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When the Kissing Had to Stop: Cult Studs, Khmer Newts, Langley Spooks, Techno-Geeks, Video Drones, Author Gods, Serial Killers, Vampire Media, Alien Sperm-Suckers, Satanic therapis Paperback – September 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews


"When I start to read John Leonard, it is as though I, while simply looking for the men's room, blundered into a lecture by the smartest man who ever lived." —Kurt Vonnegut

"Leonard brings together the arcane and the everyday to achieve a clarity that is dazzling. I was knocked out by his insights." —Studs Terkel

About the Author

John Leonard (1939–2008) is the author of The Last Innocent White Man in America and Smoke and Mirrors (both published by The New Press). He was editor of the New York Times Book Review, literary co-editor of The Nation, and now appeared weekly on CBS Sunday Morning and in New York.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565846435
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565846432
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,520,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew Cheney on December 28, 2000
It's not a word I use lightly, but there's no better way to describe John Leonard than to say he's a genius. He certainly won't appeal to everyone's taste, but if you like essays written by a man whose mind ranges over the whole course of human history and knowledge, and who isn't afraid to bring all that knowledge together in a single sentence, then here's the guy for you. Not only is he a genius, but he's also terribly witty, and you don't get that from a lot of geniuses.
But you won't like Leonard if all you want from an essay about a book is an answer to the question, "Should I read it?" or if you are a fan of such folks as Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, or Attila the Hun. (But don't think Leonard's leftism is knee-jerk; there's a wonderful essay in here about smoking, in which he confesses, "I stick burning leaves in my foodhole," and goes on to explore his life as a social pariah among all of his purer-than-thou lefty friends.)
Every page herein is suffused with a stunning literacy, and Leonard drops titles the way most of us shed skin. I would love to spy on him for a day, because I don't know how he has crammed so much knowledge into himself. He writes brilliantly about the whole history of cyberpunk, then goes on to fine surveys of African literature, Israeli literature, and everything that ever hit a page in the USA. But Leonard knows more than books, for he seems to have seen at least one episode of every television show ever created and made it to all of the major movies of the past fifty years or so. He's got a good grasp of American political history, and he seems to have some sort of social life. He's even got time for AA meetings.
I don't know how he does it, but thank whatever deity you can imagine for him.
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