To America with Love

To America with Love

by A.A. Gill
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A celebrated British provocateur and Vanity Fair columnist serves up an “immensely entertaining book inspired by his love and knowledge of America” (Sunday Times, London).

IN TO AMERICA WITH LOVE, celebrated British provocateur and Vanity Fair colum­nist A. A. Gill traverses the Atlantic to become the freshest chronicler of

Overview

A celebrated British provocateur and Vanity Fair columnist serves up an “immensely entertaining book inspired by his love and knowledge of America” (Sunday Times, London).

IN TO AMERICA WITH LOVE, celebrated British provocateur and Vanity Fair colum­nist A. A. Gill traverses the Atlantic to become the freshest chronicler of American identity in recent memory. With a fiery temper, a sharp-tongued wit, and an insatiable curiosity to figure out what makes more than 300 million of the world’s population tick, Gill traces the history and logic of our nation’s habits, collecting wild stories and startling facts along the way. From Colorado, where he meets a local vegeta­tion expert and learns which flowers were in Poca­hontas’s nuptial bouquet, to Kentucky, where he visits the Creationist Museum and drinks moonshine with a hog farmer, and to Harlem, where he misses a turn and stumbles into the wrong barbershop for a once-in-a-lifetime haircut, Gill embarks on a tour of not only the nation’s landscape but also its psyche, playing adventurer, philosopher, statistician, and raconteur all at once. In inimitable fashion he explains why pressing a button in a Manhattan elevator means entering a social contract of American etiquette and inverting conventional hierarchies of space; why browsing through Playboy centerfolds becomes the perfect litmus test for a generation’s political views; and how Hollywood is the metaphysical marketplace for movies, the place where Americans are sold on American romance and taught how to dream the American dream.

Weaving together a tapestry of historical erudition and outrageous anecdotes, Gill ultimately captures the scope and spirit of a nation that started off as a conceptual experiment and became a political, sci­entific, and cultural fortress. This humorous and revelatory book shows us why we are who we are by transforming ordinary experiences into extraordinary lessons and promising to never let us look in the mirror the same way again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A fine comparison between American “swivel-eyed,” plainspoken audacity and Old World “inertia and precedent” veers into a witty, albeit gushing tribute in the hands of Scottish-born Vanity Fair contributing editor Gill (A.A. Gill Is Further Away). Mostly a resident of London but a frequent visitor to America, Gill has apparently evolved into a rather admiring apologist for many of the eccentricities of his home away from home. He devotes his stylistically jaunty essays to defending the country’s earnest belief in government by the people, as well as its brashness of character, frank celebration of success, sublime sense of nature, and childish delight in speechifying and hucksterism, among other things. While some Europeans pooh-pooh Americans for being ignorant and unintellectual, Gill celebrates the latter’s refreshing lack of cynicism, reminding his blasé, sour-grapes colleagues back in the Old World that many of their “brightest and most idealistic” ancestors chose to emigrate to the States (engendering the best universities in the world, as well as the most memorable speeches in English). Americans’ love of independence (e.g., cowboys on the open range), skyscrapers, philanthropy, and movies elicits some truly cheeky, tear-swiping observations by Gill, though he is most eloquent when describing his first encounter with the Appalachian folk of eastern Kentucky while visiting an American cousin in the mid-1970s as an art student at Slade. This is a wonderful work by a besotted, biting observer; we’re glad he’s on our side. Agents: Charlie Campbell and Ed Victor, Ed Victory Literary Agency. (July)
From the Publisher
“This immensely entertaining [book] inspired by his love and knowledge of America provides a welcome reminder of his gifts.”

“He’s as craftily observant and intelligently witty as ever... illuminating stuff.”

“[A] surprisingly evocative meditation [that] showcases Mr. Gill's gifts as a writer of rude invective, hyperbolic description and splenetic asides. . . . An idiosyncratic voice all his own.”

“The fun lies in wondering which next innocuous comment will cause him to blow his top.”

“Witty, well-written satire.”

“Gill bristles with outrageous originality about cliched topics. . . . He balances droll bombast with surprising outbursts of admiration for the British way. . . . Gill's caustic ruminations often veer into over-the-top hyperbole, but these essays, brimming with incendiary certitude, also offer nuggets of truth.”

The Sunday Times (London)
This immensely entertaining [book] inspired by his love and knowledge of America provides a welcome reminder of his gifts.
Nick Rennison
The New York Times on The Angry Island - Richard B. Woodward
“The fun lies in wondering which next innocuous comment will cause him to blow his top.”
The New York Times Book Review on The Angry Island - Michiko Kakutani
“[A] surprisingly evocative meditation [that] showcases Mr. Gill's gifts as a writer of rude invective, hyperbolic description and splenetic asides. . . . An idiosyncratic voice all his own.”
Esquire UK
“He’s as craftily observant and intelligently witty as ever... illuminating stuff.”
Deseret Morning News on The Angry Island

“Witty, well-written satire.”
Dennis Lythgoe
The Sunday Times (London) - Nick Rennison
“This immensely entertaining [book] inspired by his love and knowledge of America provides a welcome reminder of his gifts.”
Deseret Morning News on The Angry Island - Dennis Lythgoe
“Witty, well-written satire.”
Kirkus Reviews
An ardent mash note to the vast, vital nation that confounds and beguiles its European cousins in equal measure. Gill (A.A. Gill Is Further Away, 2012, etc.) celebrates America's natural bounty, its lack of pretention and hidebound tradition, the dizzying diversity of its people and its startling capacity for invention in a series of witty, discursive considerations of the national character, as reflected by such American signifiers as guns, skyscrapers, movies and moonshine. The author provides engrossing accounts of historical events, including the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the Scopes Monkey trial, distinguished by richly drawn portraits of the familiar figures involved and Gill's erudite but accessible prose style, which flits from arresting profundity to cheeky humor to wrenching pathos. The collection alternates memoir with examinations of American history and institutions; Gill's tales of his encounters with Appalachian moonshiners and Harlem barbers are warmly funny and rendered with the attention to detail of a fine short story. The author never condescends to his subjects or settles for juicy anecdotes; his brief is an appreciation of America as an expression of the sublime, a transcendent emotional response to the world that goes beyond the studied, safely curated idea of "beauty" as idealized by Old World European culture. Gill finds the sublime in American thought, writing and art, in its love of talk and argument, in its refusal to venerate the past above the promise of the future, in all of its lunatic variety and conflict and ambition. It's a passionate, richly literary love letter to a place and idea that remains unique in the history of the world. A stirring, funny, thought-provoking appreciation of the place, the idea, the experiment, the United States of America.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416596219
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
07/09/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

Richard B. Woodward
“The fun lies in wondering which next innocuous comment will cause him to blow his top.”
Michiko Kakutani
“[A] surprisingly evocative meditation [that] showcases Mr. Gill's gifts as a writer of rude invective, hyperbolic description and splenetic asides. . . . An idiosyncratic voice all his own.”
Nick Rennison
“This immensely entertaining [book] inspired by his love and knowledge of America provides a welcome reminder of his gifts.”
Dennis Lythgoe
“Witty, well-written satire.”

Meet the Author

A.A. Gill was born in Edinburgh, but has lived in London for most of his life. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >