Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi
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Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,158 ratings  ·  92 reviews
By the same investigative reporter as "All the President's Men", this book enquires into the death by drug abuse of John Belushi. In his search for what went wrong in the comedian's life, the author uncovers the seedier side of the American star system. A film based on the book has been made.
Paperback, 460 pages
Published May 22nd 1989 by Faber & Faber (first published 1984)
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Kit Fox
Okay, so I knew that John Belushi did a lot of coke, but what I didn't realize was that he did, like, ALL of the coke. Sounds like just about every gram of blow that was shipped to the US in the late 70s and early 80s found its way into Belushi's system, one way or another. This guy did more nose candy than all of Weimar Germany, and they did a whole hell of a lot of coke in Weimar Germany. No one sets out to have their life story become a cautionary tale, but if this isn't, I'm not too sure wha...more
steffie
Apparently, it's meticulously researched, although some people really take issue with Woodward's characterization of Belushi. I liked the level of detail, even if toward the end, it started reading like a Smoking Gun dossier.

Now, this book was like a dream come true for me, in theory: drug addiction, real-life assholes (including Bill Murray! and Chevy Chase!), Hollywood goings-on, Chateau Marmont bungalows, Robert DeNiro going apeshit for heroin!, seedy folks plying Belushi with blow. And I am...more
J.C.
Hooper: Mr. Vaughn, what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It's really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat and make little sharks, and that's all. -JAWS (1975)

I was thinking about this quote about half way through the reading of Wired. It is the perfect quote to describe John Belushi, without the "make little sharks" line. Belushi was beyond an addict, he was a drug shark. All he did was move around and take drugs. Reading this book is an...more
Rory
Man, THIS is what I'm talking about. Great summer read. Great read for anyone with addicts in their family or friend-circles (or self). Straight-forward, non-mythologizing, fascinating, horrifying. I'm so glad I came across this beat-up paperback in a record store...only 75 cents and it's the best thing I've read in weeks. As far as I can tell, it's the only non-Washington thing Bob Woodward ever published.
Thom Dunn
In Samurai Widow, Judy Belushi says Bob Woodward mistook her late husband for the character Bluto in Animal House. Now, in the year 2010, I can no longer remember which one contains the moving account of Carly Simon talking of her impending breakup with James Taylor.
Lisa
If you ever want your kids to stay away from drugs, it might be a good idea to hand them this...

Knowing that Belushi died a seedy death from acute toxicity due to cocaine and heroin, it came as no surprise to me that he did drugs. What did come as a shock was just how many he did - so many that I'm surprised that I wasn't high just from reading about it, and the real shock came to be not that he died so young, but that he managed to last as long as he did (especially considering his last 2 month...more
Jill Kemerer
Compelling.

I didn't love the book, because it's hard to love a book about drug addiction where the person dies and has few redeeming qualities along the way (besides his "comic genius"). I'm not saying the book wasn't riveting and factual, but I like to feel inspired on some level whenever I read a biography. I recently read a biography about Chris Farley, who followed in John Belushi's tragic footsteps, but that book left me feeling sad and uplifted. I felt as if underneath it all, Chris wanted...more
Erik Graff
Feb 08, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Belushi fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
Why did Bob Woodward do this book? It's like his others: reconstructed events and conversations based on numerous interviews, many of them conducted by an assistant of the author. But unlike the other, political, books, Woodward has no insight whatsoever into the drug culture, no personal familiarity with Belushi, no hint of a sense of humor. Rather than a biography, this is more an account of the subject's progressive degeneration, justified perhaps as a moral tale about what the temptations of...more
Carol Storm
The problem with this book is not that Woodward is too tough on Belushi. He's too easy on his sources. The breakdown is this:

