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The Last Magazine

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  725 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
The year is 2002. Weekly newsmagazines dominate the political agenda in New York and Washington. A young journalist named Michael M. Hastings is a twenty-two- year-old intern at The Magazine, wet behind the ears, the only one in the office who’s actually read his coworker’s books. He will stop at nothing to turn his internship into a full-time position, and he’s figured ou ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 17th 2014 by Blue Rider Press
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Feb 10, 2016 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
“I grew up reading Holocaust literature at the beach, Gulag literature on winter holidays, Vietnam memoirs on spring break.”
― Michael Hastings, The Last Magazine


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 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-i
Apr 10, 2014 Victoria rated it it was amazing
A sharp, insightful book that left me feeling heartsick at the knowledge that such a smart and talented writer won't be able to write all of the amazing books I know he was destined to. An honor to have known him, and to have read this.
Jul 11, 2014 Joanna rated it did not like it
It is a terrible loss to American journalism that Michael Hastings died so young. And I really wanted his posthumously published novel to be as wonderfully witty and thought provoking as the rest of his body of work. Sadly, it simply is not.

But he wrote his first draft of this novel when he was in his early twenties, and did not decide, on his own, to revise it for publication. That decision was made by his wife and his colleagues, and this reader at least feels like it is a disservice to the wr
Jessica Woodbury
May 14, 2014 Jessica Woodbury rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, arc
It's sad to know that Michael Hastings isn't around to write anymore. And it's sad that because of that The Last Magazine doesn't get to shine as brightly as it probably would if he'd been able to work through it with an editor. It's a solid book, but it's close to being pretty brilliant, you can see the rough edges just waiting to be scrubbed away.

While he seems like a secondary character at first, the novel ends up being mostly about reporter A. E. Peoria and his strange fall from grace as up
Pam Mooney
Jun 14, 2014 Pam Mooney rated it really liked it
This is a well written and thought provoking book. There is a harsh reality in many professions but in journalism it is intensified by the fast pace and changes in how information is delivered to the consumer. If you ever wanted to know the behind the scenes story or what people really think this book will open your eyes. It portrays the harsh realities of war, betrayal, and rise and fall of careers. It makes you want to know more about the author and the rest of the story. Be careful what you ...more
Jun 26, 2014 Sketchbook rated it really liked it
With precision wit (which also signals disillusion), Hastings topples the paleozoics of US journalism. Courting danger from evil smoking cigars, he could duly sniff the empyreumia of the stogie. He died in 2013 when his Benz turned into a fiery ball. Verdict : traffic accident.
Andrea Stoeckel
Jun 06, 2014 Andrea Stoeckel rated it really liked it
(FTC:I recieved this book as a GoodReads/First Reads win. I thank the publisher for their generosity. In no way did this influence my opinions, which are 100% mine)

Cynical much? What drives news and politics in the US? If we take Hastings at face value, he believed a bunch of burned out, cynical men who didn't want to rock the boat. How can you bypass this old boys club? This new thing called a blog.

Alex (A.E.) Peoria literally is part of a story so against the "norm" that it drives him into an
Joseph Raffetto
Dec 30, 2015 Joseph Raffetto rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction

Michael Hastings was a gifted reporter for Newsweek and Rolling Stone, before he tragically died in an automobile accident in Los Angeles in 2013.

They discovered this manuscript on his computer, and fortunately it has been published, and unfortunately it will be his last published piece of fiction.

In my opinion, journalists who attempt to write novels are typically not very good at it. That's not the case here.

The Last Magazine is compelling, hilarious, nasty, revealing and rollicking ride throu

