American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot

American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot

4.4 241
by Craig Ferguson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and,

…  See more details below

Overview

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: in 1993, the washed-up Ferguson washed up in the United States. Finally sober, Ferguson landed a breakthrough part on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, a success that eventually led to his role as the host of CBS's The Late Late Show. By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008, just before his command performance for the president at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

The subtitle "Improbable Adventures" actually understates the skittish life path of this book's author. Late, Late Show host Craig Ferguson was born in Glasgow, where he walked mean streets, performed in a punk band called Bastards from Hell, and appeared in alternative comedy clubs as Bing Hitler. From those unremunerative enterprises, he lurched into temporary occupations as a construction worker, a bouncer, and a bartender. In that last job, he seemed to have found his true tragic calling. He became his own best customer, rapidly lapsing into a downward spiral of alcohol and drugs that nearly killed him. Somehow he not only survived and recovered; he found a new career, a new country, and a new sense of purpose. Heartfelt, fun, and inspiring.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061959158
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/22/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
153,979
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

Keith Olbermann
“Funny and poignant and inspirational and brilliant. Nowhere in his story of emigration and redemption does Craig Ferguson realize that as lucky as he thinks he is to be ‘American on Purpose,’ we are luckier still to have him.”
Carrie Fisher
“A great read . . . almost as good as my memoir.”
Dennis Lehane
“With American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson somehow manages to avoid the pitfalls of self-indulgence and self-importance that plague most (okay, all) Hollywood autobiographies. He has, instead, written a book that is hilarious and irrepressibly daft, yet also kind, poignant, and undeniably wise. It was a joy to read.”

Meet the Author

Craig Ferguson is the host of The Late Late Show. He is the author of the novel Between the Bridge and the River and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

