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Editorial Reviews

This candid and witty exposé of American subculture features author Evan Wright’s autobiographical observations on such sultry subjects as UFC wrestling, Aryan Nations, the music industry, and pornography shoots. These loosely related articles form a picaresque tapestry of American identity, a patchwork road trip that is enthralling, funny, and occasionally harrowing. Performer Paul Boehmer (Star Trek: Voyager, The Thomas Crown Affair) lends an air of stoicism to these ribald revelations. Where Wright’s reminiscence might, from time to time, come across as excessively barbed or snarky, Boehmer manages to level off the edges through his knack for understated, easygoing good humor.
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Publisher's Summary

From his work as a reporter at Hustler magazine to his National Magazine Award-winning writing for Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, Evan Wright has always had an affinity for outsiders---what he calls "the lost tribes of America." The previously published pieces in this collection chart a deeply personal journey. Along the way, Wright encounters runaway teens earning corporate dollars as skateboard pitchmen; radical anarchists plotting the overthrow of corporate America; and young American troops on the hunt for terrorists in the combat zones of the Middle East. His subjects are people for whom the American dream is either just out of grasp or something they've chosen to reject altogether. Sometimes frightening, usually profane, and often darkly comic, Hella Nation is Evan Wright's meticulously observed tour of the jagged edges of all those other Americas hiding in plain sight amid the nation's malls and gated communities.
©2009 Evan Wright; (P)2009 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Vivid confirmation of the arrival of a major chronicler of those who live on or beyond the margins of the American mainstream." (Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Joshua Kim on 06-10-12

Hella Yes

This is the sort of book we should be assigning in our sociology classes. Wright is an ambassador to the marginalized, an embedded reporter with America's freaks, degenerates, and psychopaths. We spend time with right wing movie producers, anarchists, alcoholic skate board punks, and HIV positive porn stars.

Durkheim taught us that by defining deviance we construct what is normal. Hella Nation would work well in the classroom as our students could engage in systematic study of social organization and structure through the entertaining lens of drug addicts and white supremacists. These essays were originally published in Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone, and the book does not always hang together in terms of narrative (an editor willing to cut would have helped out as well). Despite its flaws I'd nominate Hella Nation to our curriculum.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Stuart Frederich-Smith on 04-13-15

Good book, weak narrator

Narrator is pretty generic but veers towards stereotype when doing women, black and southern voices. The book is filled with interesting stories, more than making up for the performance shortcomings.

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