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The Long Hard Road Out of Hell Paperback – March 3, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 898 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One doesn't usually think of rock stars as insightful, but, against all odds, glam-trash superstar Marilyn Manson has written a book that is actually an intelligent look at growing up. This autobiographical bildungsroman brings out the creepiest aspects of childhood, conveying the terror and fascination that young Marilyn (then called Brian) felt when looking through his grandfather's pornography, getting his first French kiss, and being taunted by the girls he wanted to "date." Manson has the benefit of having grown up as an outcast and loser and then having become a star without forgetting what he went through. This gives him an incredibly broad perspective, which he brings to bear on his ordinary life in order to convey the more potent and frightening moments that shaped him into the pale-skinned weirdo that the Christian Right loves to hate. Best of all, Manson is shockingly honest, and portrays himself as occasionally stupid, self-centered, over-sensitive, ignoble, and, mostly, highly fallible and human. It's a long way from the auto-hagiographies that other stars have written, and it's easily one of the best reads in celebrity bio. --James DiGiovanna --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"By turns moving, funny, appalling, and disturbing...There has never been anything like it."-- "Rolling Stone""Unimaginably perverse and demented."-- "Newsweek""Fascinating, sleazy account of his coming of age and ascent into damnation."-- "Us""Makes Madonna's infamous "Sex" seem downright wholesome by comparison."-- "Elle""If the Marquis De Sade had a son in a hard-rock band who wrote a book, this would be the book."-- "Christian Science Monitor""Repulsive...well-written and uncommonly addictive."-- "Chicago Sun-Times""Nothing short of captivating in all its intentional, over-the-top bad taste."-- "Edge""Amusing...lots of sex, bondage, drugs, intrigue, and mental decay."-- "Village Voice""Clipped, colorful prose that fits the author's larger-than-life personality like a pair of rubber shorts."-- "Paper"
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: ReganBooks; 1st edition (March 3, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060987464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060987466
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (898 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 25, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You wouldn't think a middle aged Southern conservative housewife like me would be caught dead reading something like this. The cover alone should scare me away. And the first word of the first chapter is one I wasn't allowed to say as a child. But with that first word Manson reveals immediately what his entire book portrays - Hell. The story mates his life with Dante's Inferno; even the chapters are structured as the divisions and circles of Dante's hell. This was a stroke of genius and makes for a fascinating read. Manson's life parallels Dante's journey through hell, and, like in the Inferno, it begins with pain and steadily becomes much worse. In the Inferno however, the protagonist with whom we identify is Dante, who is not one of the punished. We must guess at the psychic torment of the damned through Dante's conversations with them. Manson takes us on the same journey but as one of the condemned. He takes us inside his head to see firsthand the progressive blackening and relentless decay of his soul.
But that is only one of the many levels on which this book operates. It is also the story of a man's struggle to come to terms with his own nature when that nature is something the world perceives as evil and he suspects they may be right. He has amazing self awareness, and the rare ability to articulate his inner battles in powerful, captivating ways. The book is riveting, for he is laying bare his soul for all to see, and he knows it is ugly.
But by the end of the book, after he has sunk to the dark bottom of the pit, there is a glimmer of hope. He gains the sense that there may be some beauty hidden under all the self-loathing and screw ups that are his existence. Like Dante, Manson finally confronts Satan himself, and discovers the exit from hell.
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Format: Paperback
This book is co-authored with Neil Strauss, who is a master of the biography genre. I picked it up solely on the strength of Strauss's name and not because I am a Manson fan. This is a masterpiece of an autobiography and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes reading about life in the fastlane and unusual characters. Hearing Manson's story behind the music made me want to explore his music more, but you definitely don't have to be a fan to appreciate this fine piece of literature.

One of the highlights of the book is reading about the Antichrist Superstar tour through Manson's tour diary. This was the tour that was constantly in the media for supposed crime and disgrace and violence. During the tour and the media frenzy, I always thought Manson was out to make headlines and shock, but to hear the story in his own words, he didn't have to do a heck of a lot to provoke the American Family Association. They invented enough on their own to make Manson into a scarier caricature of who he already was.

Manson is depraved and twisted, and reading some of his narrative definitely has a gruesome allure. There's also a softer side here, that of a confused boy who first heard heavy metal music when it was played backwards over his Christian school's PA system to show the students the depraved Satanic messages it carried. Who wouldn't want to get into heavy metal after that? Manson was also repeatedly wounded by women and lacked healthy relationships.

In this book, Manson disputs some of the rumors surrounding him, via a list of fake information posted by "fans" on the internet. I certainly had my eyes opened as some of the Manson myth was dispelled.

Highly recommended to any music fan, pop culture fan, or fans of the memoirs of interesting people.
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Format: Paperback
This book was extremely fascinating. It really brings to life the transformation of Brian Warner to Marilyn Manson. It shows events in his childhood that helped to shape him into the person he is. With first person memories, he describes his childhood and the impact music played on his ambitions and goals.

The book goes on to talk about the formation of his band and how the members met, discussing problems with band members and how the band had lofty goals that seemed unreachable. Later, opening for Nine Inch Nails, he became friends with Trent Rezner and later came to know Anton LaVey, both of whom had great influence on his life. Manson talks about how his rise to Superstar status changed his view on drugs, sex, other life aspects. He explains how he took on the the name Marilyn Manson permanently, stating that at a certain moment he realized Brian Warner was dying and Marilyn Manson was being born.

Throughout the book there are moments where Manson remembers where he was when he came up with ideas for some of his songs including his version of "Sweet Dreams" and "The Beautiful People". The book also covers some of his own philosophies about love, homosexuality, and life.

The book is beautifully constructed with photos and artwork which help with the understanding of what he is discussing. The book goes into great detail, allowing the reader to really understand why Marilyn Manson is the way he is. A fantastic read that, I believe, fans and non-fans would enjoy.
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"The less people understand you the more intelligent they think you are" muses Marilyn. In a catch 22 kind of way the understanding of Brian Warner I've gained from this book supports his claim.
I at least think he's less compassionate than I previously did, if not less intelligent. He talks seriously about planning to murder an unstable girl who was harassing him after he led her on then dumped her and kicked her out of the band, plans he was only scared off completing because a homeless man started following him and his accomplice while they were on their way to do the deed and after failing to lose him a cop car happened to pass by.
Learning about some of the experiences that inspired his lyrics and performance I can look at them and say yeah that's a good way of expressing that, but previously it was hard to see much meaning in anything he wrote or did. Yet he claims that conservatives were trying to silence him because of what he was saying. Dude, people liked you or disliked you based on image, no one knew you were saying anything.
His comraderie with Anton Lavey, who is portrayed (presumably unintentionally) as a fortune-telling conman, illuminates Manson's worst trait, his willingness to see only the worst in his conservative christian detractors, seeking to villify rather than enlighten them, denying their humanity in the same way they do his.
He also subscribes to a "contempt for the weak" ideology typically expressed by white supremecists, involving disgust for sluts and drug addicts, and advocates the death penalty for shoplifters "because if you're stupid enough to get caught you deserve to die.
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