American Scream
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American Scream

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  771 ratings  ·  40 reviews
THE FIRST EVER BIOGRAPHY OF THE CULT ANTI-HERO COMEDIAN, BILL HICKS.

You know who's bugging me these days? The pro-lifers . . . if you're so pro- life, do me a favour -- don't lock arms and block medical clinics. Lock arms and block cemetaries.

A lot of Christians . . . wear crosses around their necks. Nice sentiment, but do you think when Jesus comes back he's really going
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Paperback, 252 pages
Published 2005 by Pan MacMillan (first published January 25th 2002)
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Libby
If you're a fan of Bill Hicks, sit your ass down and read this book tonight. You know how it ends and it will break your heart, but it's a nice tribute to the Good Man. The jokes don't translate that well, and it's maybe not the best writing ever but you'll get a warts-and-all window of Hicks and you'll love him even more. If you're not a fan, read it anyway.
Jason.frisbie
I really cherish Bill Hicks, so when I read this book, I was a little disappointed with the content. Maybe I expected a bit more detail about his early years as a teenage comic or even during his Outlaw Comic days, but I was left wanting more knowledge all around to fill in some details about where his humor originated. I also wasn't impressed with the writting style.

I would consider this a fine beginner's book for anyone curious about Bill Hicks who has maybe seen one special (see Revelations i...more
Michael Brown
It's like some other reviewers say, this book is a good introduction to the man. It's appropriate that for a book about a promising and blazing life cut short, it does occasionally feel as if there could have been more to it, and that we're missing something.
S. Taylor
I've been playing around with stand-up comedy for a VERY short period of time, and one of the first things I ran into is this -- if I did a bit on religion or politics or advertising, I'd be told, "Bill Hicks did something similar, cut it."

And, yes, Bill Hicks has done just about everything. If you want to learn about the origins of political satire here in America, it all goes back, almost in a straight line, to Bill Hicks (and then to Lenny Bruce).

This book traces Hicks from his childhood thr...more
Mark Farley
I can't believe that it took until 2002 until someone wrote about Bill Hicks as it was acknowledged since the time of his death what a major influence he had on comedy. If I was competent enough I would have but luckily for you and probably me, Cynthia True came along and blew everyone away with her extremely emotional biography about the great man. This made me feel like I was watching Man on the Moon, watching my first born take its first few steps, it moved more more than I would ever imagine...more
Duncan
A book about a comedian who lived fast, died young. Written by someone who never met him.

So I'm a huge Bill Hicks fan. If there's material out there on him, I probably have it.

Cynthia True tells a good story (albeit in a pretty journalistic way) and it helped me to understand Hicks' background a little better, but it lacked the polish and substance I wanted - more anecdotal stuff from Jimmy Pineapple and some of the other comidians he came through with would have been nice.

The alcohol abuse is...more
Keith Bowden
The life of one of my heroes, comedian Bill Hicks.

“I had a vision of way we could have no enemies again, if you’re interested in this. Anybody interested in hearing this? It’s kind of an interesting theory, and all we have to do is make one decisive act and we can rid the world of all our enemies at once. Here’s what we do.

"You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defense every year? Trillions of dollars. Instead, if we spent all that money feeding and clothing the poor of the w...more
Juan Alvarado Valdivia
A must-read for his fans though many times it felt like a glorified outline of a biography of Bill Hicks. It focused much more on the stand-up comedy aspects of his life instead of delving, say, further into his childhood, although that terrain was sufficiently glossed over so that you understood how and why Bill came to be. I loved the minutiae, the bitty details about him. Wish there was a more comprehensive biography of him that had more of that, but that said, this one is solid. Just heartbr...more
Chris Ortez
I loved this biography of Bill Hicks, arguably one of the best stand-ups in history. I loved him while he was alive and was really sad when he left this earth, far too soon as is often the case with genius artistic types.

I read this a long time ago but I remember it being well-done in my opinion. I knew some of the stories already (I was friends with a few people who worked at Cobb's and Holy City Zoo) but it was a compelling read nonetheless.

