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The year is 2002. Weekly news magazines dominate the political agenda in New York and Washington. A young journalist named Michael M. Hastings is an intern at The Magazine, wet behind the ears, the only one in the office who has actually read his coworkers' books. He will stop at nothing to turn his internship into a full-time position and has figured out just who to impress: Nishant Patel, the international editor, and Sanders Berman, managing editor - both vying for the job of editor-in-chief. While Berman and Nishant try to one-up each other pontificating on cable news, A. E. Peoria - the one reporter seemingly doing any work - is having a career crisis. He has just returned from Chad, where instead of reporting on the genocide, he was told by his editors to focus on mobile-phone outsourcing, as it's more relevant. Then suddenly, the United States invades Iraq - and all hell breaks loose.
As Hastings loses his naïveté about the journalism game, he must choose where his loyalties lie: With the men at The Magazinewho can advance his career or with his friend in the field who is reporting the truth.
The Last Magazine is the debut novel from Michael Hastings, discovered in his files after his death in June 2013. Based on Hastings' own experiences, it is funny, sharp, and fast-paced, a great book about the news game's final days in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh's Scoop, Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary, and Calvin Trillin's Floater.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Darwin8u on 06-26-14
CURRENT and ENERGY that is hard to contain
One of my big regrets over the last couple years is that I never met Michael Hastings. He wrote some of the "great" long-form journalism pieces for Rolling Stone Magazine during the last decade ('The Runaway General' & 'Bowe Bergdahl: America's Last Prisoner of War'). Hastings' genius was a combination of gonzo passion with the ability to laser-in on stories months or years before they became news.
'The Last Magazine' gives us an energized, barely fictionalized, account of Michael Hastings' time at Newsweek. There is Nishant Patel & Sanders Berman (read Fareed Zakaria & Jon Meacham). There is sex. There is hackery. There's plenty of politics and porn, transvestites & bottom feeders. There are even twin narrators. Two sides of Michael Hastings. There is Michael Hastings the naive intern and A. E. Peoria the jaded combat vet who seems to have an inevitable destiny with self-destruction.
Like most unpublished novels discovered only after their famous authors have died, 'The Last Magazine' is a hot mess. There are parts that are repetitive, segments that go on too long, underdeveloped ideas, etc., but there is also a current and energy that is hard to contain. 'The Last Magazine' is raw and it is FUNNY.
One of my favorite tropes is Michael Hastings' dance on the fourth wall. In the beginning of the novel he details how many words he thinks the novel will be, the book's dangers, its pitfalls, etc. Hastings the author (not the narrator) reappears again and again to apologize for going too slow or too fast or for writing too much. This voice is difficult to pull off, but Hastings manages it with grace and doesn't typically overstay -- Hastings the author and the magician knows how to both make a scene and make a dramatic exit.
17 of 21 people found this review helpful
By Gerald S. Gold on 07-01-14
An amusing, telling epitaph.
What did you love best about The Last Magazine?
The humourous responses to the seriousness of a news magazine. In particular the alcohol, drugged antics of the foreign correspondent.
Which character – as performed by Ramiz Monsef – was your favorite?
If you could take any character from The Last Magazine out to dinner, who would it be and why?
Any of the people would be most intersting. The high power people of the press make good dinner dates.
Any additional comments?
The trip to NY in first class is hilareous.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful