Literary Rogues by Andrew Shaffer(5 out of 5)

These sorts of collections are the best non-fiction around for someone like myself to dig into. Shaffer wrote a similiar collection about philosophers who failed at love. I gave that one 4 stars. It just didn’t have the seedy grit that I normally so relish in a book. This collection- no such complaints.

From Baudelaire to present day troublemakers(James Frey, anyone?), you get a full helping of those who had serious addictions, whether it is pharmaceutical, alcoholic, or sexual. I learned much more than I ever wanted to about Oscar Wilde and his pecadillos, much more than I wanted to know about Vollner shooting the glass off of his wife’s head, fatally wounding her. Much more than I wanted to know about Hunter S. Thompson’s pill/booze stash for a weekend in Vegas. More than I wanted to know about Dorothy Parker’s myriad affairs. More than I wanted to know, but I couldn’t put the book down. That’s the successful mark of a great book. Shaffer has an uncanny ability to deliver the stories like they are, but to throw in some incredulity for what anecdotes he’s delivering. It’s a great little read, history buffs as well as those who enjoy some sleazy tabloidism, will enjoy. 

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~ by generationgbooks on February 17, 2013.

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