Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan
Essays

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

Sullivan describes the strange and faltering coming-together of his brother's zapped mind as he emerged from his coma. It's not all that far off being a parody of his own zipping-about style.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
One of Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Nonfiction Books of the Year 2011
A Time Magazine Top 10 Nonfiction book of 2011
A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of 2011

One of Library Journal's Best Books of 2011


A sharp-eyed, uniquely humane tour of America's cultural landscape—from high to low to lower than low—by the award-winning young star of the literary nonfiction world.

In Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan takes us on an exhilarating tour of our popular, unpopular, and at times completely forgotten culture. Simultaneously channeling the gonzo energy of Hunter S. Thompson and the wit and insight of Joan Didion, Sullivan shows us—with a laidback, erudite Southern charm that's all his own—how we really (no, really) live now.

In his native Kentucky, Sullivan introduces us to Constantine Rafinesque, a nineteenth-century polymath genius who concocted a dense, fantastical prehistory of the New World. Back in modern times, Sullivan takes us to the Ozarks for a Christian rock festival; to Florida to meet the alumni and straggling refugees of MTV's Real World, who've generated their own self-perpetuating economy of minor celebrity; and all across the South on the trail of the blues. He takes us to Indiana to investigate the formative years of Michael Jackson and Axl Rose and then to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Katrina—and back again as its residents confront the BP oil spill.

Gradually, a unifying narrative emerges, a story about this country that we've never heard told this way. It's like a fun-house hall-of-mirrors tour: Sullivan shows us who we are in ways we've never imagined to be true. Of course we don't know whether to laugh or cry when faced with this reflection—it's our inevitable sob-guffaws that attest to the power of Sullivan's work.

 

About John Jeremiah Sullivan

See more books from this Author
John Jeremiah Sullivan is an editor at Harper's and a former editor of The Oxford American. This is his first book.
 
Published October 25, 2011 by FSG Originals. 383 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Pulphead
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Edward Docx on Aug 09 2012

I had only one reservation. Hovering somewhere in the coulisse of these performances, there seems to be an anxiety about authenticity.

Read Full Review of Pulphead: Essays | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Sam Leith on Jul 26 2012

Sullivan describes the strange and faltering coming-together of his brother's zapped mind as he emerged from his coma. It's not all that far off being a parody of his own zipping-about style.

Read Full Review of Pulphead: Essays | See more reviews from Guardian

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Michael Hingston on Dec 02 2011

Pulphead is full of such glimpses into the contours of its author’s mind and, by extension, into the depths of the culture at large. This collection establishes Sullivan is a supremely rare talent...

Read Full Review of Pulphead: Essays | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for Pulphead
82%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 136 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×