Author Diana Altman's books are listed below. Short stories and articles can be found from the menu. Movie stills from the early days of the movie business and soon there will be video clips.


Set in an era when unwed mothers were shamed and pressured into giving their newborns away, We Never Told is a slice of America when the Hollywood lifestyle was at its height. That era still haunts us today, because those babies did not disappear; they grew up and went searching. Sonya is determined to unearth her glamorous mother’s secret, but when she finally does, she discovers something much worse than those around her ever could have imagined. 

In its finely observed depiction of family dynamics, We Never Told reminds me of Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping or Richard Ford’s Canada. This is a compelling novel that deserves to be widely read. 
-Graham Hillard, editor of the Cumberland River Review


In Theda Bara's Tent by Diana Altman


When Harry Sirkus loses his parents in a factory fire, he is taken from the Lower East Side to New England and abandoned at the Elizabeth Home for Destitute Children.

In Theda Bara’s Tent follows the spirited boy’s quest for love and prosperity. He finds comfort at the movies and is befriended by the young theater owner, Louie, who will one day become a Hollywood legend.

The orphanage closing is the beginning of Harry’s adventures in a wider world. He encounters screen stars, Tin Pan Alley song pluggers, bootleggers, dare-devil cameramen, movie moguls, and a young gossip columnist who steals his heart.

Rich in historical context, with a cast of characters real and imagined from the movies’ early days, this page-turner follows Harry Sirkus as he makes a mark in the flourishing film industry and goes on to become a famous news broadcaster. Harry’s personality is so captivating and vivid readers will be hard-pressed to remember that the author made him up.

Award-Winning Finalist in the Historical Fiction category of the 2011 International Book Awards.

Hollywood East by Diana Altman

Louis B. Mayer and the origins of the studio system

Hollywood East tells the story of how the movies evolved as a business—a business controlled from the Eastern seaboard. As Diana Altman notes, “Hollywood was a pretty face but New York was the heart and lungs.”

Franchot Tone screen test


A gallery of photos from the early days of the movie business and the stars who made it great.

Franchot Tone's screen test directed in 1932 by Al Altman
at the Fox Studio on 10th Avenue & 54th Street.



Diana Altman

© 2010 Diana Altman. All rights reserved.

designed by Doug Barron