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Hopper Hardcover – March 5, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In an interview with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes, actor Dennis Hopper claimed that his career was a failure. Was he serious, or was he taking on the role of Hollywood’s biggest disappointment? He had not become the matinee idol to which he aspired as a boy while watching Gene Autry westerns, nor had he become a successful director. His most ambitious film, The Last Movie, was still unreleased, and he had lost several years in his prime to drug addiction. Still, his portfolio was full of memorable performances in blockbuster films, such as Rebel without a Cause, Giant, Easy Rider, and Apocalypse Now, and he had rarely been without a role in television or the movies for 30 years. Through 50 short, episodic chapters in loosely chronological order, documentary producer Folsom recounts the life and career of a self-proclaimed genius who alienated directors, producers, and five wives, but until death kept moviegoers entertained. --Rick Roche

Review

“Guns, motorcycles, mug shots, drugs, paintings, madness. Even by Hollywood standards, Dennis Hopper led an extraordinary life…Tom Folsom structures Hopper, his book about the man, in a time-bending, sensational style reminiscent of Hopper’s most out-there projects.” (Details)

“Tom Folsom tears through the life of Dennis Hopper in Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream.” (Vanity Fair)

“Rollicking.” (GQ)

“Folsom has neatly framed actor Dennis Hopper.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Mr. Folsom plays the part of [Hopper’s] spiritual medium, taking us through each chapter of the Kansas-born, James Dean-worshipping, psychedelic psychotic’s life, describing exactly what was going through the mind of the semi-tragic American almost-hero at each juncture.” (New York Observer)

“Folsom carries the reader on a caffeine-and-other-substance-fueled ride.” (New York Post)

“Folsom does an admirable job capturing Hopper’s manic and spirited personality in prose.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Hip…frank…a rich portrayal of an unconventional, free-wheeling thinker whose checkered experiences shock and beguile on the page.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Fortunately for him, Dennis Hopper has gotten the biographer he deserves. Which is to say, Folsom’s gonzo prose pulsates with Hopper’s manic energy and fits his madness like a glove.” (Peter Biskind, New York Times bestselling author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls)

“Tom Folsom’s Hopper is an electric and rollicking, tour de force profile of Hollywood’s great outlaw chameleon. All the wild-eyed stories and high-octane pathos in these pages make me miss the edgy, ‘grand artiste’ Hopper anew. A knockout book!” (Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of Cronkite)

“Dennis did a lot for motorcycling with his movie Easy Rider. Folsom has written a book that shows Dennis’s life like it was: crazy but brilliant.” (Ralph “Sonny” Barger, author of the New York Times bestseller Hell's Angel and former head of the Oakland chapter of the Hell's Angels)

“Essential reading for anyone interested in Dennis Hopper, the explosive sixties, Hollywood, American cinema, and the art of the twentieth century. But watch out—this visceral book puts you right in it, and some of it is jaw-dropping.” (Philippe Mora, director of Mad Dog Morgan, starring Dennis Hopper)

“What a terrific book about Dennis Hopper—he would have loved it and hated it. Beautifully written, stunningly accurate, Hopper captures all the wonderful and terrifying contradictions of the sweet, sad, funny, angry, and loving man that was Dennis.” (Henry Jaglom, actor, playwright, and director of Tracks, starring Dennis Hopper)

