John Jeremiah Sullivan takes us on a funhouse hall-of-mirrors ride through the other side of America - to the Ozarks for a Christian rock festival; to Florida to meet the straggling refugees of MTV's Real World; 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. Simultaneously channeling the gonzo energy of Hunter S. Thompson and the wit and insight of Joan Didion, Sullivan - with a laidback, erudite Southern charm that's all his own - shows us how America really (no, really) lives now.
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The ghost of Mark Twain is evoked in this outstanding collection of essays - Sunday Times
Pulphead is a big, fat, frequently exhilarating collection - Guardian
Pulphead has a ramshackle loquacity, a down-home hyper-eloquence and an off-the-wallishness that is quite distinct - and highly addictive -
The best, and most important collection of magazine writing since David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again - New York Times Book Review
From prehistoric caves to Axl Rose's oxygen chamber, Sullivan's generous, witty voice lights up every page -
The most involving collection of essays to appear in many a year - Harper's Baazar
I was totally blown away by this collection of the new new new journalism, or however many 'news' we’re up to these days. I think I like it as much – at times, even more – than Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never do Again. And that, for me, is saying a lot - Foyles website
The best non-fiction... whether he’s writing about the southern literary tradition or smoking pot in Disneyland, the man is astute, funny and wonderful company - Guardian
The essay collection continues to thrive; of the many I came across this year, the best ... [included] Pulphead - New Statesman
Magnificent ... elegant, engaged and full of feeling... I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve pressed it on - New Statesman
Proof of the power of non-fiction to defamiliarise the ordinary and familiarise the strange... a Cadillac-on-the-freeway tour of Americana - New Statesman
Pulls off quite a trick ... he mines the residual weirdness and oddities of the “other side of America” without ever condescending to his subjects - New Statesman
Slangy, reported, in the moment... a collection of smart and fizzy magazine pieces - Prospect
Of these essays I really, really liked the one on Michael Jackson... Sullivan tells us more interesting stuff in this one essay than everything else I’ve read put together... Sullivan tries to understand the way Jackson thought - Spectator
Simultaneously folksy, modern, curious, confiding and rigorously intellectual - Sunday Times
The Southern editor of the Paris Review can write as scintillatingly about the tea party, Michael Jackson or Hurricane Katrina as he can about rare Southern folk blues or American reality television - The Economist
Of these essays, I really, really liked the one on Michael Jackson. Sullivan tells us more interesting stuff in this one essay than everything else I’ve read put together - the ancestors who were slaves, the scandals, the voice, the way he composed music; Sullivan tries to understand the way Jackson thought - Spectator
John Jeremiah Sullivan isa contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and the southern editor of The Paris Review. He writes for GQ, Harper's Magazine, and Oxford American, and is the author of Blood Horses. Sullivan lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.