Jul 12, 2014 mark rated it liked it
Recommends it for: writers, journalists, media folk
Recommended to mark by: Krystal Ball
Shelves: men-s-fiction, war
This is an awful book – for three reasons. First, it’s unfinished and poorly constructed. It reads like a first draft, which it probably was. It was taken from a dead man’s computer and published by his wife. The man was Michael Hastings, and if you’re familiar with his work you’ll probably want to read this novel. Hastings was a journalist, the one who’s 2011 article in Rolling Stone, forced Four Star General Stanley McChrystal, the man in charge of the Afghan war, to retire. This is a novel ...more
Gerry Beane
It helps somewhat to be aware of who the real Michael Hastings was and what his contributions to the media landscape has been. By doing so, he has made many of us aware of the politics and the wheeling/dealing that affects what we, as consumers and citizens, perceive as news. It is an eye-opening read and is couched in the dress of a novel, yet reflects actual events that happened during his career. Actual persons are transparently veiled characters in his book and their actions tell us more ...more
Aug 03, 2014 Holly rated it it was ok
Disappointing would be my review of this book in one word. I started this book with high expectations of a very readable book with wit and insight into the world of journalism. After reading it I'm left with questions about all the people who claim it's so witty and sharp and well written. In many parts the book reads in a self-indulgent manner of excess which doesn't further the development of either the plot or the characters. There are flashes of excellence but they are few and far between. ...more
Jeff Larsen
Jun 19, 2014 Jeff Larsen rated it really liked it
Michael Hastings was best known for taking down Gen. McChrystal in a brilliant Rolling Stone piece in 2010. Hastings died one year ago, but left behind this excellent satire of the magazine - "dead tree" - industry. The Last Magazine is a thinly veiled take on Hastings' years at Newsweek, when the top dogs think the Internet and blogging is a fad.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. A movie adaptation would be hard pressed to avoid an NC-17 rating. For mature audiences only, and those who
Jul 21, 2014 Steven rated it really liked it
This is a fast, lively, entertaining read. That alone makes it a real accomplishment for a first-time novelist who apparently had not produced a final draft by the time of his death in a car accident. More important, the book will stand as a vivid portrait of establishment journalism just as the huge old ship was beginning to list enough for the deck chairs to start sliding. This story of "The Magazine" - Newsweek - begins in 2002, which is precisely when I took my own buyout from Newsweek after ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Dale rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I haven't read the other reader reviews on goodreads, yet, but I suspect there are not many who think this is an actually good novel. Don't get me wrong: there's lots to like here, but it is a really good first draft, not a finished work. Oh sure, trashing Newsweek is great fun, and Newsweek deserved to be trashed. And picking out the various characters (Nishant Patel = Fareed Zakaria, Sanders Berman = Jon Meacham, Michael Healey = Michael Isikoff, Michael Hastings = ... Michael Hastings) is a ...more
Aug 09, 2014 Mandy rated it really liked it
Very quick, captivating and cynical portrayal of foreign policy magazine journalism. It was spooky to revisit the build up to the Iraq war as we all wonder if we're all getting drawn back in. I found myself wondering if foreign policy punditry is more hawkish by its very structure than we consider--the two leading thinkers are always writing dueling pieces to make the same points to go to war and stay on, and while I think the idea that both wouldn't recognize their own hypocrisy as events ...more
Jul 15, 2014 A.J. rated it it was amazing
Fiction? Yes, but....

Hastings' posthumous novel probably could only be published now that he is in his grave. As a lightly fictionalized account of working for an international news magazine at the dawn of the 00s, the novel says what insiders think, know and would never, ever commit to paper. The story is bifurcated between two main characters, both of who we are left to wonder are stand ins for Hastings' himself? Or as composites of the characters he worked with?

For those who long lost faith
Sep 07, 2014 Ben rated it liked it
Obviously the Hastings should have lived to do more than just clean up this book, but be that as it may The Last Magazine could have been improved by judicious editing. For my tastes,that would include cutting about 90% of the porn and prostitution material, call me a prude if you will but I found the more extreme forms of misogynist degradation depressing and unnecessary.

The best parts of the book to me were the insider look at the more pathetic aspects of the scheming, backstabbing world of m
Aug 03, 2014 Dale rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book. As others have noted, this draft was found posthumously on Hastings' computer; had he lived and been able to collaborate with an editor, I imagine it would have been polished and vastly improved. Sad all the way around.

That said, it's still a fascinating peek inside magazine journalism on a downhill slide--full of interpersonal rivalries, politics and editors who pooh-pooh the interwebs. Parts are hysterical; others are tragic and dismal. The narrative voice is
Jul 20, 2014 traci rated it really liked it
I'm not sure I would have enjoyed this book half as much if I hadn't interned at around the same time Hastings writes of his own experiences at the magazine -- mine were much tamer, obviously, but his description of the complete ambivalence of the executives to the website is spot-on in all of its irony. I'm also not sure I would have enjoyed it half as much if I wasn't fascinated by the life and death of the author. But these two forces intersected to make this a quick and ...more
Christine Frank
May 29, 2014 Christine Frank rated it did not like it
An utterly loathsome book that I persisted with only because there was nothing else on my Kindle for my commute. Unprepared going in (and aided by the mostly deceptive cover) I was expecting more about journalism, or, as Gawker calls it, journalismism. Instead, it's just an ugly, nasty, unlikeable tale t6hat includes porn, war, drugs, alcohol, ambition, failure--the whole checklist. The true part about the cover is that is shows a man; this truly is a Boy's Own Adventure.