American on Purpose 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 241 reviews.
leanne97 More than 1 year ago
I rarely read for pleasure; most of the time it's research or academically related. I picked this book up because I enjoy Craig. It was entertaining, kept my attention, and I read this book cover to cover in about 48 hours. I struggle with attention and focus anyway, but I loved this book. Craig has lived such a life and he is a very gifted storyteller. I can't wait to read his other book(s). I urge you to pick this book up today.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
American On Purpose is Craig Ferguson's story of how he traveled from a childhood in Scotland to a career in Hollywood, an American citizenship, and a descent into and recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Though Ferguson is a comic, the story is mostly told with heartfelt, straightforward honesty. He comes across as a likable guy who made some mistakes along the way, but who never gave up on his dreams. The story offers some interesting and fresh insights into addiction and takes us behind the scenes in Hollywood movie production. I enjoyed this book and ended it feeling like Ferguson is a regular guy I'd be happy to know. I especially liked the love and respect with which he describes both his friendships and his marriages. Ferguson is a regular guy who still managed to achieve his big dreams through persistence, surrounding himself with people who believed in him, and clear self-reflection. I listened to the audio version of American On Purpose read by Craig Ferguson himself. He mentions in the book the positive affect his Scottish accent has on the ladies. Does it ever! The gorgeous Scottish burr is easy on the ears and hearing him tell his own story adds a nice depth and sincerity. I recommend listening to this book if possible.
spv More than 1 year ago
I have vague memories of Steve Allen and Jack Parr. Mostly Johnny Carson entertained me. Johnny was warm and funny and enjoyed his guests. His was quick and bright and funny. But you never felt like you knew him. Here in is the difference, I think the man you see on the TV, this Scotsman from Glasgow, lets you in on his reality. That is why I wanted to hear him read his words; to see if I was right. I am so I was! No one's life is easy, surely not his, but he makes no apologies for it...it is what it is. He said something like, his son and he grow out of their mistakes. Isn't that lovely? His explanation of what addition was/is like for him is probably one of the best I have heard. Oh, don't doubt it, he is really glad to be an American. Is it a "tell all" book? Yes, about himself. No about others, he changes the names of people where he feels appropriate. Who is this for? If you are listening to it, those who like the Scottish burr. People who like memoirs. People who like a bit of a giggle. People that like him on TV and want to know more about the man; like did you know he wrote a novel before this book? Oh,all of you who like a good story told in the first person, read the book! For you vampire lovers, he likes them and likes to play them. What more can I say? I love this story and will listen to it again in future...just to make sure I didn't miss anything the first time. That is my story and I am sticking to it! (Oh, if you have have watched the program, you know Craig does have to be bleeped something....he is not bleeped here but it is not excessive and is part of who he is. Just do a mental bleep and go on. Of course I now have another book to add to my evergreen and growing list...yes, I gotta read that first book!)
M_L_Gooch_SPHR More than 1 year ago
First off - it has long been one of show business's little secrets that Craig is the best of the late night hosts. And has been for many years. The creativity and talent he exhibits nightly is now captured in the pages of this book. I looked forward to its printing and was well pleased with the results. If someone buys this book expecting a yuk a minute they will be disappointed. It is not a "joke book". It is however, a very funny book. I expect that with the way his mind works, it couldn't be anything else. While I appreciated the humor and the honesty of the book; more than anything, I appreciated the inspirational aspect. It is truly inspiring from many levels and many angles. I hope you find this review helpful. Michael L. Gooch Author of Wingtips with Spurs
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
American on Purpose is an amazing memoir written by Craig Ferguson. From reading this book, I respect this man even more than I did before. Even though he had lots of rough times in his life, he still made his dreams come true. He is a very humble man, and he doesn't take his second chance at life for granted. That really shines through in his book. This book is funny and heart-felt. It will have you captivated from page 1. Even if you are not a fan of his show (The Late Late Show on CBS at 11:38 PM CT) you will love his memoir. Highly recommended!!!
Alla_S More than 1 year ago
In "American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot," Craig Ferguson, perhaps best known as the host of "The Late Late Show" on CBS or as the endearingly mean English boss on "The Drew Carey Show," hilariously but poignantly details his journey and the obstacles he has had to overcome in his life to achieve his lifelong ambition-immigrate to the U.S. and work in the entertainment industry. Born in Scotland, Ferguson underwent all the usual problems of adolescence-excessive drinks, drugs, partying, and sets of unsuccessful relationships. He quit school at the tender age of sixteen, mainly just to avoid the bullying, but clueless as to which course to take. Spots in punk rock bands and bartending followed. Ferguson's ultimate foray into the entertainment industry came unexpectedly, as he was working in a Scottish pub one night and one of the customers offered him to participate in a talent contest. After Ferguson successfully completed his first ever stand-up comedy performance, his life took an unexpected but exciting new course. However Craig's alcoholism, depression, and loneliness threatened to ruin it all. Beautifully written, Craig Ferguson's story represents the realization of the ultimate American dream-success in the country where anything is possible. Overall, the book is a very enjoyable read and Craig's story is easy to relate to. I especially enjoyed the second half of the book where Ferguson touched upon the workings of Hollywood and his new American life. I found this book to be inspirational, with Ferguson's life serving as proof for his advice in the beginning of the story-failures, however numerous they might be, are still important parts of the ultimate success.
