Buy Used
$4.34
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Sold by BaySideBooks
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: This item has been gently used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair: And Other Excursions and Observations Hardcover – September 7, 2004


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$2.28 $0.01
Best%20Books%20of%202014
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (September 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400063426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400063420
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,000,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These tame "excursions" (edited by the author's widow) are a far cry from past Plimpton adventures, where the inventor of "participatory journalism" famously cast himself as a boxer or a circus performer. The title essay is the only high-flying piece, as Plimpton merely listens to and reports the fascinating and tragic story of a man who strapped helium balloons to a lawn chair and took a ride high above the California coast. For the rest, the author, who died last year at age 76, relays the tepid tales of some of his more recent stunts, like performing on Amateur Night at the Apollo in Harlem and interviewing porn stars at a Las Vegas porn convention. While these more recent essays (published between 1991 and 2004) do not offer the nail-biting enjoyment of some of Plimpton's past work (like the bestselling book Paper Lion), they do contain all of the typical Plimpton literary trademarks: elegant yet straightforward narration; boundless, infectious curiosity; and a palpable compassion and respect for the differences in personality that make us unique literary specimens. Lackluster or not, this volume is a suitable introduction to Plimpton's spirit and style.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Reflecting their late author's curiosity about almost everything, these 19 pieces (1990-2004) are gathered from publications as wide-ranging as Gourmet, Men's Journal, The Exeter Bulletin, Playboy, Harper's, and, of course, Plimpton's beloved New Yorker. The subjects of the pieces are themselves fascinating; there's Hunter Thompson at the movie premiere of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Jackie Kennedy throwing a pirate party for her children and their friends. Other highlights are the author's piano performance at Harlem's Apollo Theater, his "anticlimactic" visits to the Playboy mansion, and an East African visit to his documentary-filmmaker friend Alan Root. Contradictorily, for a writer who so often places himself in the middle of his work, the strongest pieces here are those where Plimpton is least intrusive, as in his bittersweet account of Larry Walters' memorable flight (elevation 16,500 feet) using 42 helium-filled balloons and a Sears, Roebuck lawn chair. For collections where the author's books remain popular. Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this book after reading an excerpt of the title piece in the New York Times. Like most of us, I was aware of Larry Walters's epic flying lawn chair adventure, and I was happy to hear the full details of the story. Plimpton did a terrific job of painting a sympathetic and poignant picture of Walters. Indeed, throughout the book Plimpton displays a wonderfully breezy, droll, self-effacing writing style, and I enjoyed this book thoroughly.

The title selection is the best in this book, but other highlights include "Inside the playpen of the damned" (a look inside the world of actors in pornographic movies); Plimpton's autobiographical sketch of how he flunked out of Exeter; and "The man who was eaten alive" (a description of Alan Root, a documentary film maker who has had more than his fair share of adventures filming wildlife in Africa).

The only criticism I have of this book is that--like Plimpton's life itself--it is too short. I get the impression that it had originally been intended to be longer, but Plimpton's untimely death no doubt threw a monkey wrench in those plans. As it stands, the book contains only 184 double-spaced pages with large margins, and several of the 18 selections included are only a couple of pages long. They're all highly entertaining, but when I buy a book with a $24.95 cover price, I prefer a little more heft.

In sum, this book is a delightful way to spend an hour or so. Plimpton is obviously a remarkable man and gifted writer who led an extremely interesting life. The world will miss him.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Betty Burks on April 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a collection of some of his essays and articles as compiled after his death last September by his wife, Sarah Dudley. The majority of them are from the 'New Yorker' although two appeared in 'Harper's Magazine,' two in 'Esquire,' two were in 'Men's Journal' (one extremely long, other extremely short), also 'New York Post' and 'Playboy.'

"The Cellular Age" (1996) has just now reached Knoxville. The mental people out on the streets with their imaginary enemies have become vocal here. On Gay Street, during the lunch hour when the outdoor eating areas were full, one man walking up the sidewalk toward them kept yelling threats at no one in particular. Those of us on the sidewalk across the street from him looked to see who he was spewing his vendom toward, but there was no visible source. Just yesterday, a homeless woman sat in a bus shelter behind me as I was waiting for the Broadway bus to town; she started yelling, "Ronnie, kill them" over and over. I looked to see if she had a phone or a gun. Thank goodness, the bus arrived and she stayed in the shelter, lost in a world of her own.

George, it seems, sought out the oddballs, as does one of the columnists at a local tabloid. They seek these people out to interview as if they are normal and the readers are abnormal. The title of this book is one of his 'New Yorker' articles about a prank which a Vietnam vet survived, only to later commit suicide in delusion that he was in a movie. He romantizes the whole incident, but PTSS caused a lot of veterans of that war to want to die. He made his literary success on these strange people and unusual happenings. Some of these pieces were merely personal observations. He led an interesting life.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso' on February 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
These flaccid disjecta membra would seem trivial in Reader's Digest, escapist in an in-flight magazine and fluff in any language. Plimpton lent his elegant features to campaigns for Carlsberg, a bank, popcorn and an 80s home video games system. Cool, no?
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William Christman on July 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Except for the first story, which is what the title story, it was not that great of a collection. Some amusing parts and Plimpton is likable but ok at best.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again