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The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures Hardcover – 7 Oct 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; 1st edition (7 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405049502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405049504
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Curled Up with a Good Book, 8/08"It's a fun read, but even more so, it's an interesting one. You'll have trouble putting it down...Theroux presents the humanity in his subjects without necessarily sympathizing with them, walking the fine line between their extreme views and the normalcy of everyday life... Alternately funny and disturbing...An excellent read."

Book Description

Louis Theroux's hilarious and thought-provoking journey through weird America --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a really entertaining book, actually very funny at times - the bit with the alien medium was hilarious.
Theroux writes well - in a light and effortless to read style.
While it isn't too serious, he does pause to muse on the nature of weirdness, the origins of abnormal beliefs and behaviours in his subjects, and his own motivations for covering them. This is done without pretentious psychobabble.
The people covered are really fascinating and Theroux's interactions with them, as viewers of his TV series will know, are always revealing and amusing.
I really recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
As a Louis Theroux fan, I will try my best to give a honest non-biased opinion on this book.

Although before buying any book, I normally only read the negative reviews as I'm more interested in what is NOT good about a book I'm considering reading, I did gave this book 5 stars. I am an extremely picky reader who has a hard time finding a book decent enough to hold my attention - as well as this, it should be noted that the theme of the book is something i already have great interested in, so obviously that helped. If you're not interested in social insights, sub-cultures, even travel - then there probably isn't any point buying this book to be fair. Now, for those that are looking for this kind of book;

I found the book extremely easy to read, and highly addictive due to its segmented nature. Clear chapters on specific individuals representing a role model of a specific sub-culture; each of these chapters divided up into clear introduction/background, current progress and after thought sections. He writes in a well educated manner that not only makes reading it enjoyable, but also really helps the mind paint mental pictures of various scenes, people and places with great detail.

While traveling the USA to meet his topic characters, we have an insight into the surrounding society of various locations; towns, cities and states. The book echoes the travel writing style once popularized so well by Louis father.

As well as these sides to the book, I found it interesting in an almost autobiographical sense.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a bit of a fan of Louis Theroux's TV documentaries, but I came to this book not sure what to expect. Was it a travel book, a study in weirdness, a confessional, quirky, serious? But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how quickly I ploughed through it.
The title is a bit mis-leading - "travels through American sub-cultures" - as this isn't really a travel book but a study of ten characters who Louis has met over the course of his journalism.
Louis moves to America and spends almost a year on a kind of road trip seeking out his favourite "weird" subjects. A porn performer, an alien-hunter, a pimp(!), Ike Turner and some scarey racist neo-nazis to name just a few. The chapter I found most fascinating was one about a woman called April. She's a neo-nazi and has two young blonde twins who she trains to sing nazi songs.
Somehow the humanity of even the most reprehensible of these people shines through. And Louis obviously has quite a close, affectionate bond with a lot of these people.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to figure out what compels people to believe outlandish things or to choose bizarre modes of life. Keep an open mind, and you wil love this book as i did!
Am I the first person to read this??? BUY IT!
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Format: Hardcover
The word 'debut' seems a little weird for Louis, after all, most of the people who pick up this book will be long familiar with Louis and his collection of mad hatters from across the pond. Settling down with Louis' journey feels like rekindling some long lost friendships. I was most interested to catch up with Hayley, who I am sure had a bit of a thing for Louis - who wouldn't? Not even Christine Hamilton was impervious. Louis writes as he talks: charming, self efacing and respectful of his interviewees despite them having some horrific views. Ah...with the exception of Marshall Sylver who was a bit of a scumbag anyway. More power to you Louis and don't let anyone call you a poor man's Jon Ronson.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's very hard to review this book. In terms of it being a brilliant companion to Louis' 'Weird Weekends' show - it was fantastic. It is written in the style of how he normally comes across - honest and unbelievably fair considering the circumstances he finds himself in.

The let down points weren't in the writing of the book but the content (more to do with personal preference than the stories and interviews included). I was very interested in some story lines compared to others but I persisted in reading it as it was still entertaining nevertheless. I was also hoping some other characters that he came across in the TV show would turn up but alas due to difficulties in Louis being able to gain contact with them, this is obviously why.

However, as long as you have watched the series and developed an interest in whether these people have changed since appearing in the show, I would definitely recommend it.
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