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Published by Writelife on April 22nd 2010
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Eva McLelland was good at keeping secrets, and she had a big one. Sworn to secrecy for thirty-one years until the death of her husband, Eva was at last able to come forward and share a story that turns twentieth century history on its head and fills in puzzling blanks in the mysterious life of the tycoon Howard Hughes.
How could Hughes appear to witnesses as an emaciated, long finger-nailed, mental incompetent, yet fly a jet aircraft four months later? How could a doctor describe him as looking like a "prisoner of war," when at the same time investment bankers, politicians, and diplomats who met him said he was articulate and well-groomed?
The answer is a perfect example of the brilliance of the elusive billionaire. He simply found a mentally incompetent man to impersonate him, drawing the attention of the Internal Revenue Service and an army of lawyers who pursued him, while he conducted his business in peace from Panama with his new wife, Eva McLelland. Sound fantastic? It is. However, after seven years of research and verification, Eva's story produces the final pieces in the mysterious puzzle that was Howard Hughes.
This is the very unusual, highly debated story of what happened to Howard Hughes after he “died”.
An elderly lady, Eva Renee McLelland, claims that she had been married to a man who was the real Howard Hughes for over 30 years, and the authors share her story, their research, and tries to prove that Eva’s story is the correct one.
As much as I want to write my thoughts about whether or not I believe the story, this review is not about that, but about the book itself. It’s well documented and researched (though some of the “proof” to me wasn’t really proof – showing a small, grainy, black and white photograph of Howard Hughes and one of “Nic” – the man supposed to be the real Howard Hughes – isn’t proof to me. You can see anything you want to see in a photograph. Boxes is definitely a fascinating read and a must read for anyone who is at all curious about Howard Hughes life (which always just struck me as sad, overall. The incredible life he led, yet how many people really loved him?) I do hope that Eva’s story was true, because that meant that Howard eventually got some peace and love in his life.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: