Summary and book reviews of American Rhapsody by Joe Eszterhas

American Rhapsody

By Joe Eszterhas

American Rhapsody
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  • Hardcover: Jul 2000,
    448 pages.
    Paperback: May 2001,
    446 pages.

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Book Summary

The setting . . .
Washington, Hollywood, and the landscape of the American Republic.

The writer . . .
Joe Eszterhas, ex-Rolling Stone reporter, National Book Award nominee for Charlie Simpson's Apocalypse, and screenwriter of such blockbusters as Basic Instinct and Jagged Edge.

The stars . . .
Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Al Gore, John McCain, Ken Starr, and Monica Lewinsky.

The supporting players . . .
Warren Beatty, James Carville, Sharon Stone, Larry Flynt, Vernon Jordan, Linda Tripp, Matt Drudge, and Bob Packwood (with cameos by Richard Nixon and Farrah Fawcett, Eleanor Roosevelt and David Geffen, Robert Evans and Richard Gere).

The story . . .
The most basic, and basest, in many years -- an up-close and personal look at the people who run our world. A tale filled with humor, tragedy and romance; suspense, absurdity and high drama; and, of course, lots and lots of sex.


In American Rhapsody, Eszterhas combines comprehensive research with insight, honesty, and astute observation to reveal ultimate truths. This is a book that flouts virtually every rule, yet joins a rich journalistic tradition distinguished by such writers as Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe.

A brilliant, unnerving, hugely entertaining look at our political culture, our heroes and villains, American Rhapsody will delight some and outrage others, but it will not be ignored. What Joe Eszterhas has produced is a penetrating and devastating panorama of all of us, a fun-house mirror held up to our own morals, hypocrisies and desires.

The Whole World Is Watching

"We gotta get you laid," Monica said.
"Oh, God," Linda Tripp said, "wouldn't that be something different? New and different. I don't know. After seven years, do you really think that there's a possibility I'd remember how?"
"Of course you would."
"No," Linda Tripp said.


My friend Jann Wenner, the editor and publisher of Rolling Stone, the rock and roll bible, called me excitedly the day after Bill Clinton was nominated for the presidency. He had spent the previous night at a party, celebrating with Clinton. "He's one of us," Jann said. "He'll be the first rock and roll president in American history."

I had come to the same conclusion. He was one of us. Even if, on occasion, he tried to deny it. Of course he had dodged the draft, just another white Rhodes Scholar nigger who agreed with Muhammad Ali and had no quarrel with them Vietcong. Of course he had smoked dope, inhaling deeply, holding it in, bogarting that joint.

...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Booklist Ilene Cooper

Just when you thought the visual image of Clinton and his cigar was fading, and just when everything that needed to be said about Monica had finally been strained into gruel, along comes a book so gossipy, so irreverent, so witty, silly, and profound that it makes it seem as if the whole impeachment mess was nothing more than a dung heap made to grow this rose. The gardener is screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, best known for his hit film Basic Instinct (and his disaster, Showgirls). For Eszterhas, however, this is not just a story about the Clinton scandal. It's about the '60s and the Boomers, blacks and whites, drugs and rock 'n' roll. There's Clinton portrayed as the first rock president (and the first black president); there's lots about the Hollywood-Washington connection; and there's a tad too much about Eszterhas himself. The title is apt because Joe's prose--knowing, smart, dirty, veering off into filthy--is like music rock, blues, musical comedy, even a little (soap) opera. And, of course, jazz, especially in a series of verbal riffs when the typeface changes and the twisted little man inside Eszterhas (as he puts it) takes over and writes hysterically from the heads of Dole, Gore, Lewinsky, both Clintons, McCain, and W. Bush (Thanks to Bill Clinton's pecker, I'm gonna set myself up in the White House). The denouement is a soliloquy spoken by Clinton's famous member itself--here named Willard--who explains it all.

Reader Reviews
margaret b kownaski

whoa - a look into reality of the clinton whitehouse

gwb - over played - his life can-not have been so fun -

the kid stays in the show

margaret b kownaski avid reader and now listner


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