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The Night of the Gun: A reporter investigates the darkest story of his life. His own. [Kindle Edition]

David Carr
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (280 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $12.99
You Save: $4.01 (24%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
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Book Description

The instant New York Times bestseller now in trade paperback: a “compelling tale of drug abuse, despair, and, finally, hope” (Chicago Sun-Times).

• Critical and commercial phenomenon: The Night of the Gun hit bestseller lists thanks to a national tour and rave reviews from every major newspaper in the country. “Imagine James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces on a dose of truth serum, suffuse it with some cynical humor and a good handful of self-depreca- tion, and you get David Carr’s remarkable and immensely readable memoir,” wrote the New York Post. People magazine gave it three stars, saying “The Night of the Gun is an odyssey you’ll find hard to forget.” 

•  Lacerating honesty, scrupulous reporting: Many memoirists of dysfunction, addiction, and recovery have told incredible stories— what distinguishes Carr is his credibility. Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Carr is an undeniably brilliant and dogged journalist, and he’s written an unforgettable memoir: A.” 



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, August 2008: In his fabulously entertaining The Kid Stays in the Picture, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans wrote: "There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth." David Carr's riveting debut memoir, The Night of the Gun, takes this theory to the extreme, as the New York Times reporter embarks on a three-year fact-finding mission to revisit his harrowing past as a drug addict and discovers that the search for answers can reveal many versions of the truth. Carr acknowledges that you can't write a my-life-as-an-addict story without the recent memoir scandals of James Frey and others weighing you down, but he regains the reader's trust by relying on his reporting skills to conduct dozens of often uncomfortable interviews with old party buddies, cops, and ex-girlfriends and follow an endless paper trail of legal and medical records, mug shots, and rejection letters. The kaleidoscopic narrative follows Carr through failed relationships and botched jobs, in and out of rehab and all manner of unsavory places in between, with cameos from the likes of Tom Arnold, Jayson Blair, and Barbara Bush. Admittedly, it's hard to love David Carr--sometimes you barely like the guy. How can you feel sympathy for a man who was smoking crack with his pregnant girlfriend when her water broke? But plenty of dark humor rushes through the book, and knowing that this troubled man will make it--will survive addiction, fight cancer, raise his twin girls--makes you want to stick around for the full 400-page journey. --Brad Thomas Parsons

From Publishers Weekly

An intriguing premise informs Carr's memoir of drug addiction—he went back to his hometown of Minneapolis and interviewed the friends, lovers and family members who witnessed his downfall. A successful, albeit hard-partying, journalist, Carr developed a taste for coke that led him to smoke and shoot the drug. At the height of his use in the late 1980s, his similarly addicted girlfriend gave birth to twin daughters. Carr, now a New York Times columnist, gives both the lowlights of his addiction (the fights, binges and arrests) as well as the painstaking reconstruction of his life. Soon after he quit drugs, he was thrown for another loop when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Unfortunately, the book is less a real investigation of his life than an anecdotal chronicle of wild behavior. What's more, his clinical approach (he videotaped all his interviews), meant to create context, sometimes distances readers from it. By turns self-consciously prurient and intentionally vague, Carr tends to jump back and forth in time within the narrative, leaving the book strangely incoherent. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2916 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1416541535
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (August 5, 2008)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001DXNZ9Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,632 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
188 of 205 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
"Let's say, for the sake of argument, that a guy threw himself under a crosstown bus and lived to tell the tale," David Carr writes. "Is that a book you'd like to read?"

Good question. Indeed, it's the question that prospective readers of "The Night of the Gun", Carr's warts-and-all memoir, will have to consider --- because this is that book.

Consider:

A talented kid without much direction graduates from high school pot smoking to cocaine at college.

He starts a career in journalism that has him reporting on police and government officials by day --- and freebasing cocaine at night.

He hooks up with a woman who deals dope. Driving to see her, he's so wrecked he almost crashes into a station wagon filled with kids. He skids into a ditch, has to spend the night in jail, misses his girlfriend's birthday. When he finally shows up, he gives her what can't be bought in any store: a black eye and a broken rib.

He introduces his girlfriend to crack. She gets pregnant. They become so thoroughly addicted that, just as her water is breaking, he's handing her a crack pipe. Their twin daughters are crack babies.

He splits with his girlfriend, and, because he has a nice job, keeps the girls with him. This does not stop him from locking them in the car while he runs into a dealer's house to score.

The gun: As he recalls it, he was so out of control that his best friend not only has to call the cops but wave a gun at him. His best friend remembers it another way --- as David's gun.

