American Rhapsody Hardcover – Large Print, Dec 2000
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American Rhapsody is a gleeful act of outrage, simultaneously an assault on the Clintons and a bridge-burning, tell-all Hollywood memoir in the wicked spirit of You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again. Joe Eszterhas's narrative is a torrent of consciousness with no consistent sense of direction, but it all erupts from a plausible organising principle best articulated in the chapter "Bubba in Pig Heaven": Hollywood is where Clinton really belongs. The author claims Bill watches Blazing Saddles six times a year, and says that Gennifer Flowers got him blazing by enacting a Sharon-Stone-like crotch-shot scene years before Basic Instinct.
The Lewinsky saga really should be ho-hum by now, but American Rhapsody's Evel-Knievel-like leaps of free association and mad brio breathe life into it. You've never been properly introduced to Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg until you've read "The Ratwoman and the Bag Lady of Sleaze", its uproarious take on the pair. American Rhapsody gives dozens of stars time in the sweaty spotlight: Matt "the Scavenger" Drudge, heroic Larry Flynt (whose threat to report Republican scandals Eszterhas credits with quashing impeachment)--almost every big political scandal victim in memory. And there are lots of Hollywood types behaving badly: Bob Dylan, Warren Beatty, Ronald Reagan, Farrah Fawcett, Sharon Stone, Robert Evans, Sly Stallone (who wanted to portray Jesus onscreen), and even Joe Eszterhas. The fantasy chapters, printed in boldface, are sometimes funny (e.g., "Kenneth W. Starr Confesses"), but mostly they're both over the top and below the belt (e.g., "Willard Comes Clean", the confessions of the president's penis). What holds your interest is the main narrative, a heady mix of showbiz gossip, personal essay, and Lester-Bangs-style prose mania. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
A loud belch commands attention. So will this hyped, bombastic take on the Clinton presidency from Eszterhas, screenwriter of Showgirls, Flashdance, Basic Instinct and other scarlet highlights in film history. Eszterhas knows how to write. His prose sizzles and spits across these hot pages to the hip rhythms of the gonzo journalism pioneered by Rolling Stone, where Eszterhas made his name some 30 years back. Much of the book is outrageously funny, particularly to readers with a healthy inner snickering teen. It's also flagrantly self-righteous, a finger-wagging indictment of how the hopes of the 1960s-embodied, to Eszterhas, in Clinton, the "first rock and roll American president," "one of us"-went astray as the mind and heart of the chief executive were waylaid by the demanding presidential penis, which, according to Eszterhas (by way of Gennifer Flowers), the commander in chief refers to as "Willard." That bit of info, plus many others equally titillating but nearly as trivial, testifies to the prodigious research that apparently went into this volume ("apparently" because it lacks bibliography and footnotes; it also features explicitly fictional chapters from the viewpoints of assorted principals, including one voiced by Willard). As Eszterhas casts the past 50 American years as a battle between forces dark (Nixon, Reagan, Packwood-i.e., Republicans) and light (the counterculture, James Carville, Larry Flynt), he makes minor news: who knew that Clinton and Monica engaged in oral-anal contact? that Nixon also had a young assistant named Monica? that the same man shot both Vernon Jordan and Larry Flynt? He also sharpens some significant points and sledgehammers them home-points about the confluence of Hollywood (on which this book is also memoir/commentary) and Washington; about how, like a Don Juan with syphilis, the '60s carried in their very excess the seed of self-destruction; about how individuals can shape history (e.g., the role of Larry Flynt in saving Clinton from conviction by the Senate in his impeachment trial, and so the nation from what Eszterhas sees as a potential coup d'etat). But gonzo guy that he is, along the way Eszterhas not only names but calls them, as he thrashes a host of celebrities, from Sharon Stone to Bob Dole and Linda Tripp. It's as if every drop of bile and brain fluid sloshing through Eszterhas has dripped into this book-a manic, mouthy, self-indulgent, impossible to ignore lament for America. 200,000 first printing; first serial to Talk. (Aug. 18)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I am one who is generally both revolted and amused by the tabloids, and shows like Entertainment Television. But I could not put this book down. The book is informative and revealing, and I found myself lauging out loud and cringing, often while reading the same paragraph. I particularly enjoyed the moments where Eszterhas reflects on his own life; it's probably the most engaging aspect of the book. Expecting to find a smutty and over the top tell-all, I found something rich in intelligent, values-based writing.
If Eszterhas hits a high mark with his larger point, AMERICAN RHAPSODY's own excess keep it from greatness. Its excesses cannot be found in the book's dirty language, rumor-mongering and other trashy aspects. Eszterhas uses those things with more artistic merit here than he does in his movies. But Eszterhas needs an editor.Read more ›
AMERICAN RHAPSODY is a powerful, bawdy, brilliant, full-frontal excoriation of Bill Clinton's almost-personal betrayal of the author's hopes and expectations. Because Bubba lied to America - about sex, his preoccupation with it, and his tawdry affair with the First Bimbo, Monica Lewinsky. Joe claims the bulk of the narrative is based on well-researched facts, though there's no bibliography of primary source material - a key omission, perhaps. Several of the chapters, presented in bold type, are admittedly fictitious monologues ascribed to several key players in this red, white and blue soap opera.
As Eszterhas explores Bubba's promiscuity specifically, and that of Washington and Hollywood in general, the lead roles are reserved for Bill, "Willard", and Monica. The supporting cast is otherwise extensive: Hillary, Bob Dole, John McCain, James Carville, Arianna Huffington (the "Sorceress"), Matt Drudge, Linda Tripp (the "Ratwoman"), Ken Starr, Bob Packwood, Sharon Stone, Warren Beatty, Larry Flynt, and Vernon Jordan, plus cameos by Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, and a bevy of others.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
For all the hype surrounding the celebrity revelations in "American Rhapsody", its biggest shock is the excellence of its writing. Read morePublished on July 27 2001 by Erin O'Brien
This book just rambles on and on and never seems to end. I don't think I have ever been so disappointed in a book. Since I started to read it, I feel like I have to finish it. Read morePublished on May 21 2001 by TStonebraker
This book is screamingly funny. Dont go into politics whilst Joe is still alivePublished on April 1 2001
By Dan Moreland
This book purports to rip the lid off the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and pull no punches. Read more
Esterhas's Rhapsody is the Bonfire of the Vanities of the New Millenium! His pulse on Hollywood and Washington D.C. is simply astonishing! Read morePublished on March 6 2001 by John A. Testa
The first novel from the screenwriter of "Basic Instinct" and "Showgirls" is this lewd, lurid recounting of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2001 by David Montgomery
Incredibly funny...but a dagger thru "President" Clintons heart...and his "willard"!! ! Haven't read a book as cynically funny since Catch-22. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2001
The juxtaposition of a reading of this work of fiction? and a watching of The rat Pack on TCM was so-o-o-o unreal. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2001 by M J Cameron
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