Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
"A sharp-eyed, uniquely humane tour of America's cultural landscape--from high to low to lower than low. John Jeremiah Sullivan takes us on an exhilarating tour of our popular, unpopular, and at times completely forgotten culture. Simultaneously channeling the gonzo energy of Hunter S. Thompson and the wit and insight of Joan Didion, Sullivan shows us--with a laidback, erudite Southern charm that's all his own--how we really live now. In his native Kentucky, Sullivan introduces us to Constantine Rafinesque, a nineteenth-century polymath genius who concocted a dense, fantastical prehistory of the New World. Back in modern times, Sullivan takes us to the Ozarks for a Christian rock festival; to Florida to meet the alumni and straggling refugees of MTV's Real World, who've generated their own self-perpetuating economy of minor celebrity; and all across the South on the trail of the blues. He takes us to Indiana to investigate the formative years of Michael Jackson and Axl Rose and then to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Katrina--and back again as its residents confront the BP oil spill. Gradually, a unifying narrative emerges, a story about this country that we've never heard told this way."-- Provided by publisher.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011
ISBN: 9780374532901
Branch Call Number: 814.6 S9499p 2011
Characteristics: 369 p. ;,19 cm


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Feb 25, 2015
  • britprincess1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

John Jeremiah Sullivan's essays were not meant to capture the American experience. They were written and published previously for various publications, then assembled and edited into this book, largely considered one of the few twenty-first century contemporary classics. And yet it flows so fluidly, like one big journey across the states. It picks up on the little clusters across that nation, giving each its fair shake. Sullivan comes from a fortunate place, a long line of wealth and class, which he recognizes openly, but instead of fastening that top button, he leans back and observes with such detail the landscape, acknowledging the harsh truths from which this stick-up-its-butt politically correct atmosphere shies away. He sees it all, too, wandering through the Kentucky hills in the nineteenth century and the Tennessee caves in the "Sahara of the Bozart", painting wildly everything, from the absorbing tales of Michael Jackson and Axl Rose to Sullivan's own experiences at a Tea Party rally and a Christian rock music festival. And, oh, what a wonderful way he weaves his words. Wherever Sullivan goes, you want to follow. You'll want to take a road trip with him, just to hear his take on the vista. I recommend PULPHEAD.

Sep 05, 2012
  • Malinshe rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Really enjoyed this book. There were only a few essays that didnt grab me as much, but on the whole they sucked me in!

Jul 16, 2012
  • annafaraday rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Highly recommend this collection of essays.

Fascinating and hilarious and evocative and surprising.

Mar 12, 2012
  • austinmurphy rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I liked the first two essays, but when he started writing about Axl Rose and the cast of "The Real World", I yawned and moved on.


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Mar 20, 2015
  • britprincess1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"I reminded myself that incessant potential catastrophe is the human condition, is in fact the price of possessing consciousness, and I determined to live with greater ease from now on, and not to let anyone scare me about the future, because the truth is, the worst thing that could ever happen to you is death, and that's going to happen despite all your worry and effort, so it's simply irrational not to say f**k it."


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