Not recommended to the
Jun 28, 2014 Rick rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable and great book. Michael Hastings was special, and we got screwed - not more than he - by his death. This is a wonderful book about being a correspondent and living in/with the news "industry."
Dave Cullen
Jun 17, 2014 Dave Cullen rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read all year--by a country mile.

I blurbed this book, so I'll start with that, then expand:

That voice. That witty, subversive voice we thought we'd lost, is back for one last romp. Hastings decodes the culture even more incisively in fiction, with wild bursts of imaginative mischief. So damn funny.

Too salesy? I hope not. So much to pack in there, and especially, I wanted to convey the giddiness I felt snickering my way through.

I could hardly believe it. I missed Mike desperately
Steven Z.
Jul 05, 2014 Steven Z. rated it liked it
Recently, I saw an interview with Michael Hastings’s widow in which she described her husband’s last book published soon after his death. I looked forward to reading it as her comments about the subject of the novel were very appealing, and having read some of his previous articles in Rolling Stone and Newsweek, I immediately picked up a copy of the book. However, having just completed it, I am a little disappointed. THE LAST MAGAZINE: A NOVEL encompasses a number of story lines. The most ...more
Nov 14, 2016 W rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good writer's story, though a bit too graphic.

This is a good story about the development of a magazine journalist. But I found the sex scenes too graphic for my taste.
Aug 08, 2015 Anita rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I really liked this book. It is highly irreverent, debauchery abounds and yet it manages to say something without being preachy. There are no heroes in this story, and it is great nostalgia without any rose-coloring.

Set after 9/11 but just before the start of the war in Iraq, it has come at the best possible time. Early 2000 nostalgia, transsexual rights (I would say it's trans positive but hardly PC, meaning trans activists have plenty to complain about), popularity of high-end paper notebooks
Daniel Penev
Jul 12, 2016 Daniel Penev rated it really liked it
In "The Last Magazine", prominent US journalist and foreign correspondent Michael Hastings, who worked for Rolling Stone, Newsweek and BuzzFeed before he died in a car accident in 2013, provides a fictionalized but extremely realistic and witty account of the American media landscape. Hastings describes how an internationally renowned US magazine works in the context of the war in Iraq, which began with the US invasion in the country in March 2013. Page after page, we learn about how story ideas ...more
John Frazier
Jun 30, 2014 John Frazier rated it liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, which makes me feel a little better about reading it. After seeing it touted as a good summer read, I found it to be more stylish than substantive, a quick page-turner that actually left me wanting to know more about the magazine business than any of the author's other highly touted efforts.

Michael Hastings is not only the author (this manuscript was found on his computer after his death in a car accident last year), but the protagonist in what surely mus
Nov 02, 2014 Gordon rated it liked it
It's pretty hard to criticize a book that was published after an author's death, without the author's permission. This seems a little dodgy to me, especially since the author in question already had several books to his credit and if he'd wanted to publish this novel, presumably he would have.

That said, my book club chose this book, so I am going to criticize it anyway. I thought that one of the two principal characters, the foreign correspondent named Peoria, seemed to be far too dim for someon
Nov 06, 2015 tiddle rated it it was ok
I have to admit I don't know anything about Michael Hastings until I come across this book of his quite by accident in the library. His real-life story, and untimely death, is dramatic enough for a book length story that I hope will come out one day.

This book is published posthumously by his estate when they came across this manuscript among his belongings. It's billed as a fiction, but it's really more like his memoir of his times at Newsweek. The plots and writings of the life and times in the
Sep 01, 2014 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, e-book, kindle
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

Pretty good sendup of the head-in-the-sand news magazine industry during the emergence of the online news and gossip industry. Along the way Hastings lampoons corporate cowardice, careerism, ass-covering, moral compromise, envy, sloth, greed, gluttony, etc. Heavy-duty satire, reminiscent of Catch-22.

For a draft (it was found on Mr. Hasting's PC after his death) it's fairly well along; I suspect some editing and filling in had to be done toward the end, but if so it seeme
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was Michael Hastings murdered? 1 7 Jun 21, 2014 02:29AM  
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Michael Hastings died June 18, 2013, at the age of 33.

Michael Hastings was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. Over a five year span, he regularly covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He started his career at Newsweek magazine in 2002, and was named the magazine’s Baghdad correspondent in 2005. In 2008, he reported on the U.S. presidential elections for Newsweek. His work has appeared in
More about Michael Hastings...

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“I grew up reading Holocaust literature at the beach, Gulag literature on winter holidays, Vietnam memoirs on spring break.” 1 likes
“Things weren’t permanent, things could always fall apart, never get too comfortable, and even those you trust, those you trust as authority figures and role models, are liable to show themselves as illusions.” 1 likes
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