“Dennis Hopper was unlike any human I’ve ever met: consumed with passion for his subject, aesthetically brave, yet possessing a gentle heart. Though I would have said it couldn’t be done, Tom Folsom has captured the real Dennis.” (Karen Black, actress and Dennis Hopper's costar in Easy Rider)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: ItBooks; 1St Edition edition (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006220694X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062206947
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,330,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Tom Folsom is the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld, Hopper, the Dennis Hopper bio, and the co-author of Mr. Untouchable: The Rise, Fall and Resurrection of Heroin's Teflon Don, written with its subject, drug kingpin Nicky Barnes. Folsom is also a writer, director, and producer of documentaries, and his work has appeared at Sundance and on A&E and Showtime. He lives in New York City with his wife.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. Ritchie on March 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The author thinks he's Tom Wolfe, but he has a long way to go. This disjointed, poorly written book is not a biography, but a collection of drafts and sketches for chapters of a book. Hopper would make a good subject for a biography, but Folsom doesn't even begin to bring him to life. Folsom's concern is more for flashy word choice and shifts in typography. The shame is that Folsom seems to have had access to some interesting interview subjects, but almost completely wasted his chance to tell Hopper's story and get at what make him tick--Folsom seems to think that, like Charles Foster Kane, Hopper has a core moment or memory or incident that he never forgot and that may have ruled his life, but Folsom is unable to get near it, except that it may have been somewhere in Hopper's Kansas childhood. The chunk of the book on the making of The Last Movie is compelling, but nothing else in the book is worth much. Here's hoping someone else takes on job of telling Hopper's life.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kovacs on May 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was excited when I saw a biography of Dennis Hopper had been written, but then I read several pages and was disappointed. I then realized the author was the same man who wrote the book "The Mad Ones" and I went, "Oh no." The Hopper book is as pretentious, poorly written and confusing as "The Mad Ones." A good biographer should be invisible to the reader, but these books are more about showing off Folsom's writing style, such as it is. Hopper deserves a more traditional biography. The gimmick of this biography is the writing style matches Hopper's uninhibited life. That might make for a nice gimmick, but not an enriching reading experience.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Parker on April 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I understand Mr. Folsom's aims in wanting to produce a biography as turbocharged as his subject, but the writing is often so confused and confusing that I would have to stop and reread sections--and there are grammatical howlers on almost every other page. Hopper's life and time deserve a rich and resonant telling; this is not it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Richard Masloski on March 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"VAROOOOMMMMM!!!!!!!
VAROOOOMMMM!!!!!!!!!
VAROOOOOOOMMM!!!!!!"

"POW!!!!!"

"CRAAAASSSHHHH!!!!!"

And there is alot more like the above found within the pages of this ersatz Gonzo book on the late, great Dennis Hopper. Not only is stuff like the above totally puerile and more in tune with the BATMAN series from the sixties, it also wastes page space that could and should have been devoted to deeper things.

Folsom's book is a jumbled speed-read that will leave most true Hopper fans thirsty for more. Lots more!!! Thankfully, that "more" is to be had in Peter L. Winkler's splendid, in-depth 2011 book DENNIS HOPPER: THE WILD RIDE OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL. The earlier book covers whole continents that HOPPER's author never set foot on or even explored from his armchair.

Curious also are the reviews thus far on Amazon. Most all sound similar in voice. All announce the full name right up front - Tom Folsom! Most all are the only reviews posted by the reviewers. Be these ardent and true fans of Dennis Hopper - or more so of Tom Folsom?

TOM FOLSOM!!!!! VAROOMMMM!!!! CRAAASSHHHHH!!!

I wonder.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jersey Jeff on April 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was looking forward to reading this book about Dennis Hopper. It quickly became apparent to me that the journey was going to be slow and painful. The book is about an "Easy Rider" but it is certainly no Easy Reader. The "writer" seems to think that he is a contestant in the "who can write the longest and most complex sentences" contest. His style sucks and is almost unreadable. I'd pass on this book if I was you!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Dytman on May 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to reading a biography of Dennis Hopper, who lived an extraordinary life in the center of the worlds of art, film, and sixties culture. Instead, Mr Folsom delivered a poorly written (several times I had to re-read his sentences in order to figure out the point he was trying to make: annoying!) rehash of Hopper's life that barely dipped beneath the superficial. We're told his mother chose to absent herself in his youth, but once Hopper struck out on his own, she is barely mentioned and his adult relationship with her isn't touched on, nor is his reaction to her absence. He was married five times, but it doesn't seem like Folsom bothered to speak with any of his ex wives, and each marriage (except for his first, to Brooke Hayward) barely rates a sentence or two.....I'm a huge fan of biographies, enjoying to learn more about what motivates and drives people I'm interested in. This book was neither informative nor enjoyable - how such a dull tome could have been written about such an interesting life is beyond me!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Soozy on March 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dennis Hopper has always intrigued me so I was very interested in reading this book. But it was like anticipating a delicious bowl of vanilla ice cream and then realizing you've just taken a big spoon full of whipped egg white. Bland. There's no meat to this book and the author skips quickly from one subject to the next, leaving me disappointed. Don't waste your money. Go watch Dennis in one of his movies to witness his wonderful quirkiness. You won't find it here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cindyLou on March 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The writing was opinionated and gossipy. There was obvious research but so many huge gaps. People who cared for Dennis Hopper obviously didn't cooperate with this. Did not like it except as piece of movie history and hearing various famous people who did cross paths with him.
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