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American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story
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American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  1,056 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews

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
Paperback, 252 pages
Published 2005 by Pan (first published January 25th 2002)
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Mark Farley
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Michael Brown
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I've been an avid Hicks fan for a very long time and I know that people say that quite often, and quite a few times it's all bullshit. The reason I love Hicks so much is that he said exactly what I was thinking most of the time. He connected with his fans on a level that most comedians only dream of and American Scream was finally our chance to learn about who Hicks was. I think most of the problem is True's fear of upsetting his fans. She gives us exactly what we want and we get to know Bill a ...more
S. Taylor
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Keith Bowden
Jun 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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
Juan 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 Grierson
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An efficient biography of a bright young funny man that gripped me so much I read it in less than two days. Alright so it helps that I'm extremely fascinated by him, but it's narrative makes you keep going, page after page. A brilliant insight into his life. Almost everything he says makes sense to me, he was the voice of reason in a world very much lacking in common sense. He had a short life.. But he lived it! He did what he wanted, said what he wanted (within reason of course), and didn't giv ...more
Chris Ortez
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tom Menner
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cynthia's biography is concise and entertaining, more importantly it is free of bias, offering no commentary on Bill Hick's actions, of which some lesser writer would have a lot to say about; Cynthia allows her readers to form their own opinions of Bill Hicks and leaves us still thirsty for some of his actual material.
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.
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Jun 07, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...
Susan 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.
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Apr 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy
Sublime comic, laughable writer, and a story worth telling. Listen to his CDs instead.
Sean Kegler
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A book that's both funny and extremely sad, a must-read for any Bill Hicks fan (and if you're not a fan, why not?!)
Sep 07, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  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.
Sep 08, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
really good book on hicks
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