Belushi, being dead, can't tell Woodward what happened to him. However, there are (literally!) hundreds of dope pushers, groupies, strippers, bikers, has-been comics, bar flies, scum bags, scrounge artists, movie directors, session musicians, and network television executives, who are HAPPY to sit down and tell Woodward THEIR version of John Belushi. And each and every one...more
Annie
I guess Bob Woodward's talent does not lie in constructing compelling or readable prose, but in digging for and collecting details. This is very apparent in this documentation of the years leading up to John Belushi's death. The dry, plodding style, a reading of the facts, may lend itself well to a political investigation, where the facts themselves are the drama. But when discussing an interesting man's life, the effect of this method is to take what may have been a good yarn, dissect it, and t...more
Rachel
pretty horrible, and i felt dirty after reading it. just because it was 25 cents at the thrift store doesn't mean one has to read it, i guess... that said, while i was reading it i couldn't look away - like a car accident. when i was done, i was like, Well, he wasted a lot of time doing drugs... but look at all the time i just spent reading this clueless book!
Karen
Bob Woodward is an amazing reporter (he co-authored All the President’s Men; his reporting brought down a POTUS) and his reporting skills are apparent in this book: He interviewed dozens of people, everyone from Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase to Cathy Smith, the woman who administered the speedball that likely killed Belushi. He captured such minute details as the letter Smith was writing to an acquaintance the night Belushi died. He culled through police reports and the diary entries of Belushi’s...more
Kitt-e-kat
It was an ok read. A long book to read. This is a typical comedian who makes everyone laughs around him but deep inside is a very unhappy, insecure man who only wants to make people laugh. He started out doing live shows and getting his start on Saturday Night Live. With Chevy Chase as the main star getting all the attention and movies Belushi was having a real hard time with that. When Belushi finally breaks out in Animal House his stardom finally got the attention he wanted and he became addic...more
Spicoli
I picked up this book about ten years ago at a used bookstore in Dallas, and for some reason it fascinates me. I've read it about four times since then, about every other year I'll re-read it. It's a pretty drugged out book, it almost seems at times, especially when talking about Belushi following "Animal House's" success, like cocaine is going to fall off the pages. It's a fast-paced book with a lot of dialogue that I have to believe is not verbatim; it's hard to believe that some of the people...more
Andrew
Ever since devouring "No One Here Gets Out Alive" as a teenage Doors fan, my dark side requires the occasional biographical feast of drugs, decadence, and decline. This fit the bill... sort of.

I have to hand it to Woodward, his reportage is detailed. Dealings with agents, Hollywood producers, drug dealers, and fellow actors, musicians, and comedians are thoroughly documented. Sadly, there's not a lot of "meat on the bone" for those seeking a portrait of the Belushi himself. Transcriptions of SNL...more
Alessandro Balestra
Una biografia dettagliata degli esordi artistici di John Belushi che in pochissimi anni da perfetto sconosciuto ha raggiunto una popolarità planetaria che ha finito per "soffocarlo". John era un'attore comico camaleontico pieno di talento ma anche una persona molto sensibile e insicura; alcol, cocaina e infine eroina lo hanno portato ad una tragica morte prematura.
La prima parte del libro si legge bene perchè scorrevole e coinvolgente mentre la seconda (esclusa la parte finale) diventa più noios...more
Donna
Bob Woodward became famous during the aftermath of the Watergate burglary. The unraveling of the Nixon presidency, the discovery of the presidential "enemies list" had its origins at his desk, and that of his reporting partner, Carl Bernstein.

Here he turns to celebrity reporting, but once again he uses his investigative powers to find out just exactly what happened to one of young America's most popular comedians (at the time of his death). The story is riveting and tragic. Even though we know a...more
Sally
A very sound piece of journalism. Biographies are difficult and I do not envy the job of the biographer, especially a biographer of the deceased - if you are too soft and glaze things over the reader will be angry, if you are hard and honest those involved the subjects life will be angry.

This struck me as a very thorough piece of work. I have heard many complaints that this book focused on the negative aspects of John Belushi's life and career but I don't think I agree with that. Despite the em...more
Mark Schlatter
Woodward sets up Belushi's life as a tale of degeneration and deterioration --- early on, Belushi is seen as talented, but insecure, seeking attention, and paying far too much attention to drugs. As a result, the focus of the book is much more on Belushi's addictions than on his work. Indeed, the last part of the book slows down to give a day by day (and drug dose by drug dose) account of the few weeks before Belushi's death.