One of the last bits is really touching about a tree...more
Cody Gillespie-Lynch
Bill Hicks died far too young :(
Tom Menner
Bill Hicks is one of my favorite comedians, and this book is an excellent telling of his history, his influences, and his sad death from pancreatic cancer when he was just about to make it big. There is also a good discussion of the infamous incident where Hicks' routine was cut from the "The Late Show with David Letterman" because Letterman and the producer felt it was too edgy. Letterman to his credit apologized years later and admitted it was a mistaken decision, and ran the routine in its en...more
Dave
I'm only giving this a four because it's about one of my favorite comedians of all-time. Overall, it's kind of a dull read probably because the author couldn't get the type of access that was necessary for such a book. It probably would've helped if the subject would have lived beyond the age of 32, as such, it feels as incomplete as Hicks' career and work. The end is depressing but he died with a lot of respect.
Nial O'farrell
This is a must read for fans of Bill Hicks like I am. Its very good and my only complaint is that it is very matter of fact and doesnt go into too much depth. His life story is laid out well but not much insight to his comedy and how or why he became a great comedian. No long interviews with anyone who knew him well but its still a good read.
Tommy
Bill Hicks is hard to capture on the page. But, I came away with a better understanding of his brilliance and his frustrations after reading "American Scream".

There hasn't been a voice in comedy like him since. "American Scream", if nothing else, makes you appreciate that fact.
Ron
It's truly--pun intended--a shame that the book about the greatest comedian ever was written by a terrible magazine writer who looks like she wasn't alive before Bill was dead. Of course, having Moon Zappa listed among one's feedback readers is no recommendation...
Bybee
Great research about the short life of comedian Bill Hicks, but the writing style was terrible. I don't like starchy, academic biographies, but this one could have used a dose of that.

Time to go to YouTube and watch some of Hicks' routines.
Zach Peterson
While the subject matter of this book makes for a great read, the writing seems to be down unenthusiastically and reads very much like a research paper. I love Bill Hicks and hope that I come across another biography that is better written.
Fraser
A good solid introduction to Bill Hicks, but you just cannot beat the real deal in action through source material.

I enjoyed the book but nowhere near as much as "Love all the People" and subsequently watching and re-watching his recorded shows.
Susan
This was an interesting book about an interesting person. It was full of stories about Bill Hicks's life as a comedian, but I wish it went into more depth about why he said and did the things he did. It's worth reading, though.
Travis
I love this guy... I mean, as much as one man can love another man that provoked uproariously laughter and revealed lesser known truths about existence in a profound and humorous manner, and that he never actually met...
Dave-o
Interesting (for the most part) biography of Bill Hicks. It left me feeling really depressed.

Also, it carries the torch for the installment of Hicks as the Jesus Christ of stand-up comedy.



Justin
Bill Hicks should never be forgotten. His words still ring true today. A rebel, he serves as an inspirational soul to many who have had the pleasure of hearing his commentary. Not for the faint of heart!
Rory
Pretty straightforward bio. Not v exciting. Loking forward to the one written by his friend, Kevin Booth, which is supposed to be much livlier, as you'd expect.
Lauren
I enjoyed this book when I read it as it was interesting to hear about Bill Hicks life but having subsequently read the one by Kevin Booth, this one pales in comparison.
Brad
Huge disappointment. Bill Hicks tops every comedian's list as one of the best ever but this book is so poorly written that it made an interesting man seem so mundane.
Gene
As a huge Bill Hicks fan I'm obviously biased, but this was a good book about a great story. Anyone who knows/likes Hicks would really like this book.
Angus Hodge
Great read. A lot said about Hicks' life, arguably not enough about his legacy.
Stoiph
Sep 25, 2007 Stoiph rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bill Hicks fans
It's actually not written very well (I didn't think anyway), but Bill Hicks is a GENIUS and any fan of his should read it just because. Also one of my heroes.
Sean Kegler
Anyone a fan or not a fan of the great Bill Hicks must read this book to see how one man evolved ideas to change the world.
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