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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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Americana: Dispatches from the New Frontier

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Americana: Dispatches from the New Frontier Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Harley-Davidson bikers...Grand Canyon river rats...Mormon archaeologists...Spelling bee prodigies...

For more than fifteen years, best-selling author and historian Hampton Sides has traveled widely across the continent exploring the America that lurks just behind the scrim of our mainstream culture. Reporting for Outside, the New Yorker, and NPR, among other national media, the award-winning journalist has established a reputation not only as a wry observer of the contemporary American scene but also as one of our more inventive and versatile practitioners of narrative non-fiction.

In these two dozen pieces, collected here for the first time, Sides gives us a fresh, alluring, and at times startling America brimming with fascinating subcultures and bizarre characters who could live nowhere else. Following Sides, we crash the redwood retreat of an apparent cabal of fabulously powerful military-industrialists, drop in on the Indy 500 of bass fishing, and join a giant techno-rave at the lip of the Grand Canyon. We meet a diverse gallery of American visionaries — from the impossibly perky founder of Tupperware to Indian radical Russell Means to skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. We retrace the route of the historic Bataan Death March with veterans from Sides' acclaimed WWII epic, Ghost Soldiers. Sides also examines the nation that has emerged from the ashes of September 11, recounting the harrowing journeys of three World Trade Center survivors and deciding at the last possible minute not to "embed" on the Iraqi front-lines with the U.S. Marines. Americana gives us a sparkling mosaic of our country today, in all its wild and poignant charm.

Experience the many faces of America with Hampton Sides as he:

...drops in on the charmed life of skateboarding icon Tony Hawk; studies counter-terrorism at the G. Gordon Liddy spy school; goes Hollywood with American Indian Movement radical-turned-movie-star Russell Means; steps out of the closet with Mel White, religious right ghostwriter-turned-gay activist; mushes the Iditarod Trail with Alaska legend Joe Redington.

...runs the rapids during a man-made flood in the Grand Canyon; crashes the redwood retreat of California's elite Bohemian Club; debriefs the "bio-nauts" as they emerge from captivity in the Biosphere; dives into America's greatest swimming hole; gets ecstatic with the Zippies at their secret all-night techno-rave.

...ponders silver bubbles at the annual Airstream RV convention; revs it up at the Harley-Davidson rally in Sturgis, South Dakota; sails the Chesapeake with snooty owners of a rare antique sailboat known as the log canoe; roams the streets with D.C.'s hard-core band of bike couriers.

...speaks in tongues with black Pentecostalists of the Memphis-based Church of God in Christ; fishes for lunkers at the Bassmasters Classic; goes underground with the world's greatest cave rescuer; unravels the mystery of a notorious teen murder in rural Mississippi.

...crosses the Sahara Desert with American endurance runners at the infernal Marathon des Sables; bushwhacks through MesoAmerica with Mormon archaeologists in search of lost tribes of Israel; visits a high school friend who's become an Uzi-toting Zionist pioneer in the West Bank; walks the route of the Bataan Death March with characters from Ghost Soldiers.

...cranks it up with high-end stereophiles at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas; gets bowled over by 5,000 squealing salesladies at the annual Tupperware convention; plumbs the mysteries of the "schwa" at the National Spelling Bee; scrapes at the stucco of the neurotic architectural tradition known as Santa Fe Style.

...traces the harrowing stories of three World Trade Center survivors; goes off-roading in the Imperial Sand Dunes; almost embeds on the Iraqi frontlines with the U.S. Marines; remembers Shane Childers, the decorated Marine who became the first American combat death in Iraq.

Review:

"Each piece is detailed and absorbing....What differentiates Sides from other writers is his intelligent, witty tone and well-crafted mix of appropriate dialog, historic research, and personal observation." Library Journal

Review:

"'The ancient boyhood impulse to Get In,' as Hampton Sides puts it, fuels this rollicking book. An entertaining investigative trek through parts both familiar and strange." Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead

Review:

"Hampton Sides's America is a flabbergasting place. Funny but never at the expense of his subjects, wise but not wiseass, Sides seeks out decidedly non-average Americans who dig themselves deep into things." Mary Roach, author of Stiff

Review:

"This may be the best road trip you'll ever take — full of strange vision, hilarious detours, and sudden beauty in unlikely places." Burkhard Bilger, staff writer at The New Yorker

Review:

"This is a dream adventure you'll likely never get; fortunately, Sides has been there. Wry, exuberant, and always compassionate, Americana is pure pleasure." Doug Stanton, author of In Harm's Way

Review:

"Inside this riveting collection we find a country of hotly competing tribes encamped on the headlands of a still undefinable frontier. These incisive and often humorous stores comprise the vanguard of a new literature about America and its vast complexities." Michael Paterniti, author of Driving Mr. Albert

Synopsis:

In "Americana," the bestselling author of "Ghost Soldiers" offers a dazzling mosaic of modern America in all its bizarre and poignant charm.

About the Author

A native of Memphis, Hampton Sides is editor-at-large for Outside magazine, and the author of Ghost Soldiers. He won the 2002 PEN USA Award for nonfiction, and in 2003 he was nominated for a National Magazine Award. He lives in New Mexico with his wife, Anne, and their three sons. He is at work on a narrative history about the conquest and exile of the Navajos.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400033553
Author:
Sides, Hampton
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Essays & Travelogues
Subject:
National characteristics, american
Subject:
Travel Writing-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
April 13, 2004
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
8.06x5.22x1.00 in. .74 lbs.

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Related Subjects

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

Americana: Dispatches from the New Frontier New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Anchor Books/Doubleday - English 9781400033553 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Each piece is detailed and absorbing....What differentiates Sides from other writers is his intelligent, witty tone and well-crafted mix of appropriate dialog, historic research, and personal observation."
"Review" by , "'The ancient boyhood impulse to Get In,' as Hampton Sides puts it, fuels this rollicking book. An entertaining investigative trek through parts both familiar and strange."
"Review" by , "Hampton Sides's America is a flabbergasting place. Funny but never at the expense of his subjects, wise but not wiseass, Sides seeks out decidedly non-average Americans who dig themselves deep into things."
"Review" by , "This may be the best road trip you'll ever take — full of strange vision, hilarious detours, and sudden beauty in unlikely places."
"Review" by , "This is a dream adventure you'll likely never get; fortunately, Sides has been there. Wry, exuberant, and always compassionate, Americana is pure pleasure."
"Review" by , "Inside this riveting collection we find a country of hotly competing tribes encamped on the headlands of a still undefinable frontier. These incisive and often humorous stores comprise the vanguard of a new literature about America and its vast complexities."
"Synopsis" by , In "Americana," the bestselling author of "Ghost Soldiers" offers a dazzling mosaic of modern America in all its bizarre and poignant charm.
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