Author: Mike Sager Category:

Also available to order at all brick-and-mortar and university bookstores.

“Sager plays Virgil in the modern American Inferno.”    —Kirkus Reviews

This tough yet lyrical collection of seventeen true stories, by award-winning  Esquire and  Rolling Stone writer Mike Sager, brings into sharp focus the rich but confusing state of American life–- its values, virtues, obsessions, and hypocrisies.

Domestic Goddess Roseanne Barr battles Multiple Personality Disorder… Swingers attend a “fantasy weekend” in Pensacola… Twelve-year-olds joyride in stolen cars through the ruins of the Newark ghetto… Desmond the butler services the hoi polloi on Park Avenue… Newly minted billionaire Mark Cuban buys himself an NBA basketball team… From ground zero of the deadliest wildfire in California history to the cozy living room of super-spokesmodel Brooke Burke; from the recording studio with gangsta-rap pioneer Ice Cube to the tour bus with the Satanic metal band Slayer, this is deeply focused long-form narrative from the  writer who has been called “the Beat poet of American journalism– that rare reporter who can make literature out of shabby reality.”

A new second edition of the bestselling collection, with updated material and a new author’s note.

“Like his journalistic precursors, Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson, Sager writes frenetic, off-kilter pop-sociological profiles of Americans in all their vulgarity and vitality. He writes with flair, but only in the service of an omnivorous curiosity. He defies expectations in pieces that lesser writers would play for satire or sensationalism… a Whitmanesque ode to teeming humanity’s mystical unity.”–The New York Times Book Review

“Sager writes in convincingly novelistic detail and supple, pinpoint prose about the inner lives of a high school junior, a 92-year-old man, Slayer fans, swingers, struggling actors, Mike Ditka, and wildfire victims. The title piece is one of his best.” – Entertainment Weekly

“Esquire writer-at-large Sager (Scary Monsters and Super Freaks) demonstrates a lively curiosity about other people’s lives, hopes, fears and disappointments in these 17 previously published articles. Sager’s nimble celebrity profiles include Emmy winner Roseanne Barr, who attributes her multiple-personality disorder to an abusive mother, but more affecting are the everyday struggles of “almost famous” actors Steve Bean and Lynn Clark, who stay sane in the face of numerous professional rejections. Sager’s best pieces showcase people battling nature: aging hippie and sandal-maker Lee Risler cuts off his own arm to free himself from a wrecked van and wears his stump as a badge of honor. Despite some forgetfulness and frailty, 92-year-old widower Glenn Brown Sanberg has a girlfriend with Alzheimer’s and writes a weekly newspaper column. In a whimsical yet satisfying search for other Mike Sagers the author finds instant kinship with a police captain, a politician and a preacher. These are savvy, deftly written highlights from a talented career.” –Publisher’s Weekly