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Revenge of the Donut Boys: True Stories of Lust, Fame, Survival and Multiple Personality

Overview

Mike Sager has turned tabloid news into magazine pieces that were some of the most admired journalism in two decades. From his landmark story “The Devil and John Holmes” to his Rick James piece, this new collection focuses on the dark side of American life, including an intimate glimpse of Roseanne Barr’s multiple personality disorder and hanging out on the road with death metal gods. Sager is the anthropologist of places we can only imagine and would rather not visit.

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Overview

Mike Sager has turned tabloid news into magazine pieces that were some of the most admired journalism in two decades. From his landmark story “The Devil and John Holmes” to his Rick James piece, this new collection focuses on the dark side of American life, including an intimate glimpse of Roseanne Barr’s multiple personality disorder and hanging out on the road with death metal gods. Sager is the anthropologist of places we can only imagine and would rather not visit.

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Editorial Reviews

Esquire
The pieces . . . [will] move and entertain you.
Entertainment Weekly
Sager writes in convincingly novelistic detail and supple, pinpoint prose about the inner lives of a high school junior, a 92-year-old man, Slayer fans, swingers, struggling actors, Mike Ditka, and wildfire victims. The title piece is one of his best . . . A-.
Flaunt
The book . . . provides incisive looks into a range of subjects, from music to crime to the swinger lifestyle, with the deft precision that more than twenty years of experience provides.
Cincinnati City Beat
Multi-layered storytelling is what makes Revenge of the Donut Boys: True Stories of Lust, Fame, Survival and Multiple Personality so absorbing. Sager is expert in catching glimpses of the humanity in all of his subjects . . . This collection of stories is a case study for anyone interested in learning the art of literary journalism. But more importantly, it's a masterfully curated collection of that most exquisite of all curios, the human personality. Grade: A-.
Mick Sussman
Like his journalistic precursors Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson, Sager writes frenetic, off-kilter pop-sociological profiles of Americans in all their vulgarity and vitality. But compared with the new journalists, who celebrated the subjectivity of the narrator, Sager is a relatively self-effacing observer. He writes with flair, but only in the service of an omnivorous curiosity. In the articles collected here…the famous, almost famous and not famous all get the same Sager treatment. He is teasingly affectionate…and meticulous… He defies expectations in pieces that lesser writers would play for satire or sensationalism.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Esquirewriter-at-large Sager (Scary Monsters and Super Freaks) demonstrates a lively curiosity about other people's lives, hopes, fears and disappointments in these 17 previously published articles. Sager's nimble celebrity profiles include Emmy winner Roseanne Barr, who attributes her multiple-personality disorder to an abusive mother, but more affecting are the everyday struggles of "almost famous" actors Steve Bean and Lynn Clark, who stay sane in the face of numerous professional rejections. Sager's best pieces showcase people battling nature: aging hippie and sandal-maker Lee Risler cuts off his own arm to free himself from a wrecked van and wears his stump as a badge of honor. Despite some forgetfulness and frailty, 92-year-old widower Glenn Brown Sanberg has a girlfriend with Alzheimer's and writes a weekly newspaper column. In a whimsical yet satisfying search for other Mike Sagers the author finds instant kinship with a police captain, a politician and a preacher. These are savvy, deftly written highlights from a talented career. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Sager plays Virgil in the modern American Inferno. William Carlos Williams wrote "the pure products of America go crazy;" journalist Sager (Esquire, Rolling Stone, GQ) collects an astonishing range of profiles that support the poet's assertion. Quite literally, in some cases: The opening piece on comedienne Roseanne focuses on her oft-proclaimed personality disorder, to alternately amusing and chilling effect. Sager also vividly limns the inner lives (in a manner strongly reminiscent of Tom Wolfe's landmark works of "The New Journalism") of neighbors trapped in a horrific California wildfire; professional beautiful woman Brooke Burke; a man trapped for days in a wrecked van, plumbing the depths of the survival instinct; young and nihilistic Newark teens and pre-teens who have made a sport of stealing cars to wreck them at high speeds (the "Donut Boys" of the title); an aristocratic Renaissance man who finds his skills best suited to butlering; and a host of other American men named Sager, tracked down on a cross-country drive. A few of the articles, such as the heartbreakingly empathic portrait of an accomplished and vital 92-year-old man living out his last days in a bland retirement community, make indelible impressions. The lighter fare, including mordant looks at the world of professional volleyball players and sagging swingers adrift in Florida, is funny and engaging. A profile of erstwhile rapper and current family-film star Ice Cube bristles with the excitement of the then-burgeoning hip-hop community, and is a surprising reminder of what a fierce and focused talent Cube once was-though Sager's earnest explanations of the basic tenets of rap culture are, at this late date,unintentionally funny. Compelling and stylish magazine journalism, rich in novelistic detail. A reminder of what can make sifting through all of those glossy advertisements and subscription cards worthwhile. Agent: Mollie Glick/Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568583501
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 6/29/2007
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Sager was a reporter at the Washington Post under then-metro editor Bob Woodward before leaving to write exclusively for magazines. A former contributing editor at Rolling Stone and GQ, he is currently a writer-at-large for Esquire. He lives in La Jolla, California.

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