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By John Jeremiah Sullivan

A New York Times remarkable ebook for 2011
One of Entertainment Weekly's most sensible 10 Nonfiction Books of the yr 2011
A Time Magazine best 10 Nonfiction ebook of 2011
A Boston Globe most sensible Nonfiction e-book of 2011

One of Library Journal's top Books of 2011


A sharp-eyed, uniquely humane journey of America's cultural landscape―from excessive to low to less than low―by the award-winning younger celebrity of the literary nonfiction world.

In Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan takes us on a thrilling journey of our renowned, unpopular, and from time to time thoroughly forgotten tradition. at the same time channeling the gonzo strength of Hunter S. Thompson and the wit and perception of Joan Didion, Sullivan indicates us―with a laidback, erudite Southern allure that is all his own―how we actually (no, fairly) stay now.

In his local Kentucky, Sullivan introduces us to Constantine Rafinesque, a nineteenth-century polymath genius who concocted a dense, fantastical prehistory of the recent international. again nowa days, Sullivan takes us to the Ozarks for a Christian rock competition; to Florida to satisfy the alumni and straggling refugees of MTV's Real international, who've generated their very own self-perpetuating financial system of juvenile famous person; and all around the South at the path of the blues. he is taking us to Indiana to enquire the youth of Michael Jackson and Axl Rose after which to the Gulf Coast within the wake of Katrina―and again back as its citizens confront the BP oil spill.

Gradually, a unifying narrative emerges, a narrative approximately this nation that we have now by no means heard informed this manner. it is like a fun-house hall-of-mirrors journey: Sullivan exhibits us who we're in methods we have by no means alleged to be precise. in fact we do not understand no matter if to snigger or cry while confronted with this reflection―it's our inevitable sob-guffaws that attest to the ability of Sullivan's work.

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He was once useless as 4 o’clock. ” “Who are you men? ” I acknowledged. Ritter spoke back. He used to be massive, a kind of fats males who don’t particularly have any fats, a corrections officer—as i used to be quickly to learn—and a former heavyweight wrestler. He may burst a pineapple in his armpit and snort approximately it (or so I assume). Haircut: army. Mustache: faint. “We’re only a bunch of West Virginia men on fireplace for Christ,” he stated. “I’m Ritter, and this is often Darius, Jake, Bub, and that’s Jake’s brother, Josh. Pee Wee’s round the following someplace. ” “Chasin’ tail,” acknowledged Darius disdainfully. “So you men have simply been placing out right here, saving lives? ” “We’re from West Virginia,” acknowledged Darius back, like perhaps he concept i used to be thick. It was once he who ordinarily spoke for the gang. The projection of his jaw from the lump of snuff he stored there made him come off a piece contentious, yet I felt definite he was once simply high-strung. “See,” Jake acknowledged, “well, our campsite is true over there. ” With a cock of his head he pointed out a automobile, a truck, a tent, a hearth, and a tall move made from logs. And that more thing was once … a PA approach? “We had this spot final year,” Darius stated. “I prayed approximately it. I acknowledged, ‘God, I’d simply quite wish to have that spot again—you recognize, if it’s Your will. ’” I’d assumed that my days at production will be particularly lonely and finish with my ritual homicide. yet those West Virginia men had such heat. It flowed out of them. They requested me what I did and even if I beloved sassafras tea and the way many others I’d introduced with me within the RV. Plus they knew a dude who died horribly and used to be from a country with an identical identify because the river I grew up by way of, and I’m no longer the kind who questions that kind of factor. “What are you men doing later? ” I stated. Bub used to be brief and sturdy; each one of his palms seemed as powerful as a trash compactor. He had darker pores and skin than the rest—an olive cast—with brown hair less than a camouflage hat and brown eyes and a full-fledged darkish mustache. Later he may proportion with me that neighbors frequently instructed him he needs to be “part N-word. ” That was once his phraseology. He was once shy and continually gave the look of he has to be pondering challenging approximately whatever. “Me and Ritter’s going to listen to a few music,” he stated. “What band is it? ” Ritter acknowledged, “Jars of Clay. ” I had examine them; they have been tremendous. “Why don’t you men cease by means of my trailer and get me in your approach? ” I acknowledged. “I’ll be in that completely empty box. ” Ritter acknowledged, “We simply may do this. ” Then all of them covered as much as shake my hand. * * * whereas I waited for Ritter and Bub, I lay in mattress and skim The Silenced occasions via lantern mild. This was once a skinny e-newsletter that had include my competition packet. It wasn’t fairly a e-newsletter; it used to be publisher’s flackery for Silenced, a brand new novel by means of Jerry Jenkins, one of many minds in the back of the multi-hundred-million-dollar Left at the back of series—more than a dozen books thus far, all approximately what occurs after the Rapture, to oldsters like me. His new ebook was once a futuristic task, set in 2047. The dateline at the e-newsletter learn: “March 2, 38. ” Get it? Thirty-seven years have handed due to the fact that they wiped Jesus from heritage.

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