by John Jeremiah Sullivan
4.1 11

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Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan

A sharp-eyed, uniquely humane tour of America’s cultural landscape—from high to low to lower than low—by the award-winning young star of the literary nonfiction world

In Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan takes us on an exhilarating tour of our popular, unpopular, and at times completely forgotten culture. Simultaneously channeling the gonzo energy of Hunter S. Thompson and the wit and insight of Joan Didion, Sullivan shows us—with a laidback, erudite Southern charm that’s all his own—how we really (no, really) live now.

In his native Kentucky, Sullivan introduces us to Constantine Rafinesque, a nineteenth-century polymath genius who concocted a dense, fantastical prehistory of the New World. Back in modern times, Sullivan takes us to the Ozarks for a Christian rock festival; to Florida to meet the alumni and straggling refugees of MTV’s Real World, who’ve generated their own self-perpetuating economy of minor celebrity; and all across the South on the trail of the blues. He takes us to Indiana to investigate the formative years of Michael Jackson and Axl Rose and then to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Katrina—and back again as its residents confront the BP oil spill.

Gradually, a unifying narrative emerges, a story about this country that we’ve never heard told this way. It’s like a fun-house hall-of-mirrors tour: Sullivan shows us who we are in ways we’ve never imagined to be true. Of course we don’t know whether to laugh or cry when faced with this reflection—it’s our inevitable sob-guffaws that attest to the power of Sullivan’s work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429995047
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 10/25/2011
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 629,645
File size: 385 KB

About the Author

John Jeremiah Sullivan is a writer at large for GQ, a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, and the southern editor of The Paris Review. He is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award for emerging writers and a National Magazine Award for feature writing. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, he currently lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with his wife and two daughters. He is the author of Blood Horses (FSG, 2004).

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Pulphead 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
LaurenBDavis More than 1 year ago
Splendid essays -- insightful, well-researched, poignant and often funny as hell. Sullivan, who writes for GQ has an unmistakable voice with hints of Hunter S. Thompson, were that writer sober and less judgmental. The essays on the Tea Party, Andrew Lytle, a Christian Rock Festival and Axel Rose are bloody brilliant. Due to Sullivan's skill, I found myself deeply interested in subjects that, on first glance, I thought might not intrigue me. That's the mark of a wonderful writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So far, Sullivan's work is remarkable. The initial essay regarding the Creation concert observations is written with such crisp detail and intense imagery. It was if you were around that campfire, RV in the background, feasting on frog legs. Nice work!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JJ Sullivan loves America. But not the Hollywood or Wall Street fantasies. These essays focus on minutae and the most intimate glimpses of a side of the US that many of us may be exposed to but few of have vision to see.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sullivan is a good, clear writer with a fine eye for detail, but he's so detached from his subjects, so flat, that it starts to get very boring. As he minutely chronicles the Real World characters for example, you get the feeling that Sullivan is not there. The same is true about his essay on his brother's recovery. There's no sense of Sullivan's response, emotions or presence, yet you're always aware of him, since he writes i n the first person.
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