This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me): Billionaires in the Wild

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Overview

The billionaire Russian “oiligarch” whose replica of Czar Alexander II’s yacht plies a vast man-made Crimean lake, brimming not with water but billions of gallons of petroleum from his own pipeline…

The packaged-suttee mogul Sir Sith Ram Pramba, who sliced the top off Mount Everest and installed it on his terrace atop a Park Avenue apartment building…

The heir to a California railroad spike fortune who uses a private cross-country tunnel, ...

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Overview

The billionaire Russian “oiligarch” whose replica of Czar Alexander II’s yacht plies a vast man-made Crimean lake, brimming not with water but billions of gallons of petroleum from his own pipeline…

The packaged-suttee mogul Sir Sith Ram Pramba, who sliced the top off Mount Everest and installed it on his terrace atop a Park Avenue apartment building…

The heir to a California railroad spike fortune who uses a private cross-country tunnel, assembled from giant redwoods laid end to end, for 120-mph runs in cars from his exotic équipe between San Francisco and New York…

The vast Montana lodge where Gulfstreams land in the living room and an ex-CIA drone ferries fresh casks of Côtes du Rhône along the three-mile route between the wine cellar and the dining hall…

The unsinkable forty-room polystyrene iceberg cum floating vacation retreat where Claude Ste. Nervous, the Quebec Styrofoam king, cruises the Arctic Ocean in high summer and, riding on his tamed polar bear, hunts for baby seals…

These and dozens more of that new breed of swashbuckling post-millennial Midases dedicated to self-indulgent fun—whatever the cost in money, ecological mayhem, environmental devastation, and other such nuisances—are celebrated in This Land Was Made for You and Me (but Mostly Me), this lavishly illustrated chronicle that nobody expected or even wanted, but that Bruce McCall and David Letterman went ahead and created anyway.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/30/2013
Writer and illustrator McCall and late night talk-show monarch Letterman have teamed up to offer a scathing and hilarious look at horrible fictional monuments built by wealthy members of the “one percent” to “ransack Nature’s bounty for the private pleasure of the demanding few.”) These include the only Montana hunting lodge with its own indoor airport (built by the heir to the “SwillMart discount” fortune); the rolling home-on-the road Gyro-Ball Rollerhome Lifesphere Mark I; an Olympic-size Jacuzzi powered by “the southwest Pacific’s first and only nuclear power plant”; and a three-thousand-mile-long tube built from hollowed out giant redwood trees featuring a private highway running straight from San Francisco to New York City. Those familiar with McCall’s cover paintings for the New Yorker will delight in his illustrations, each featuring a smooth precision that serves to underscore the hideous nature of each project. But Letterman is the real surprise here. Unshackled from the bonds of TV monologue jokes or top 10 lists, his dispassionate accounts of these monumental horrors display a ruthless precision that evokes humorist Robert Benchley, especially in his use of names, such as “millionaire ex-Department of Indian Affairs Casino Graft Director Huckster Frunk Jr. Sr.” Agent: Erin Malone, WME. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
A busman's holiday through the imagined, exaggerated playgrounds of the unconscionably rich. The subjects of this gorgeously illustrated, drolly written satire are those who combine stratospheric wealth with zero social conscience. As the introduction puts it, "Because it takes more than money and privilege and cronies in all the right places to ransack Nature's bounty for the private pleasure of the demanding few, a kind of sublime idiocy is needed to obliterate what always was and make out what never existed before." Though the credits never specify who did what, the art that carries this project is plainly that of McCall, who has some 50 covers of the New Yorker to his credit. Taking second billing is TV host Letterman, whose previous books have generally sprung from bits or trivia on his program. Many of these short chapters could have worked even better as video shorts or as graphic narrative, since the writing generally supports the visuals rather than vice versa. The acknowledgements credit "Amanda McCall's indispensable role" in coordinating the project; she is one co-author's daughter and long worked for the other. What we have here is an entire globe turned into kind of a prefabricated Las Vegas for the superrich, with one famous landmark rechristened the "Taj Me-All," while other diversions include bison paintball, nude golf and a pyromaniac's construction of the world's longest fireplace: "It's the only domestic hearth in America with its own fire department, on alert 24/7 to monitor the more than sixty blazes simultaneously crackling away day and night." There's also a scam that "has…made billions overestimating the intelligence and underestimating the gullibility of the international art scene." And the Godlandia theme park, where a top attraction "features a mechanical Peeping Tom caveman being shooed away from ogling a naked Eve in the Garden of Eden by a righteous mechanical Adam." Lightweight, mostly amusing fare.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399163685
  • Publisher: Blue Rider Press
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 209,967
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce McCall is a Canadian expatriate who began his career in a commercial art studio, switched to journalism and then advertising, and began writing and painting humorous subjects in the seventies, first with National Lampoon and ultimately for The New Yorker, where he has done fifty covers. McCall has published six previous books, including Thin Ice, a memoir about growing up Canadian. He lives in New York City.
 
David Letterman is an American television host.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    This book's illustrator, Bruce McCall, cracks wise about liberal

    This book's illustrator, Bruce McCall, cracks wise about liberals in a Nov. 5 NY Times article about this book: ' “George Soros is a liberal, too,” [McCall] said. “You don’t have to be stupid and poor to be a liberal.” '

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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