The Last Magazine: A Novel

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A posthumous debut novel, wry, wise, and outrageous, from award-winning journalist Michael Hastings, based on his experiences working for a National news magazine in the mid-2000s.
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A posthumous debut novel, wry, wise, and outrageous, from award-winning journalist Michael Hastings, based on his experiences working for a National news magazine in the mid-2000s.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Dwight Garner
…fast and funny and humane. When I put it down, it called to be picked up again. Mr. Hastings captures a small but cruel and disorienting era, roughly 2002-7. He zeros in on the American news media's complicity in the rush to war in Iraq, on the withering of venerable brands like Time and Newsweek and on the rise of needling web magazines, run on a shoestring, like Gawker. He gallops through these years like a knight with a long pole on horseback, and he finds plenty to skewer.
Publishers Weekly
Hastings, the late journalist whose 2010 Rolling Stone profile derailed the military career of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, writes about what he knew best—the world of news magazine publishing—in this posthumously published first novel. In 2002, a fictional Michael Hastings is interning at the weekly Magazine (read Newsweek, where the real Hastings once worked), where he bonds with burnt-out foreign correspondent A.E. Peoria. He also becomes involved with an upstart media website,, which calls print journalists “dead tree-ers.” But Hastings is such a passive character that readers may be drawn more to Peoria, who is forced to go on hiatus after an article he writes causes a riot in Iraq. Teaching journalism, he becomes involved with one of his students, a transsexual named Justina with an incredible backstory. Taking place roughly from the second Iraq War to Hurricane Katrina, this novel tries to recreate the last time that print magazines actually mattered. But without a strong protagonist, the novel suffers, especially in comparison to Tom Rachman’s far superior The Imperfectionists. Still, there is enough here to suggest that had Hastings not died in an auto crash in 2013, he would have mastered the novel form as well as he did journalism. (June)
Library Journal
Hastings's 2010 Rolling Stone article "The Runaway General" won the George Polk Award and spurred the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal; it also inspired Hastings's New York Times best-selling The Operators. At the time of his death in a fiery car crash in June 2013, Hastings was reportedly anxious about National Security Agency surveillance, and some press accounts called the crash suspect. This debut novel, retrieved from his files after his death, traces the career of a young journalist named Michael M. Hastings at the Magazine, a publication not unlike Newsweek, where Hastings started as an intern in 2002.
Kirkus Reviews
A posthumous novel about the news business.Hastings (The Operators, 2012, etc.) was one hell of a journalist, covering wars and geopolitical strife for venues like Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed. As it turns out, he would have made a fine novelist had he not died in a car accident in 2013. This "secret" novel was resurrected from his files by his widow, Elise Jordan; it's a messy, caustic and very funny satire. His protagonist is a young journalist also named Mike Hastings, who has just landed his first job at The Magazine in the dying days of traditional journalism. In wry metacommentary scattered throughout the text, the character Mike—who claims he's the one writing this book—reflects on just what it is he's writing. "Maybe I'm talking genres, and maybe the genre is corporate betrayal," he says. "Including the big decision that the entire media world is so interested in: Who and what is left standing?" Hastings, the author, tells the story of how Mike makes the journey from ambitious young man to cynical hack partially by showing us Mike's new friend A.E. Peoria, a classic old-school journalist who fuels his brilliant war reporting with alcohol and drugs and transvestite hookers. In the crevasse between his sanitary cubicle and Peoria's lewd adventures, our hero is also tracking the war of career strategy between his managing editor, Sanders Berman, and the international editor, Nishant Patel, whose favor Mike is carefully currying. Hastings chooses the start of the Iraq War to disrupt Mike's burgeoning career path. "There's war in the backdrop, looming and distant and not real for most of these characters, myself included," Mike says. In a way, the book reflects Hastings' career arc, from unpaid intern at Newsweek to one of the essential war correspondents of his generation.A ribald comedy about doing time in the trenches and the bitter choices that integrity demands.
From the Publisher
“What a novel it is! Tenacity and perseverance were the qualities that helped Hastings become a star reporter for GQ and Rolling Stone, and they inform the novel’s narrative, creating a story as engrossing as it is believable. While the characters are not always likable, they are unfailingly engaging. And the breakneck pace of the narrative is so unrelenting, it makes you wonder if Hastings lived as he wrote.” –Newsweek

