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Recently read: Hella Nation

[Originally published at the now defunct group blog explananda.com]

Posted on May 7, 2009
Tags: book_reviews

Evan Wright. Hella Nation: Looking for Happy Meals in Kandahar, Rocking the Side Pipe, Wingnut’s War Against the Gap, and Other Adventures with the Totally Lost Tribes of America

Hella Nation is a collection of profiles originally published in different form in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Hustler, and a few other places. Wright, recovering from his own struggles with drug use and alcohol, and with most of his previous professional experience in the porn industry, has an outsider’s sympathy for, or at least understanding of, the troubled outsiders, misfits, and criminals he profiles in these pieces. These include anarchists, white supremacists, soldiers in Iraq, pornographers, con-men, and Hollywood agents. Wright doesn’t bother to hide his own reactions to his subjects, but like a good journalist, he also seems willing to let the reader make up her own mind, often just by letting his subjects speak. Set aside some time for the book if you plan to read it: once you’ve started, it’s hard to stop.