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Scary Monsters and Super Freaks: Stories of Sex, Drugs, Rock 'N' Roll and Murder Paperback – December 24, 2003


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Scary Monsters and Super Freaks: Stories of Sex, Drugs, Rock 'N' Roll and Murder + Laid Bare: A Memoir of Wrecked Lives and the Hollywood Death Trip + L.A. Despair: A Landscape of Crimes & Bad Times
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1ST edition (December 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560255633
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560255635
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This strong collection of Sager's articles over the past 20 years for Rolling Stone and GQ demonstrates his skill as a reporter whose main interest is investigating America's dark and lurid corners. Most of the articles divide roughly into two groups. The first focuses on well-known subjects such as porn star John Holmes's drug-induced decline ("The Devil and John Holmes"), actor Rob Lowe's infamous sex tape ("Rob Lowe's Girl Trouble") and funk-rocker Rick James's obsession with freebase cocaine and violence ("The Rise and Fall of a Super Freak"). The second explores lesser known but often more horrible incidents, such as "The Death of a High School Narc" in Midlothian, Tex. Sager incorporates in all the articles such journalistic devices as scene-by-scene construction, realistic dialogue and third-person point of view, completely capturing everyday details of a subject's life. But two articles are especially compelling. One is an intimate portrait of Janet Cooke (with whom Sager was once involved), the journalist whose Pulitzer Prize-winning, and fake, story about an eight-year-old heroin addict got her fired from the Washington Post; the other is a lengthy, detailed look at the life and death of author Carlos Castaneda.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Sager's delightfully seamy glimpses of the underside of pop culture begin with the facts behind the film Wonderland. John Holmes, whose prodigious penis once made him the king of smut, lost the ability to, uh, perform because of his coke habit and, before dying of AIDS, got involved in a series of sleazy deals culminating in a bloody revenge killing. Next up is innocent-looking porn queen Savannah, who apparently lacked enthusiasm for sex. Reportedly, a director once suggested she "say 'fuck me' or something," whereupon "Savannah looked over her shoulder at the actor inside her" and said, "Fuck me or something"; shortly after, the occasional junkie shot herself in the head. Then there's the original Super Freak, Rick James, who went from recording success to serving time for false imprisonment and assault; Rob Lowe, who videotaped himself having sex with an underage girl; ex-congressman Gary Condit; and 14 other celebrities who had similar misadventures. Pretty it ain't, but throbbingly real it is--dynamic episodic reading, too. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

MIKE SAGER is a best-selling author and award-winning reporter. A former Washington Post staff writer under Watergate investigator Bob Woodward, he worked closely, during his years as a contributing editor to Rolling Stone, with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Sager is the author of four collections of non-fiction, two novels, and one biography. He has served for more than fifteen years as a writer at large for Esquire. In 2010 he won the American Society of Magazine Editors' National Magazine Award for profile writing for his article "The Man Who Never Was." Many of his stories have inspired films, including Boogie Nights, with Mark Wahlberg, and Veronica Guerin, with Cate Blanchett. For more information, please see www.MikeSager.com.

In 2012 The Sager Group was chartered as a consortium of multi-media artists and writers, with the intent of empowering those who make art--an umbrella beneath which makers can pursue, and profit from, their craft directly, without gatekeepers. TSG publishes eBooks and on-demand print books; manages musical acts and produces live shows; ministers to artists and provides modest grants; and produces documentary, feature, and web-based films. By harnessing the means of production, The Sager Group helps artists help themselves.

