The Carpetbaggers Themes
by Harold Robbins

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The Carpetbaggers Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

If The Carpetbaggers has a specific theme it is that only by the most Herculean efforts can an individual overcome the circumstances of his upbringing and lift the dead weight of the past from his shoulders. The Carpetbaggers is, however, the fourth most read book of all time for reasons that transcend theme. It is certainly a well told story, but it reached its extraordinarily large audience because of a combination of circumstances. It satisfies both normal curiosity about behind the scenes in Hollywood and prurient curiosity about the reclusive Howard Hughes. In addition, the extensive use of four-letter words and the scenes of graphic sex and violence certainly gave the work special fascination to its original readers. The Carpetbaggers is, in fact, the best illustration of the Robbins technique of entertaining the lower middle class with tales of the lurid sex lives of the rich and famous, showing his readers just how revolting life can be in the fast lane. Readers get a chance to enjoy pornography without having to admit that they do or that it has anything to do with their own uneventful lives.