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About the Author

James B. Stewart is the author of Deep State, Tangled Webs, Heart of a Soldier, Blind Eye, Blood Sport, and the blockbuster Den of Thieves. He is currently a columnist for The New York Times and a professor at Columbia Journalism School. In 1988, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the stock market crash and insider trading.

Rachel Abrams was a media reporter for The New York Times and is now a senior producer and reporter for the television series The New York Times Presents. In 2018, she was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for reporting that exposed sexual harassment and misconduct.


"Redstone has found his Ishmael in James B. Stewart, who has ventured once more into the corporate depths and returned, he writes, with 'an astonishing saga of sex, lies, and betrayal.' His new book, Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy, written with New York Times media reporter Rachel Abrams, joins his earlier probing work on the Walt Disney Co., insider trading, corporate lawyers and the posh netherworld of American business. Imagine a mash-up of King Lear and Weekend at Bernie's, the 1989 movie comedy about two scamps who prop up a cadaver so they can enjoy a weekend at his beach house, with Redstone starring in both title roles." -The Wall Street Journal

"A delicious treat . . . Unscripted is a model of how gracefully to tell the most grotesque of stories: that of the final years of Sumner Redstone . . . I lost some sleep unable to put this book down." - Adam Davidson, New York Times Book Review

"Addicted to Succession? Well, here's the real thing." -The Hollywood Reporter

"Jaw-dropping . . . an epic tale of toxic wealth and greed populated by connivers and manipulators." -The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice

"Has a business book ever made you blush? . . . There's the 90-something billionaire with still-active 'sexual appetites'; the scheming mistresses; threesomes; parked-car encounters; a Sedona love nest; a chief executive who allegedly forced himself on multiple victims; a stolen laptop; shady private investigators; and a cast of characters straight off MTV or another Redstone cable channel. Mixing tight financial reporting with soap-operatic twists and turns, Unscripted makes the amped-up historical fiction of Babylon feel downright chaste by comparison . . . Media insiders and those who followed the Redstone saga will eat this reporting-and some of the other, more comical twists that populate the book-up . . . Unscripted delivers the good." -The Washington Post

"A deeply reported account . . . The story, whose contours would be familiar to fans of the HBO series Succession, stands as a real-life warning to other family dynasties led by powerful founders . . . a masterful job." -Financial Times

"The book is a page-turner-an over-the-top tale of money, power, sex, and relentless scheming to wrest billions away from an old man who in his final years seems to have lost the capacity for just about anything except sex." -Fortune

"Mourning the end of Succession? Unscripted is a real-life equivalent of the popular HBO show, providing a close look at the Redstone family, which owns Paramount Global. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Rachel Abrams and James B. Stewart break down the complex and astonishing narrative of a rich and powerful family and how their personal strifes impacted a major brand." -Men's Health

"A must-read . . . A bombshell new book from two Pulitzer winners reveals some truly shocking storylines within the real-life Succession drama that is the Paramount media empire . . . Abrams, a New York Times investigative reporter, and Stewart, a Times business columnist have written a jaw-dropping yarn." -Daily Beast

"They've written the literary equivalent of a guilty binge-watch, whose eye-widening excess is matched only by the feeling of pleasurable superiority one feels while surveying the moral tawdriness of the mega-rich." -Avenue

"In this riveting, Succesion-esque tale of the fight for control of Paramount Global, James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams weave together a lawsuit, familial conflict, and the lurking Les Moonves." -Vanity Fair

"Blockbuster reporting." -New York Times

"While we're waiting for Succession to come back to the small screen, this new biography of the Redstone family should scratch any lingering itch to learn more about the inner workings of a rich, powerful, and very complicated family." -Town & Country

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