For more information, please see www.TheSagerGroup.net


Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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The stories are wonderful.
Heather Harness
As I read this book I found myself groaning, gasping, squirming, or laughing out-loud at least once on every page.
Craig Baker
It was an interesting read which I found very entertaining.
K. Spaulding

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By alexander laurence on April 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
You have probably read some of these articles over the years in magazines and weekly newspapers. Here are some great stories of the last twenty years. Stories about John Holmes and Rick James are great. Mike Sager goes into great detail to give a rounded picture of all his subects. The stories about journalists Janet Lewis and Veronica Guernin are pretty intense. Some of this stuff is about obsessions we all had about ten years ago like Easy-E Eric Wright and the Heaven's Gate Crowd. It's funny how time flys. Check it out.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By fluffy, the human being. on December 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
each piece in this book is somewhere in the 20 to 50 page range, but despite the brevity, you feel as though you've gotten an in-depth look at some dark, dark american lives. nothing here that you could call feel-good fluff. but it is mostly all very interesting; it kept my fingers flipping the pages faster than 90% of the other books i've been reading of late. highly recommended for those who like good writing on sex & drugs & murder & other sorts of mayhem. and personally i don't think there is a lot of good writing out there on those sorts of things.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MK on May 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book on a whim because it looked interesting in the store. I'm glad I did as I've enjoyed it very much. The book is a collection of nineteen articles originally published in Esquire, GQ, or Rolling Stone. The subjects are generally sad and sordid but Sager takes the time to understand his subjects and explain not only what happened to them but why. Some of the incidents he describes are familiar but Sager's work has depth and reveals and explains things other more superficial coverage missed. I recommend this book and will be looking for future work by this writer.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As I read this book I found myself groaning, gasping, squirming, or laughing out-loud at least once on every page. I challenge you to read this book and NOT get sucked in. Every single piece has that can't-put-it-down/cant-believe-it quality. "Scary Monsters..." promises chills, twists, and unique insights to the stories that you thought you knew. The rise and fall of a super freak; wrongful imprisonment; self-mutilation; drug addiction; cult worship, sex, and suicide. Sager leads his readers down the darkest of alleyways, into the minds of the depressed, deranged, and overlooked, and always brings them back into the light on the other side. This book was a cultural education for me. Great stuff. A must-read for any aspiring writer or journalist, Sager's style and abilities as a storyteller transcend the non-fiction genre and place you, the reader, directly in the thick of the action. This is a book to read and re-read-- I can't recommend it highly enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Heather Harness on May 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a really great collection of his writings. Who knew that you could fall in love again with Rick James? Sager's writings make you feel that you are looking into someone's life. I love this book. The stories are wonderful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gloria M. Siecinski on December 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is probably my favorite book to re-read. I thought I would leave a review for anyone contemplating this collection of short articles. I bought this book shortly after its first publication and it's so dog-eared from loaning it to friends, that I'm thinking of buying a fresh one so it has that 'new book' smell I love when you crack those pages. Every story is so well written that love or hate the subject matter, you come away feeling you know a little more than the average Joe.
My wish for 2013: Mr. Sager adapts his work for Kindle readers.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Henry Schuster on January 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'll get the disclaimer out of the way first. The smartest thing I've done in my journalistic career was one of the first things I ever did. That was convincing Mike Sager to join me at the Emory University newspaper. It was my introduction to the Sager school of reporting and writing. Live the story or, better yet, live with the story. Mike calls it the anthropological approach to journalism and during the last twenty-five years he has been doing that for a living.
We used to talk about the New Journalism, which was all the rage when we started. It was Tom Wolfe this, Richard Ben Cramer that. But Mike has carved out his own genre, word by word, story by story and the results are on stunning display in Scary Monsters.
Mike is the classic journalistic success story. He dropped out of law school after just a few days and took a job working as a copy aide at the Washington Post (not before he almost lost the job because he failed the spelling test!). He worked his way up to reporter, starting out on the police beat, and there was no holding him back.
But can he write? I've read these stories over the years as Mike has written them and I've read them again recently. Each is captivating, that sort of anthropological expedition into an event, a person, a story, that you will soon recognize as uniquely Sageresque. Taken individually or as a collection, they are a great read. Money well spent. Mike's work is already being taught in journalism schools and for good reason.
The best part of this? Mike has so many other stories, from his first foray into magazine writing, which was when he went in search of Marlon Brando, to his more recent work in Esquire, which places him in the pantheon of great writers who have filled the pages of that magazine. Let's hope that with the success of this book, we'll get the next collection soon!
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