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American On Purpose Hardcover – Sep 22 2009

11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (Sept. 22 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061719544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061719547
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #35,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A fine writer, witty, reflective, and candid.... Ferguson is a kinetic cutup teeming with foolishness, brilliance, defiance, and heart. All this is captured in his book as an entertaining connect-the-dots journey.” (Associated Press)

“Hilariously vivid.” (People)

“Funny and poignant and inspirational and brilliant. Nowhere in his story of emigration and redemption does Craig Ferguson realize that as lucky as he thinks he is to be ‘American on Purpose,’ we are luckier still to have him.” (Keith Olbermann)

“With American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson somehow manages to avoid the pitfalls of self-indulgence and self-importance that plague most (okay, all) Hollywood autobiographies. He has, instead, written a book that is hilarious and irrepressibly daft, yet also kind, poignant, and undeniably wise. It was a joy to read.” (Dennis Lehane, author of The Given Day)

“A great read . . . almost as good as my memoir.” (Carrie Fisher, author of Wishful Drinking)

“Ferguson has given us a biographical treatment that is both brutally honest and inspirational…American on Purpose is a book that should be read.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“Hilarious and revealing...witty and emotional.” (The Daily Beast)

From the Back Cover

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: in 1993, the washed-up Ferguson washed up in the United States. Finally sober, Ferguson landed a breakthrough part on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, a success that eventually led to his role as the host of CBS's The Late Late Show. By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008, just before his command performance for the president at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Emma B. on Sept. 26 2009
Format: Hardcover
Given his talent at telling a great story (both in his stand-up, on TV, and in his novel), I had huge expectations for Craig Ferguson's memoir...and I'm extremely happy to say that it completely lived up to it. While there is the occasional story you might've heard before if you're a fan, 99% of the book contains new, funny, touching and brutally honest stories from his childhood in Glasgow to his current life in Hollywood - the very best kind of autobiography, I'd say. I started and finished it in the same day - it's interesting, hilarious and immensely readable.

If you're looking for a behind-the-scenes Hollywood tale, this isn't for you. If you're looking for a fascinating and well-written look at an intelligent, funny and flawed human being, then it's a must-read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Ellis on Jan. 3 2010
Format: Hardcover
absolutely incredible. Craig has been through so much in his life it's almost hard to believe. This book has a lot to say, and if you listen it's got a lot to teach. I love Craig's work, and always have I think he is a delightful personality with a story to tell. I pride Craig on his honesty, and this book doesn't dissapoint. He tells everything as brutally honest as it is, and that is what makes it so special for me. There's a lot of strategically placed humour which brightens up even the darkest of tunnels, but it doesn't sugar coat anything. There inevitably are people who right now suffer from some of what Craig has gone through, and I truly believe that this book has a special healing power. It's a success story and I found that optimism never falters within it. Craig Ferguson has made a name for himself in comedy, and has proved himself time and again as a outstanding actor, comedian, and writer (not to mention incredibly sexy =]) it's hard to even imagine the kind of strength he has to have found a way out of such a vicious circle alive...and not return.

I genuinly love you, Craig and can't belive the journey you took to arrive here, and thank god everything worked out so you COULD be here today. Your comedy has helped me through a lot, and this book may help me through even more.

Love from Canada =)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Geraldine TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 14 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I've always enjoyed watching Craig on TV so I was excited about reading this bio. It's been rather a disappointment overall.

What I didn't like or expect was SO much emphasis on his childhood antics in this book, with a lot of detail about experiences during his early years that he shared with pals. Rather boring and predictable. Yes, of course a bio should include a person's childhood years but this seemed like too much emphasis on those years. I found myself skimming a lot in this part of the book and that's never a good sign.

I read a lot of biographies and this is not one of the memorable ones. And yes, as some other reviewers have mentioned, give this a miss unless you are a solid Craig fan. It would be of no interest to anyone else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By beckster on Jan. 17 2010
Format: Hardcover
Excellent job Craig. Being that I haven't finished a book in 20 years you can imagine my boyfriend's surprise that I had a book my Christmas list. Hearing celebrities read exerpts from Craig's book on the "Late Late Show" made me want to read it even more. It is excellent! Funny, painful, honest. The book follows Craig's life as a sometimes tormented kid in school, growing up with the "inner demons" that almost did him in. Thankfully his made it though that dark period of his life and was able to put pen to paper to share it with us. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Very raw and very honest autobiography of America's funnyman for the 21st century. If you watch the Scottish-American's talk show you know and love his humor. Just don't expect this from his life story. This is more a tale of what not to do as far as sex, drugs and rock and roll. Well, more like relationships, drink and why you shouldn't practice drums in a flat in the UK.

Anyway, Ferguson writes in just as entertaining a style as his patter on "The Late Night Show With Craig Ferguson" but it's more entertainment in the way we stop and watch train wrecks. His personal life pretty much up till his gig on "The Drew Carey Show" and even during parts of that are more full of the "holy crap" moments here we go again, Craigy.

As many of you know he's also the only celebrity I know with any taste at all in music for any of us who grew up in the punk/New Wave '70s and '80s and throughout the book there are some tasty references and encounters with some of the names and lesser knowns of the UK scene at that time. Throw in Craigers ability to explain the whole Rangers vs. Celtic soccer/sectarian rivalry without getting bogged down in semantics, I give him kudos for that (even if he's a Hun bastard...just joking, we're all friends on this side of the Atlantic).

All in all a page turner but the word "enjoyable" would not be one to describe the experience as I said at the start, it's more Trainspotting before it becomes Mr. Ferguson's American Dream.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dave Marder on June 22 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up this book because I had recently watched a live taping of one of Ferguson's shows which I loved. I also know he is in recovery and respect him greatly. A great read for anyone.
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