Woodward's style is straightforward and strongly focused on the anecdot...more
Kevin Cole
If you're a big Belushi fan you should definitely read it. There's a crap-ton of information in here, at times too many (do we really need to know what Cathy Smith had for breakfast 4 days before Bulshi's death? not really). That said, though highly detailed and incredibly researched the problem is that John's not really shown in that great a light. There are times when Woodward will reference other actors opinions of John, finding him warm and and friendly, yet rarely do these characterizations...more
Riley
A tell all about John Belushi and his death from drugs at 33. A while back, I read a biography of Lenny Bruce in which I was struck by the same two things as this book: That both were incredibly gifted men who were pathetically addicted to drugs.

Of the many things the 1960s and 70s brought us, better living through chemistry is one of the ones that have aged the worst, like a polyester suit.
William Redd
I've always been fascinated by the life of John Belushi, primarily because I look just like the man, so of course I would eventually read this book. What I found is a tragic tale of loneliness and addiction that probably could have been stopped if anyone had truly gotten to know the man, or if his close friends had done something just a bit sooner. The truly frightening thing I found as I read was exactly how much I do have in common with John. It scared me. Which, of course, is exactly what it...more
Michael
His widow and friends felt it was exploitive, but if Woodward's harsh look at John Belushi is to be believed, he was an arrogant, temperamental, somewhat delusional guy with a life-long insatiable appetite for drugs that led to his death. For anyone who likes to read about lives spinning out of control as one sinks into a haze of narcotics, this is for you. The book actually speaks to something I think I've always thought: he was funny, but he wasn't the larger-than-life comedy genius he has bee...more
Katrina Witteveen-roth
It was ok. Some people are offended busy how Belushi is portrayed, but I think some stuff was glossed over (it seemed) to protect some privacy. It was a long read. Interesting in some parts, a little drawn out in others
Thomas Strömquist
"Well written, however not captivating, about the actor. Maybe me who has read one to many books about babysat self-centered, drugusing artists. Recommended only if specificallly interested in Belushi."
Denise
A really great read! I would have given it five stars except that I would feel like I was condoning the behavior.Incredible that none of his friends intervened sooner. Such a sad waste of life and talent.
Jill
This book was so detailed that I skimmed. I hate to do that so I knew early on, I wasn't going to like the book. Belushi needed saving from himself. Unfortunately, he surrounded himself with people who did enough drugs that he dismissed their hallow pleas. I can see where his friends and fans were intially outraged by this book. I mean anyone mentioned could read a section and realize they could have done something differently and, therefore, John and his talent would still be with us. However,...more
Laurie
This is a bad journalist creating a sensationalized account of Belushi's drug use, without any sight of John's redeeming qualities. If you want lurid details of a drug abuser, this is your book - but if you want a real and honest biography of one of the funniest men of his generation, stay away.

Woodward is responsible for much of the destruction of Belushi's reputation. There is a special place in literary hell for him.

Go to Slate and read Gene Sperling's account of going back and talking to all...more
Sergio Bustamante gonzalez
Aunque es interesante ver desfilar por sus páginas a toda una serie de humoristas, directores y productores de los 80 y descubrir los primeros años del Saturday Night Live, el acercamiento que Woodward realiza al personaje de Belushi es demasiado maquinal y carente de simpatía. Los episodios de drogadicción se suceden con los de grandísima humanidad con el mismo estilo meramente informativo.
El libro me enganchó desde el principio, y la última parte, que narra una juerga contínua de ¡casi dos sem...more
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Robert "Bob" Upshur Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post. While an investigative reporter for that newspaper, Woodward, working with fellow reporter Carl Bernstein, helped uncover the Watergate scandal that led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation. Woodward has written 12 best-selling non-fiction books and has twice contributed reporting to efforts that collecti...more
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