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American Rhapsody

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  209 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
  If the Watergate scandal was a previous generation's National Nightmare, then maybe the Clinton scandal was our National Wet Dream, and who better to narrate it than the screenwriter Joe Eszterhas?  In American Rhapsody, Eszterhas, whose credits include Basic Instinct and Showgirls, and Charlie Simpson's Apocalypse, for which he was nominated for a National Book Award, t ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 13th 2001 by Vintage (first published 2000)
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Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am giving this a 4 star review because it's funny and it's fair, because no one walks away unscathed...and properly so.

This happens to be a great time to read this book, right before the 2016 elections, a good time to review who Nixon or Bob Dole or the Clinton's were (are...will be again).

From what I can tell, the research is flawless. And there will be no misunderstanding between when it's fact time and when it's fun time (such as the fictional Bob Dole talking about his defective Johnson
Larry Retzack
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any Hunter Thompson fan.
Anyone who's a Hunter Thompson fan of gonzo journalism will love this book. I'd never heard of it but came across it while reshelving books in my high school library and it quickly pushed Lies My Teachers Told Me (a scathing indictment of the teaching of US history in America) to the back burner.

Joe Eszterhas, screen writer of the blockbuster commercial feature-length film Basic Instinct starring Sharon Stone and her infamous pantie-less scene, provides a close look not only at the Hollywood f
Sep 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting book and despite I'm sure much literary license a good insight to some of our recent presidents. You learn what a total degenerate Bill Clinton is. I had an idea but the truth is worse. Al Gore is a Bore. Total dullard. I did the audiobook which was extra fun bc there were hillbilly narrations for Clinton and a Texas slur for Bush. You read / hear this and wonder how do these people get elected. Insightful to the inside world of politics. The author has some good stories on Hollywood ...more
Robert P. Hoffman
I reread this book over the summer of 2016 and it is even better than I remember it from the first reading. It was also depressing to read it as Hillary Clinton was being nominated and seeking to become the first woman President. The Clintons were corrupt, morally bankrupt, willing to use their powers to cover up their abuses. Hillary certainly knew what was going on; the author is quite effective in arguing that her reported shock and surprise when Bill Clinton admitted he had lied about the Le ...more
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is Joe Eszterhas' crazy-quilt of all things Clinton and Lewinsky, plus other political musings mixed with Hollywood stories and 20th century American social study. It's a unique book, alright, nonlinear and jam-packed with well-researched facts and crude absurdity. It's fun and a crazy ride, but I wonder if Eszterhas had to put up with any libel suits as the material on MANY political figures is brutal. I laughed many times, winced quite a few more. Joe is a brave guy, no doubt about i ...more
Feb 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: daveg, journalism
Damn do I wish I could select 3.5 stars. But I just can't give it 4. That being said, this book was pretty entertaining. Which is something I would expect coming from Joe Eszterhas. Say what you will about the his (in)famous material, the man does know how to write.

Joe, as he mentions in this book, used to write for Rolling Stone, and that flavor comes through loud and clear in this book. Joe also used to work with Hunter Thompson, and that influence comes through loud and clear to me as well,
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book has got to be the biggest pile of trash I've read but it's actually kind of entertaining for a while. Then all the politics and trashiness and whole chapters written from the point of view of Bill's dick named Willard (for crying out loud) just gets too much, too boring, and the whole story is so dated and who cares enough to read every little trashy pathetic detail of it for 417 pages (of a rather large book with smallish print may I add). Also the author spends half the book tossing ...more
Drew Spears
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I simultaneously loved and abhorred this book. Essentially, Joe Eszterhas, writer of 'Showgirls' and 'Basic Instinct', details the Clinton/Lewinsky affair but since Joe Eszterhas is insane it is equal parts baby-boomer grandstanding, repetitively hailing Clinton's sexual exploits as 'rock and roll', and film industry bragging (one chapter seemed to mainly be in the book as a way for Eszterhas to imply he fucked Sharon Stone). Some chapters are fictitious monologues from the point of view of Hill ...more
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Believe it or not, this book created quite a buzz when it came out in 2000. Now, fourteen years later, with only 18 reviews, 164 ratings, and a site-wide rating of a paltry 3.19 (which is quite on the low end as things go on this site), it is obvious that this book made no lasting impression on American political culture. I would recommend this book to anyone still interested in the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, if such people exist.
Kealan O'ver
Nov 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Sordid and seedy which climaxes (heh!) in a chapter told from the perspective of Bill Clintons penis. Thankfully this was the final chapter so I didn't feel to bad about stopping at that point when I realised who was narrating.
Gets an extra star for teaching me more than I knew about the Clinton sex scandal incident and a bit of a bio of all the players involved.
Aug 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: conservatives
Ok, not gonna get into a political broohahah here. And I realize most of this story, based on fact, was also ellaborated by the mind of the author, who is also a screenwriter ("Basic Insinct" and "Showgirls")... but the story of Bill and Monica, and Jennifer Flowers, and Hilary it's juicy and alarming. Who knew DC could be so sexy?
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was an audiobook and filled my commute with plenty of entertainment. But it only increased my disgust with the regime, and Eszterhas wants to shock and entertain more than inform. I've tried to forget it.
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Deliciously salacious. Irresistible. Social commentary and keen observations about the players in politics and in the entertainment industry; but emphasizing this book's value as social commentary is like buying Playboy and claiming to be only interested in the articles.
Rick Caster
Aug 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Crazy politics book about the Bill and Hillary Clinton White House years, told by the screen-writer of Hollywood films such as "Showgirls" and "Basic Instinct". Hilarious and somewhat shocking at times....
Jul 21, 2007 rated it liked it
The only reason the guy that wrote this is famous is because he wrote that shitty movie Showgirls. The way he talks about it you'd think it was a classic. Maybe an assic. Hey-oh!! Regardless, it's an tabloid-y look into the Hollywood/political scene. Not good, but not horrible.
Aug 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
The author is unafraid to expound upon his own importance and to continually make judgments on his subjects. May have been juicy when the Clinton scandal was fresh, now it just feels tired and overblown.
Nov 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bazin
American Rhapsody is a fascinating exercise in self-deception and Hollywood bias.
Jan 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Wow, wow, wow. My mind has been assulted with information and I may never be the same..... Got this book from my Dad and it is something else.
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
it is sorta gross and lots of sex in here...and it is so weird...
Les Webb
Nov 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Who knew that four hundred and sixty four pages about Bill Clinton's dick would be so damn enjoyable?
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it more than I should have(as did Pres. Clinton). LOL
May 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Wow - the self-importance of this dude is astonishing. I did enjoy the penis dialogue at the end...
Oct 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I almost gave it three stars just for the monologue Clinton's talking penis (you can say penis on goodreads cant you???) delivers near the end but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
R.K. Byers
Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
a chapter or two away from being an absolutely great book.
Jul 02, 2010 added it
Loved EVERY page of it!
Jul 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book is an insider perspective on the Industry. also dishes on a few actors and actresses and that makes it better.
rated it liked it
Jul 11, 2014
rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2012
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Joe Eszterhas is a Hungarian-American screenwriter, known for films such as Jagged Edge, Music Box, Basic Instinct and Showgirls. Before becoming a screenwriter he was a journalist and has also written non-fiction books and memoirs.
More about Joe Eszterhas...