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Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut (O'Rourke, P. J.) Paperback – August 9, 1996


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Frequently Bought Together

Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut (O'Rourke, P. J.) + Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About This" (O'Rourke, P. J.) + Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government
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Product Details

  • Series: O'Rourke, P. J.
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (August 9, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871136538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871136534
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,267,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Readers can be excused for a little motion sickness when reading this collection of pieces from P.J. O'Rourke. To go from preaching "Armed Love" (whatever that is) to being anointed as the ultra-libertarian Cato Institute's favorite humorist in only 25 years is an astounding transformation.

Still, whether it's New Left juvenilia or high-octane auto journalism scrawled in the Age of Cocaine, one thing holds true: O'Rourke writes one hell of a sentence. Here's P.J.'s impression of Nixon explaining Vietnam to a bunch of hippies: "To be really out front, I get off on ego trips, power games. But, like that's where I'm at ... I mean you can put me down for kicking your ass but don't put me down for being an ass-kicker 'cause that's my movie." Then fast-forward 17 years: "Sure, everyone says the Sixties were fun. Down at the American Legion hall, everybody says World War II was fun, if you talk to them after 10:00 p.m." Age and Guile is fun, whatever time it is.

From AudioFile

Judging by this enjoyable volume, political humorist P.J. O'Rourke was a smart-ass when he was a drug-crazed hippie radical and remains one today as a conservative basher of liberal folly. Norman Dietz has a perfect handle on his sense of humor in this anthology covering more than twenty-five years of his commentary. Whether the listener agrees or disagrees with his politics won't affect the pleasurable effect of his comic iconoclasm, which Dietz delivers with personality and a good sense of timing. Y.R. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

More About the Author

P. J. O'Rourke was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and attended Miami University and Johns Hopkins. He began writing funny things in 1960s "underground" newspapers, became editor-in-chief of National Lampoon, then spent 20 years reporting for Rolling Stone and The Atlantic Monthly as the world's only trouble-spot humorist, going to wars, riots, rebellions, and other "Holidays in Hell" in more than 40 countries. He's written 16 books on subjects as diverse as politics and cars and etiquette and economics. His book about Washington, Parliament of Whores, and his book about international conflict and crisis, Give War a Chance, both reached #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. He is a contributing editor at The Weekly Standard, H. L. Mencken fellow at the Cato Institute, a member of the editorial board of World Affairs and a regular panelist on NPR's Wait... Wait... Don't Tell Me. He lives with his family in rural New England, as far away from the things he writes about as he can get.

