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American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot Hardcover – September 22, 2009


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American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot + Between the Bridge and the River + Craig Ferguson: Does This Need To Be Said?
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061719544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061719547
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (445 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A fine writer, witty, reflective, and candid.... Ferguson is a kinetic cutup teeming with foolishness, brilliance, defiance, and heart. All this is captured in his book as an entertaining connect-the-dots journey.” (Associated Press)

“Hilariously vivid.” (People)

“Funny and poignant and inspirational and brilliant. Nowhere in his story of emigration and redemption does Craig Ferguson realize that as lucky as he thinks he is to be ‘American on Purpose,’ we are luckier still to have him.” (Keith Olbermann)

“With American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson somehow manages to avoid the pitfalls of self-indulgence and self-importance that plague most (okay, all) Hollywood autobiographies. He has, instead, written a book that is hilarious and irrepressibly daft, yet also kind, poignant, and undeniably wise. It was a joy to read.” (Dennis Lehane, author of The Given Day)

“A great read . . . almost as good as my memoir.” (Carrie Fisher, author of Wishful Drinking)

“Ferguson has given us a biographical treatment that is both brutally honest and inspirational…American on Purpose is a book that should be read.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“Hilarious and revealing...witty and emotional.” (The Daily Beast)

From the Back Cover

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: in 1993, the washed-up Ferguson washed up in the United States. Finally sober, Ferguson landed a breakthrough part on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, a success that eventually led to his role as the host of CBS's The Late Late Show. By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008, just before his command performance for the president at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.


More About the Author

Craig Ferguson is the host of The Late Late Show and has worked as a drummer, a bartender, a stand-up comedian, and as an actor on The Drew Carey Show. He is the author of the novel Between the Bridge and the River, and lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Customer Reviews

Very well written and at times very funny autobiography of comedian Craig Ferguson.
Debbie
I love watching Craig Ferguson on his late night show and did wonder how he came to be here and what all he had been through.
Dena Leasure
I think he did a wonderful job, and I hope that America and I will be blessed with many more years of his humor and love.
Marianne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Courtney Farrell on September 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
...the funniest, most entertaining and by far the most appealing of all these guys (Letterman & Leno included)--maybe of all the guys I've ever encountered in real life--shines through every page of this unputdownable, occasionally harrowing, tenderly hilarious memoir. It's all here: Ferguson's playful wit, his utter lack of pomposity, his willingness to laugh at his own farty (as he might put it) humanity along with everyone else's, and his endearingly chivalrous streak apparent even when he's at the abyss of bad behavior (which he captures in all its rawness). If you're not a fan yet, you will be. So buy the book and change your bedtime...or at least set your TIVO. In this case, Scotland's loss is most definitely America's gain.
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115 of 121 people found the following review helpful By M. Bolton on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've always loved Craig Ferguson as a comedian, but now I have a newfound respect for him as a person. American on Purpose delivers a funny and touching account of his journey from Glasgow to Hollywood. He is honest about about his alcoholism and drug use, his decision to become a US citizen, and everything in between. This is a surprisingly candid and literate memoir, a refreshing change from the usual celebrity tell-all.
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118 of 132 people found the following review helpful By VoraciousReader on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The idea of a little boy growing up far across an ocean and eyeing the gleaming shores of this country has been tarnished of late by our misadventures as a superpower. And now, suddenly and with the power that only a good writer can summon, it's back.

Odd, isn't it, that America never looks so good as through the eyes of someone who wasn't born into the privilege of this particular Democracy?

I read this book in a single sitting; starting the journey with a host who escorts us as easily through his life as he does through an hour of television every night. From the mean streets of a mean childhood, to the gilded halls of Washington, and through the backdoor that led him to television stardom ... with a long and poignant stopover in the haze of alcoholism. What an adventure! If you don't empathize with the man when he shakes his fist at the stars in the middle of the desert and chooses uncertainty just for the hell of it, you're not living right.

WIth the gentle hindsight of a man who has come out the other side of that haze, Ferguson is kind to virtually all the people in this adventure ... and Lord knows, it's uncommon enough for someone who makes their living in Hollywood to act that way.

This is a terrific read. Enjoy it.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By lesley9 on October 17, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
What really came across for me from this book were several aspects.

For a man with so many downs dogging his early child and adult years, he has an admirable lack of self-pity. Perhaps it's because he has conquered so much by the time he writes this memoir. I was conscious, however, of his sadness of how his problems affected his relationships, especially his great female loves. I teared up when he had to sell the perfect little seaside cottage he had shared with his second wife when they finally split up - the act being a symbol of the loss simultaneously of hope, dreams, love.

I am amazed at how he, and I suppose many males in general, accepts fighting fist to fist. As a female, I can't imagine willingly enduring/participating in and even looking forward to a great fight as Craig does during his years growing up in Scotland. Maybe the blows don't hurt as much when you are young or when the senses are dulled by drunkeness...This is not to be interpreted as acts of an aggressive self-nature, self-hatred or self-punishment but was endemic to the immediate culture.

This is a well written and serious memoir from a commedian told with frankness; not sparing the reader the darker moments fueled from the loss of great loves, very serious alcoholism, active drug use, career sputters, etc.

What I really admire about him now is that he doesn't keep hitting you over the head currently on his talk show with these details. Unlike Carrie Fisher, for example, his current humor is not dependent on constantly referring to the past difficulties. He concentrates now on the positives and I suspect that's what keeps him on safer and happier ground.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Marianne on September 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always loved Craig from the first time I saw his show. He is down-to-earth, funny, and his warmth shows through in his humor. I was not disappointed by his life story, and do not agree with those who thought he went into too much detail. I was drawn in by his story-telling, and was disappointed when it ended. I think he did a wonderful job, and I hope that America and I will be blessed with many more years of his humor and love.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Veeneman on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"American On Purpose" is Craig Ferguson's no holds barred look at his own life. From his beginnings in a poor section of Glasgow, Scotland through his drug and alcohol use, Ferguson doesn't spare the details of how he has evolved into the host of the "Late Late Show."

Ferguson is his own harshest critic, and his true wit shows through in his writing. The book is funny, fast-paced, and even has a happy ending!

My final thought on the book is based on a line from the book at the end of Chapter 3: "... and the toys still talk." Read the book, watch his show, and you'll see that they do.
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