In detox, his arms are so nasty that the staffers have him reach into a tub of detergent so they don't have to touch him. It takes a full month for the drug psychosis to wear off.
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86 of 96 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If only... March 25, 2009
Format:Hardcover
I really wanted to like this book, and because of that I forced myself to read the final 200 pages, even though every instinct in my body told me to stop halfway through. I should have followed my gut. This book lacks any sort of actual depth. You don't get a good sense of what he went through, and I'll have to take his word that it was awful (it clearly was, but only because I know what his experiences were like, but he doesn't present the emotions in any way that you can connect to). Furthermore, I found the vast majority of it to be self-indulgent, almost as if he wanted to shout "These terrible things happened to me, and I did terrible things to others, but I'm actually a great, smart, funny, good looking guy!! I swear!!" A perfect example of this is as the end of the book he finally gets around to talking about the interviews he did with his daughters. An excellent opportunity to demonstrate how his behavior took him from being a God in their eyes to showing how he low he could fall. Instead what does he do? In a 3 page chapter covering both daughters he has about a paragraph from each of them, and in each paragraph they both say how intelligent he was. He doesn't conduct any interviews with the people who don't think he's great. For example, he talks about meeting his wife and how people told her to stay away from him. Why didn't he talk to any of them about what he did that made them hate him so much? Instead of interviewing some of his former employees who hated his guts he talks to the ones who say he was the best boss they ever had. I'm not saying he's a jerk, but everyone has people that dislike them, and in order to truly understand the awful things he did and how they affected people he should have talked to some of them. Read more ›
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74 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A looooonnnnng night August 21, 2008
Format:Hardcover
The concept behind David Carr's memoir is intriguing. Stoned and drunk for much of his early life, the fact that he couldn't trust his own memories was brought home to him when he was shown that he completely misremembered an incident with a gun (hence the book's title). So, reporter that he is, he set out to interview people who knew him back in the day. He became an investigative reporter tracking down the young David Carr. Along the way, he discovered lots of things he said and did, but of which he has either no or distorted recollections.

So the angle that Night of the Gun takes is attractive. That's the good news. The bad news is that Carr can't quite deliver. For starters, the book is way too long and so the episodes Carr recounts (often with cinematic speed and compactness) tend to become repetitious. So there's a lot of words but not a lot of depth. Moreover, the lack of depth is reflected in the tough guy, Mickey Spillane style Carr chooses to write in, a style that comes across as inauthentic and, within just a few pages, incredibly annoying. Perhaps the point of the style is to create a living-on-the-edge ambience. But it doesn't work very well.

Ultimately, and most seriously, it's difficult to see what the point of Carr's book is. Is it to draw attention to the mysterious ways in which our memories deceive us? But if so, there's precious little real reflection on the issue, and most of it consists of unenlightening one-liners. (What a lost opportunity.) Is it to impress upon us the terrible things that drug and alcohol addictions do? But surely this has been done a bazillion times already in other memoirs as well as in films and novels (read anything by Hubert Selby, Jr., for example). Is the book intended to be a sort of celebrity confessional?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. A Must Read.
A couple of branches of my family tree are so blighted by addiction that an arborist would probably mark it with a big X and have someone cut it down. Read more
Published 16 hours ago by Horse lover
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great story of overcoming addiction and rebuilding the relationships destroyed by this horrible disease.
Published 4 days ago by Sheryl L Vincent
5.0 out of 5 stars Spontaneous and gifted journalist who understood human nature better...
Spontaneous and gifted journalist who understood human nature better than most. Unfortunately he died two days after his interview with Charlie Rose just a few months ago. Read more
Published 6 days ago by William Lynch
5.0 out of 5 stars Carr's Nightmare Years
Terrifying and a miracle that he lived through such a life.
Had NO idea how nutso his drug years were. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Candace Drimmer
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Never ordered this book
Published 8 days ago by Henry Litvin
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book
I could not put down this book, it was an incredible story of the life of an addict, who turned his life around with a few hiccups along the way. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Marilyn Hawley
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book for a Hard Life
It is a good book but there's a lot here to stomach. Carr lived a hard life but got his crap together at the end. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Carl from Chicago
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, Fascinating
Raw story, well written. Very good memoir.
Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars I recommend it.
David Carr tells his story in graphic detail .Very readable and endearing. His writing is astonishingly personal . I recommend it .
Published 12 days ago by B. Mackey
1.0 out of 5 stars Tiresome. Predictable
Tiresome. Predictable. Self-indulgent.

Take the book out of the library. Every part of it is something you've read somewhere else in the genre of addiction memoir, why... Read more
Published 12 days ago by No Name
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Night of the gun's conceit
Well, as I said in my review, I rode a roller coaster as I read this, alternately detesting you and then filling up with admiration.

Your writing is sometimes breathtakingly good. I'll be watching for more.
Sep 7, 2008 by Anthony Lawrence |  See all 9 posts
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