Customer Reviews

The rest of the book tickled my funny bone.
Trevor Seigler
Having read all of P.J. O'Rourke's books, I can safely say that this was one of my favorites.
mwotoole@hotmail.com
P.J. O'Rourke is the Al Franken of the American Right, if Al Franken were actually funny.
Jeffrey Ellis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Ellis on November 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
PJ O'Rourke has always been one of my favorite cultural and political commentators. An unrepentant Libertarian Republican who used to be an unrepentant Marxist radical, O'Rourke is a conservative who writes with all the wit and verve that, supposedly, only liberals are capable of. P.J. O'Rourke is the Al Franken of the American Right, if Al Franken were actually funny. Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut is made up of O'Rourke's previously uncollected writings over the past three decades. As such, the book begins with a few choice pieces from his angry days as a Marxist journalist in the early '70s (where, it must be said, O'Rourke still writes with a wit that proves that funny is funny not matter what the ideology) moves on to cover his brief period as an adherent to Concrete Poetry (an art form that he admits still having no idea what to make of) and finally closes with a few of his recent essays as Rolling Stone's Foreign Affairs Editor. Best of all, O'Rourke includes a few short stories that he wrote and published while editor of National Lampoon. The stories, all dealing with his past as a '60s radical, are a perfect mixture of radical nostalgia and modern day clear headedness and, along with an unexpected pathos for his lost characters wandering through the political wilderness of protest, they also rank amongst the most hilarious of O'Rourke's writings, perfectly displaying his trademark style of detached irony and self-depreciating wit (one can always sense O'Rourke saying, "Can you believe they actually pay me to write this stuff?"). Perhaps most nicely, the pieces in this collection are arranged by chronological order so that the reader literally goes through O'Rourke's political and literary evolution with him over the course of the book.Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Seigler on June 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
I first got into PJ O'Rourke when I started reading his book "Republican Party Reptile" and realized that I could laugh heartily at his wit, as opposed to the often divisive rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News Channel. O'Rourke is equally scathing in his approach to "born-again" nutjobs as he is to "pinko" enviromentalists, and his is a style of writing I wouldn't mind trying to emulate in my own belated (and as yet unpublished) career as a writer.
"Age and Guile" caught my fancy because I had heard it was a collection of his pieces from over the years, and I tried to find it at the local library and various bookstores, but was unlucky in my pursuit. I ended up checking out a Books-on-Tape version of the book, read by Norman Deitz, and I was quite pleased.
The early material is amatuerish, to be fair, but there are nuggets of wit to be found amongst the "juvinelia". The Truth About The Sixties was actually one of my favorite parts of the book, I found it very involving and fascinating to hear. The rest of the book tickled my funny bone. I just don't have enough good things to say about this book.
So, I ordered it on Amazon, and I've recieved it, and it's joined my collection of P.J. O'Rourke books. A liberal at heart myself, I agree with a previous reviewer that O'Rourke celebrates individual freedom and doesn't care for those who try and take it away. I only hope I can be as good at conveying that in my own writing, he's certainly one hell of a teacher.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Much of P.J. O'Rourke's self-deprecating humor is funny, down-to-earth and insightful. But beware - when he writes in this manner he is joking on the level. So when you read the introduction to Age and Guile and see how low of an opinion he has of the material published in this book, TAKE HIS WORD FOR IT - THIS ISN'T VERY GOOD MATERIAL. If you're considering buying this book because you enjoyed P.J.'s other works, re-consider. This material earns at most an occasional, light chuckle and more frequently induces sleep. Some of P.J.'s other works, particularly Holidays in Hell, elicited much more appropriate reactions from this reader for a book with the word "humor" printed on the back cover. Several of P.J.'s travel essays from that book can be expected to cause the kind of painful laughter that makes it difficult to breathe, see or even stand, and in some readers will even cause loss of bladder control. So if you haven't read Holidays in Hell, then I recommend you buy that book instead of this one. Unless you're having trouble sleeping.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan Melkus on December 19, 1997
Format: Paperback
The epitome of Republican, yes I said republican humor. Liberals don't have the handle on humor, obviously, and P.J. has done it again with his O'Rourke finesse! Many kudos to a laff- a- line guy. Get it and laugh your left(ist) sock off! Infact, get every one of his hilarious books and laugh both socks off. You'll be glad you did. When will he give us the President this country needs and sit on the White House lawn with a fine cigar and a tall one? We can only hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marjorie James on December 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
I have recently taken to reading O'Rourke's book's (Give War a Chance, Holidays in Hell, Republican Party Reptile, and All the Trouble in the World) and have found them all enjoyable. He is a humorist with a conservative bent, which I admit is a good part of the reason that I like him. It is always nice to read something that you agree with and especially so if the author has original, well considered ideas and can present them in an humorous way. More liberal readers will, in all probability, not like him at all, unless they have an extraordinary capacity for taking criticism. Part of the reason for his venom towards the left is that he was once one of them. In the sixties he got about as liberal as he could, living in communes and writing for underground papers, damning capitalism. This book follows his development from there to his current occupation, writing about foreign politics and fast cars and damning communism. The first section of the book, a collection of pieces written for those underground papers, is juvenilia and really only interesting as such. It takes time for a writer to become good and he in the late sixties O'Rourke had not had that time yet. Politics aside, it simply is not very good. The part that I enjoyed the most was his experiments with something called "concrete poetry" which seems to be a version of those pictures that people draw with characters and have on the bottoms of their e-mail, only not as interesting. I don't know who decided that this was poetry but I found the whole thing very amusing. Which is okay because that's the point. The next part is things that he wrote about his experiences in the sixties, a bit later and after he had begin to rethink some of his political ideas.Read more ›
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