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1 Burnside Americana- General

The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures

by

The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

No, it doesn't get much weirder than this: Thor Templar, Lord Commander of the Earth Protectorate, who claims to have killed ten aliens. Or April, the Neo-Nazi bringing up her twin daughters Lamb and Lynx (who have just formed a white-power folk group for kids called Prussian Blue), and her youngest daughter, Dresden.

For a decade now, Louis Theroux has been making programs about offbeat characters on the fringes of U.S. society. Now he revisits the people who have most intrigued him to try to discover what motivates them, and why they believe the things they believe. From his Las Vegas base (where else?), Theroux calls on these assorted dreamers, schemers, and outlaws — and in the process finds out a little about the workings of his own mind. What does it mean, after all, to be weird, or "to be yourself"? Do we choose our beliefs or do our beliefs choose us?

And is there something particularly weird about Americans?

America, prepare yourself for a hilarious look in the mirror that has already taken the rest of the English-speaking world by storm

Review:

"Ten years after hosting a BBC series on weird American subcultures, Theroux decided to make a 'Reunion Tour' and write a book about how his interviewees' lives had changed. Theroux's weird Americans were UFO enthusiasts, porn stars, Aryan Nation white supremacists, brothel prostitutes, gangsta rappers, become-a-millionaire scammers, Heaven's Gate survivors and, strangely, Ike Turner. Theroux (son of writer Paul Theroux) likes them because he believes they use weirdness to feel 'alive,' and that's 'more important than telling the truth.' Apart from that, what they have in common, 10 years later, is their unavailability — the porn star had become a computer programmer, the UFOer was inhabiting a different reality, and the prostitute was either born-again or doing drugs, hard to say. So Theroux settled for talking to others in their communities. Although he sometimes criticizes himself for botching things (trying unsuccessfully to attend the Millionaires seminar as the guest of a blacklisted former adherent), Theroux never criticizes his subjects, confining himself to what he hopes will be inoffensive questions — like, have you 'ever thought of trying to be less racist?' As their rants become repetitious, these 'weird' subjects become surprisingly boring. By the end, readers may wonder why Theroux still finds these people so 'alive,' so interesting." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"'In hindsight,' Louis Theroux writes in the prologue to this book, 'the nineties may have been a kind of golden age for strange beliefs. In that interregnum between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the attacks on the World Trade Center all kinds of bizarre heterodoxies took root: space creatures were abducting humans from Earth, a secret cabal of bankers and industrialists called the Illuminati were... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Paul Theroux's son writes with just as clear an eye for character and place as his father.... And he's funny.... Theroux's final analysis of American weirdness is true and new." Literary Review (England)

Review:

"The king of offbeat documentaries sets off across America in search of the weird and wacky. Cool." Mail on Sunday

Review:

"Alternately fascinating and sad." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

No, it doesnt get any weirder than this: Thor Templar, Lord Commander of the Earth Protectorate, who claims to have killed ten aliens. Or April, the Neo-Nazi bringing up her twin daughters Lamb and Lynx (A.K.A. Prussian Blue, a white-power folk group for kids) and her youngest daughter, Dresden. For a decade, Louis Theroux has been making acclaimed television programs about offbeat characters on the fringes of U.S. society. Now he revisits the people who have intrigued him the most to try to discover what motivates them-and why they hold their bizarre beliefs. Reflecting on these assorted dreamers, schemers, and outlaws, Theroux entertainingly and unforgettably creates “a moving, funny, and frightening exposé of America and its often elusive dream” (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC).

About the Author

Louis Theroux graduated from Oxford University, where he wrote for the satirical magazine Spy. After working on Michael Moore's Emmy-winning "TV Nation," he hosted his own BAFTA-winning shows in the United Kingdom, "Weird Weekends" and "When Louis Met...." This is his first book.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780306815034
Subtitle:
Encounters with Survivalists, Porn Stars, Alien Killers, and Ike Turner
Author:
Theroux, Louis
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Subject:
Civilization
Subject:
National characteristics, american
Subject:
Popular Culture - General
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Travel
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Popular Culture
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20080527
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 17.8 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Travel » Travel Writing » General

The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures Used Hardcover
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Product details 288 pages Da Capo Press - English 9780306815034 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Ten years after hosting a BBC series on weird American subcultures, Theroux decided to make a 'Reunion Tour' and write a book about how his interviewees' lives had changed. Theroux's weird Americans were UFO enthusiasts, porn stars, Aryan Nation white supremacists, brothel prostitutes, gangsta rappers, become-a-millionaire scammers, Heaven's Gate survivors and, strangely, Ike Turner. Theroux (son of writer Paul Theroux) likes them because he believes they use weirdness to feel 'alive,' and that's 'more important than telling the truth.' Apart from that, what they have in common, 10 years later, is their unavailability — the porn star had become a computer programmer, the UFOer was inhabiting a different reality, and the prostitute was either born-again or doing drugs, hard to say. So Theroux settled for talking to others in their communities. Although he sometimes criticizes himself for botching things (trying unsuccessfully to attend the Millionaires seminar as the guest of a blacklisted former adherent), Theroux never criticizes his subjects, confining himself to what he hopes will be inoffensive questions — like, have you 'ever thought of trying to be less racist?' As their rants become repetitious, these 'weird' subjects become surprisingly boring. By the end, readers may wonder why Theroux still finds these people so 'alive,' so interesting." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Paul Theroux's son writes with just as clear an eye for character and place as his father.... And he's funny.... Theroux's final analysis of American weirdness is true and new."
"Review" by , "The king of offbeat documentaries sets off across America in search of the weird and wacky. Cool."
"Review" by , "Alternately fascinating and sad."
"Synopsis" by ,
No, it doesnt get any weirder than this: Thor Templar, Lord Commander of the Earth Protectorate, who claims to have killed ten aliens. Or April, the Neo-Nazi bringing up her twin daughters Lamb and Lynx (A.K.A. Prussian Blue, a white-power folk group for kids) and her youngest daughter, Dresden. For a decade, Louis Theroux has been making acclaimed television programs about offbeat characters on the fringes of U.S. society. Now he revisits the people who have intrigued him the most to try to discover what motivates them-and why they hold their bizarre beliefs. Reflecting on these assorted dreamers, schemers, and outlaws, Theroux entertainingly and unforgettably creates “a moving, funny, and frightening exposé of America and its often elusive dream” (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC).
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