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American Rhapsody

by Joe Eszterhas

ISBN 0375725547 / 9780375725548 / 0-375-72554-7
Publisher Vintage
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

American Rhapsody is a gleeful act of outrage, simultaneously an assault on the Clintons and a bridge-burning, tell-all Hollywood memoir in the wicked spirit of You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again. Joe Eszterhas's narrative is a torrent of consciousness with no consistent sense of direction, but it all erupts from a plausible organising principle best articulated in the chapter "Bubba in Pig Heaven": Hollywood is where Clinton really belongs. The author claims Bill watches Blazing Saddles six times a year, and says that Gennifer Flowers got him blazing by enacting a Sharon-Stone-like crotch-shot scene years before Basic Instinct.

The Lewinsky saga really should be ho-hum by now, but American Rhapsody's Evel-Knievel-like leaps of free association and mad brio breathe life into it. You've never been properly introduced to Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg until you've read "The Ratwoman and the Bag Lady of Sleaze", its uproarious take on the pair. American Rhapsody gives dozens of stars time in the sweaty spotlight: Matt "the Scavenger" Drudge, heroic Larry Flynt (whose threat to report Republican scandals Eszterhas credits with quashing impeachment)--almost every big political scandal victim in memory. And there are lots of Hollywood types behaving badly: Bob Dylan, Warren Beatty, Ronald Reagan, Farrah Fawcett, Sharon Stone, Robert Evans, Sly Stallone (who wanted to portray Jesus onscreen), and even Joe Eszterhas. The fantasy chapters, printed in boldface, are sometimes funny (e.g., "Kenneth W. Starr Confesses"), but mostly they're both over the top and below the belt (e.g., "Willard Comes Clean", the confessions of the president's penis). What holds your interest is the main narrative, a heady mix of showbiz gossip, personal essay, and Lester-Bangs-style prose mania. --Tim Appelo [via]