This is the first non-fiction effort from novelist Erickson. It started as an assignment from Rolling Stone
to cover the 1996 presidential election from start to finish but became something else when Erickson was fired by Jann Wenner after the New Hampshire primary. Erickson kept going, turning his on-the-road reportage into a vehicle for addressing--dare we say it?--his fear and loathing on the campaign trail of what the country was becoming. With Thompsonesque doses of hyperbole, rock music, painkillers, and booze, Erickson paints a picture of a nation on the brink of breaking away from its special heritage of law, fairness, and freedom.
From Library Journal
Erickson, the author of several great and near-great novels (e.g., Amnesiascope, LJ 5/15/96), scampered around the country during last year's presidential campaign, part of the time at the behest of Rolling Stone magazine, and produced this startling, novelistic cross between journalism and memoir. To Erickson, political common sense has become a chimera in a country in which advocacy substitutes for the search for truth, and the American landscape, as a new millennium approaches, is littered with the carcasses of utopian visionaries. Wonderful, brief portraits of Bob Dole, Phil Gramm, Christian pol Gary Bauer, and their brood comprise a picture of (mostly) venal men scrambling for power and influence, with sincere belief in the righteousness of their often-misguided thoughts and actions. As good in his way as Norman Mailer in Miami and the Siege of Chicago and Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, the nomadic Erickson is the reader's Virgil in a cross between the Inferno and "Hellzapoppin." A lament on American polity in the late 20th century and essential for romantic, weepy watchers of American life.-?Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib. of New York
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