SteveHC More than 1 year ago
I won't repeat what so many others have already said, but wanted to add my 5-star vote to the group here. American On Purpose by Craig Ferguson is well worth reading, regardless of whether or not you are a fan of his television work. Although I'd say that its title says a lot about it, it's also a book that's educational, inspiring, honest, and thoroughly entertaining all wrapped up together and written in Mr. Feruson's trademarked down-to-earth style. That makes it, at least for me, one of the very best modern autobiographical works that I've ever read, PERIOD. Once I picked it up I just could not seem to put it down. If you are even just considering this book, BUY it. You'll love it!
over_par More than 1 year ago
...then you'll be a fan of the book. It's his life on paper and it shows us the reasons why he is as successful and hilarious today. He doesn't shy away from his battles with alcoholism either. A good book for someone who can only read a little here and a little there. Enjoy.
lou1biggs More than 1 year ago
Reading this book was like having someone tell you a story...it's written in a rambling way that takes its time to get to the point. I did enjoy this book and laughed out loud quite a few times. Would definitely recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Honest and funny! I am not an avid reader but couldn't put this one down. Love his storytelling. It is what it is. All stories don't need explosions or heart wrenching background music to convey the intensity of the events. He conveyed the major downs in his life without actually making you feel like inhaling a gallon of ice cream to feel better. Can't wait to read his next book!
edofarrell More than 1 year ago
Ferguson obviously overcame a lot to reach his current position. He hints at it in the book, but it is obvious he never lost his work ethic, even in the depths of his alcoholism. That is what ultimately saved him. A good read and a lot of fun as well. I could have done without some of the name dropping, but that is to be expected in a piece such as this. Worth the read. Worth the money.
KidNurse More than 1 year ago
One of the appeals of Craig Ferguson is his honesty and willingness to "tell it like it is". He certainly does that in his book, and listening to him read his book and be able to put inflections where he wants them is the best way to "read" the book. He talks about Scotland, the US, his youth, this alcoholism, the important women in his life, and his love of the U.S. Endearing, sad, informative and LOL funny all at the same time, you get a sense of what it is like to grow up somewhere else, and why you should be proud to be an American. He also explains alcoholism (and it's destructiveness in his life) better than anything else I have ever read or heard. This CD (it's content combined with his accent) gives insight into why 74% of Marie-Claire readers rated Craig as the Late-Night talk show host they would most like to sleep with! LOVE the accent combined with the honesty. Can't wait for the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it amazing that Craig Ferguson survived his lifestyle and became what he is today! A great read.
Neil_Collins More than 1 year ago
"It's a great day for America everybody!" in a thick Scottish borough is how TV's Craig Ferguson begins his monologue each weeknight. As host of The Late Late Show, Craig follows David Letterman, spinning his unique and very different style of late night comedy. Fans of the show are well aware that the Glasgow native is now a naturalized American, and a recovering alcoholic, but few have known the whole story. American On Purpose is a fascinating memoir, a cautionary tale, and a damned funny adventure into the world that formed what is possibly one of the most clever wits on television today. Without reveling in the past Ferguson manages to highlight just enough of the debauchery to let us see how it took hold of him. He opens his failings and weaknesses to examination without ever glorifying mistakes; humanizing himself and calling it what it is. With amazing humor and clarity, the story carries the reader along as each story unfolds. Ferguson is a master story teller, and has well succeeded taking those stories to the page. At times, I could almost hear his borough as the vivid pictures came to life and the killer ducks chased through the park. While it's true that I'm a sucker for anyone who finds the strength to admit they need help, and the courage to walk out their recovery; I also have little stomach for those who use it like a badge of achievement in Hollywood. Craig never does, but rather has the honesty and humility to do it day by day and let himself become a reminder that it can be done. American On Purpose makes that crystal clear, while still entertaining the reader. I highly recommend this book to any and all, especially if you are or care about someone struggling with addiction. Even if not, it's a great read. My copy was signed in person and will be one of my treasured possessions.
Ruestor More than 1 year ago