“Even from the grave Mr. Hastings has demonstrated anew an ability to reframe the debate. The novel….reads as vivid archaeology that reveals much about the present moment… The milieu of the book paints a picture of a treehouse where like minds connive and look for an opening. But far below them, there is the sound of sawing – steady and implacable. The tree will fall….Remarkable.”—David Carr, The New York Times

“Scathing, funny, rollicking.”—The Barnes and Noble Review

“Frenetic and darkly funny.” – Rolling Stone

“Terrifyingly funny ….entrancing, compelling.” – Shelf Awareness

The Last Magazine is tender and brutal, worldly and inbred, high-minded and gross, smartly rendered and rough around the edges — and quite often hilarious…The Last Magazine is the funniest, most savage takedown of the American news media since Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72, by his hero Hunter S. Thompson.”—James Rosen, The Washington Post

 “[The Last Magazine] is fast and funny and humane. When I put it down, it called to be picked up again.” –Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“What makes this novel work—really, I can’t think of a better little tome to take to the beach—is that it’s just so much fun, so wicked, so amusing, and so brilliantly observed. The caricatures of people living and dead (career-wise) are only part of its charm. I haven’t read a better send-up of hackery since the last time I dove into Evelyn Waugh’s 1938 classic Scoop.”—Christopher Dickey, The Daily Beast

“As a provocative piece of thinly fictionalized nonfiction, [The Last Magazine] is a posthumous mission accomplished…Hastings’s book is a message in a bottle that has belatedly washed up on shore to force us to remember how we landed where we are now.”—Frank Rich, New York Magazine

“That voice. That witty, subversive voice we thought we'd lost, is back for one last romp. Hastings decodes the culture even more incisively in fiction, with wild bursts of imaginative mischief. So damn funny.”—Dave Cullen, New York Times bestselling author of Columbine

“[Hastings’] keen eye for the creatures of the New York media universe focuses on the fabricated lifestyles of that world's desperate inhabitants. Here, no one is immune….The suffering amid the insufferable is comic gold, and Hastings had no time for heroes. The world he created is filled with lost boys stamping their feet for validation. This could be the perfect summer bro comedy. Paging Judd Apatow!”—Mark Guarino, Chicago Tribune
“A convincing account of the perils of war — and of the journalistic wars of an institution under siege from New Media…. The Last Magazine remains a loving account of a profession Hastings believed was honorable and tried to honor. Only the guilty have something to fear.” –Paul Wilner, San Francisco Chronicle
“Surely Michael Hastings would have savored the taste of revenge had he lived to see his first novel, The Last Magazine published…The humor throughout is searing….entertaining.”—Sherryl Connelly, New York Daily News

"Remarkable... Hastings, the novelist, reminds one at times of the early Robert Stone." —Booklist

"A messy, caustic and very funny satire.... A ribald comedy about doing time in the trenches and the bitter choices that integrity demands." —Kirkus

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399169946
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/17/2014
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 364,773
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Hastings

MICHAEL HASTINGS was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and a correspondent at large for BuzzFeed. He covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. Hastings was the author of three books, I Lost My Love in Baghdad, Panic 2012, and The Operators. He died in 2013.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    A fun, somewhat educational read

    Well written, if a bit unusual. Something of a page turner. Easy, fun and maybe a little educational about goings on inside a publication. Recommended for the beach.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 10, 2014

    Definitely a page-turner, reminiscent of Hunter Thompson in depi

    Definitely a page-turner, reminiscent of Hunter Thompson in depicting some of the excesses. The main character, A. E. Peoria, is fascinating and surprisingly sympathetic. The humor isn't the laugh-out-loud variety, much more tongue-in-cheek and sly. While it is clear that he was narrating real events and depicting real people, I never felt he was taking cheap shots at anyone. The real life A. E. Peoria character says as much also. Very glad that I bought the book. I was aware that Hastings was dead before I read it, but was very sad about it when I finished.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2014

    Marginal at best

    Just that - marginal. The book got lost a few times. Many things were left in the air.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2014


    Pads in and hunts.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    Get a pink ipad

    Kiss your and three times post this on three other books and check under your pillow.

    0 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 7 Customer Reviews

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