale of the nearly impossible job that he carried out for years.
- Authors: Jack G. Real (Author)
- Publisher: Xlibris; Illustrated Edition (September 18, 2003)
- Pages: 308 pages
18. Mysterious Howard Hughes revealed
The mysterious Howard Hughes revealed is a book written by Verl L. Frehner and Chuck Waldron. This is an extremely revealing book on Howard Hughes with some of the most complete collections of knowledge on him as a person. With first-hand personal information from his associates included, the book reads as a biographical novel. A variety of the information in this book has previously been held as confidential to employee’s. Working at his company and getting close to Hughes is steeped with mystery to this day. This book has some new accounts that you won’t find anywhere else from employees and those that were closest to Hughes. Shared in a very respectful manner, we can see more of the human characteristics that make up our Hughes than ever before in this biography. If you’ve ever been interested in learning more about the mysterious man that Howard Hughes was, this is a forthright peel behind the mask into the true nature of Howard Hughes and who he was as a man.
- Authors: Verl L. Frehner and Chuck Waldron (Author)
- Publisher: Trafford Publishing (July 6, 2006)
- Pages: 388 pages
Choosing the Best Books on Howard Hughes
If you are interested in learning more about Howard Hughes any of these books could be a great way to get started. It’s possible that you can learn about many different chapters of Howard Hughes life from his time as a mogul and Hollywood playboy to the times that he spent as a daredevil breaking land speed records. With so many chapters to Howard Hughes’s life and an amazing influence that he had over our world, he is completely a historically significant individual that is well worth the subject of study.
Learning more about Howard Hughes can be an inspiring journey, it can how he did take on some of the ideals that helped him to become a success. You can also help you learn some of the history of the formation of the great American dream. The Howard Hughes story also serves as a tale of caution and ‘s although the darker details of his life have remained a secret, some of the books on this list detail some of the uglier sides of a reclusive lifestyle, drug addiction and the eventual fall from grace. Start building your knowledge of Howard Hughes today to find out more about each one of these unique chapters and gain a full perspective on this extremely secretive figure from United States history.