From the depths of debauchery to the heights of becoming an American Citizen; Craig stumbles, trips, crawls, and flies through each "phase" of his existence. Ferguson takes the reader from "OMG, and he is still breathing" to "Wow!, it is NEVER to late to turn ones life around." Craig deftly maneuvers through each startling event in his life with candor and humor. The later to help the reader garner enough courage to move on to the next chapter. This book is a study of over-indulgence, failures, triumphs and perseverance. If ever there was a book to inspire troubled souls who see themselves as losers with no way out, American On Purpose comes to their rescue. It is hard to fathom how one of the more talented and funny late night talk show hosts evolved from the individual depicted in this writing. It's a story that belongs in everyone's collection.
wapini More than 1 year ago
Intellectually Craig resonates for a man who didn't finish 'high' school. His obvious intelligence and wit shines through. I loved him on Drew Carey, I love him on Late Late Nite, I hope what is rumored is true, that he is heir to David Letterman. I further hope he writes more, both fiction and non, he makes us see America through fresh eyes.
2Murray2 More than 1 year ago
I have never read a book that I found myself "talking to it". As I read Craigs' challenges and discoveries, I found myself responding out loud to him as if he was in the room talking to me directly. I found him to be a most profound, gutsy, and very passionate person. By the Grace of God he should be 6 feet under, if all of his escapades written about are true!! He is a charm and I am so glad I had the opportunity to read about him. Welcome to the United States Craig!
katjacob More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this novel. I was expecting it to be straight comedy but it was somewhat serious with some comedy mixed in. It was an interesting story.
readtoponder More than 1 year ago
The best book I've read in a long while and I read often. In his writing of 'American on Purpose', Craig Ferguson delves into deeply personal events of his past, both as a young child and as a man growing into his own personality, becomming a man. His road was a fast road, stumbling many times, through rough territory to get to be the person he is today. In this book, Craig Ferguson lives the wild and crazy life some of us dream or wish we could live, but never do. This book gives us a gift of knowing what could happen if we were to abandon our safe, secure, emotionally connected lives for the illusion of the wild and sometimes dangerous life. Through Craig we see that life isn't as the saying goes, "greener on the other side". How does he get through it all? Never a dull moment. I believe that during Craig's rough and difficult road through life, he learned there was a better one somewhere out there. He dusted himself off, picked himself up, and made it to America to finally become "An American on Purpose". He grew into a caring, sensitive, well read, well speaking, 'grown up'. A fantastic choice for "The Late Late Show". I was not surprised at how well, how smooth his writing flowed, nor how it kept you waiting for the next page. When you see Craig Ferguson on his TV show, he is a good speaker, a great story teller, speaks fluidly. Naturally I thought his writing would be the same. This is a wonderful book to read and to share with others. Thank you Craig Ferguson, for showing me a piece of life I've not been a part of. I feel as if I have now been there and returned home safely. I would definitely recommend a Craig Ferguson read anytime. I'm recommending another book, "When Rabbit Howls" by Trudi Chase. Though it's on a completely different subject, however, it keeps your attention and is a fast page turner. Basically about trauma in her life, in large doses, which caused her to have, medically docummented, multiple personalities. At the same time, somewhat similar to "An American on Purpose" because both of these people had to climb out of a mind-altering life that keeps pulling you back. They both were able to get themselves out, to get to their higher and better place.
Dessie41 More than 1 year ago
I've found Craig Ferguson so very funny, and recently through youtube insightful and just down right entertaining. So when his biography came into my store, I did what I rarely do, I checked it out. What a great read. A story that at times made me laugh out loud in the breakroom when everyone else was trying to read. When I was asked why I thought it was so funny? The only way to reply was that it was funny the way that life is funny. Not stand up, though that's in there too. It feels like Craig is sitting across from me and we are sharing a cup of coffee, tea, whatever nonalcoholic beverage of your choice, and we are exchanging the stories of our lives. The ones that we hardly dare to think about, let alone speak out loud. But he does it with a clear and honest voice that I could read all day. He's human, but not whinney, he made me cry, but not because he forced me to. But because I always cry when my friends do, and after "American on Purpose" Craig Ferguson feels like a friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! What an adventure for Craig to share with us. While reading this book, I felt as though Craig was actually telling me his story in person. I wish Craig all the best as he continues his journey through life. Jim McGuinness MD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A true american story with the heart and wit of an amazingly talented and lovable man of our times
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For the head doctor
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just recently became a Craig fan when looking for laugh out loud substance to mix up my days during studying for finals and this book provided me with a much deeper appreciation of the man as not only a comedian but also as a human and American citizen. He is both witty and smart which shine through on the pages and makes for a laugh out loud read and a feel good story line that is hard to ignore and put down. Well done Craig! Definitely a must read for any fan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago