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Hopper: A Journey Into the American Dreamby Tom Folsom
Synopses & Reviews
James Dean to Hopper
"I saw what you did today. Today you were great."
Jack Nicholson to Hopper
The chopper-riding hippie outlaw in Easy Rider. The prophetic madman in the jungle in Apocalypse Now. The terrifying psychopath in Blue Velvet. The kid gone wrong in Rebel Without a Cause. The actor taken under the wing of James Dean who longed to be the next Orson Welles. The hell-raising director who revolutionized Hollywood. An enigmatic man from Dodge City, Kansas, on an endless quest to realize the American Dream.
Dennis Hopper has been described as a rebel, an icon, an addict plagued by demons, and one of the most important champions of the pop-art movement. Friend to Warhol, muse to David Lynch, mentor to Sean Penn, champion of Ice-T, Dennis Hopper built a career that was a half-century of rebellion waged at the edge of American popular culture.
Tom Folsom's Hopper is a wild ride through Dennis's many lives. Featuring hundreds of interviews with Hopper's fellow actors, artists, musicians, and residents of Taos, New Mexico (where he spent much of his most manic time), as well as his ex-wives and many other people who knew him, Hopper takes you on an extraordinary — and sometimes troubling — journey. From Dennis's early days with his grandparents on a dusty farm in Kansas, where he watched trains go by on their way to Los Angeles, to his formative time in Hollywood as one of a bright new crop of actors straddling the edge of the studio system, to the rebellious 1960s and the start of the independent film movement, to the drug-addled 1970s and beyond, when Hopper staged one of the greatest Hollywood comebacks of all time — Tom Folsom has crafted a biography as unconventional as Dennis Hopper himself.
"Folsom, whose previous works include The Mad Ones and Mr. Untouchable, focuses here on actor Dennis Hopper's monumental successes and failures, like Easy Rider and The Last Movie, respectively, while nicely capturing the essence of other aspects of the actor's life — his Kansas childhood, rehab stints, and pitch-man career — in short, lively vignettes. Though it is nearly impossible to put down on paper the life of a man who was so motivated by visions real and imagined, Folsom does an admirable job capturing Hopper's manic and spirited personality in prose, as when he describes the actor's adopted home of Taos, N.Mex.: 'hidden plateau, damp and lush and glowing iridescent in the hallucinatory light when filtered through the thin alpine air illuminated everything in Technicolor.' Still, even with Folsom's exhaustive research and incisive perception, the book doesn't fully explain the mystery of Dennis Hopper, but that in itself is a fitting homage to this once great yet enigmatic entertainer" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Guns, motorcycles, mug shots, drugs, paintings, madness. Even by Hollywood standards, Dennis Hopper led an extraordinary life…Tom Folsom structures Hopper, his book about the man, in a time-bending, sensational style reminiscent of Hopper's most out-there projects.” Details
“Tom Folsom tears through the life of Dennis Hopper in Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream.” Vanity Fair
“Mr. Folsom plays the part of [Hopper's] spiritual medium, taking us through each chapter of the Kansas-born, James Dean-worshipping, psychedelic psychotics life, describing exactly what was going through the mind of the semi-tragic American almost-hero at each juncture.” New York Observer
“Hip…frank…a rich portrayal of an unconventional, free-wheeling thinker whose checkered experiences shock and beguile on the page.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Fortunately for him, Dennis Hopper has gotten the biographer he deserves. Which is to say, Folsom's gonzo prose pulsates with Hopper's manic energy and fits his madness like a glove.” Peter Biskind, New York Times bestselling author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
“Tom Folsoms Hopper is an electric and rollicking, tour de force profile of Hollywoods great outlaw chameleon. All the wild-eyed stories and high-octane pathos in these pages make me miss the edgy, ‘grand artiste Hopper anew. A knockout book!” Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of Cronkite
“Dennis did a lot for motorcycling with his movie Easy Rider. Folsom has written a book that shows Dennis's life like it was: crazy but brilliant.” Ralph "Sonny" Barger, author of the New York Times bestseller Hell's Angel and former head of the Oakland chapter of the Hell's Angels
“Essential reading for anyone interested in Dennis Hopper, the explosive sixties, Hollywood, American cinema, and the art of the twentieth century. But watch out — this visceral book puts you right in it, and some of it is jaw-dropping.” Philippe Mora, director of Mad Dog Morgan, starring Dennis Hopper
“What a terrific book about Dennis Hopper — he would have loved it and hated it. Beautifully written, stunningly accurate, Hopper captures all the wonderful and terrifying contradictions of the sweet, sad, funny, angry, and loving man that was Dennis.” Henry Jaglom, actor, playwright, and director of Tracks, starring Dennis Hopper
“Dennis Hopper was unlike any human I've ever met: consumed with passion for his subject, aesthetically brave, yet possessing a gentle heart. Though I would have said it couldn't be done, Tom Folsom has captured the real Dennis.” Karen Black, actress and Dennis Hopper's costar in Easy Rider
“Folsom has neatly framed actor Dennis Hopper.” Wall Street Journal
“Folsom carries the reader on a caffeine-and-other-substance-fueled ride.” New York Post
As unconventional a biography as Dennis Hopper was a man, Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream by Tom Folsom charts his roller coaster life and career through the lens of the landscape of American popular culture.
The chopper-riding hippie outlaw in Easy Rider. The prophetic madman in the jungle in Apocalypse Now. The terrifying psychopath in Blue Velvet. The kid gone wrong in Rebel Without a Cause. The actor taken under the wing of James Dean, a friendship that set Dennis Hopper on his path to becoming a star. A quintessentially American dreamer longing to be the next Orson Welles. The hell-raising director who revolutionized Hollywood.
Dennis Hopper's extraordinary journey takes him to superhero highs and plummeting lows. Capturing the magic and the madness of his American Dream, Hopper is a wild ride through Dennis's many lives. Written in a rebel spirit, complemented with iconic photographs, and packed with insights from his fellow actors, artists, and friends, Hopper tells the story of a half-century of rebellion waged at the edge of pop culture.
About the Author
Tom Folsom is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld. Folsom is also a writer, director, and producer of documentaries, and his work has appeared at Sundance and on A&E and Showtime. He lives in New York City with his wife.
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