Best Selling Books by Kurt Andersen

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release date: Sep 05, 2017
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Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The single most important explanation, and the fullest explanation, of how Donald Trump became president of the United States . . . nothing less than the most important book that I have read this year.”—Lawrence O’Donnell

How did we get here?

In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.

Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our love of the fantastic has made America exceptional in a way that we've never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.

Fantasyland could not appear at a more perfect moment. If you want to understand Donald Trump and the culture of twenty-first-century America, if you want to know how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you must read this book.

Praise for Fantasyland

“With this rousing book, [Kurt] Andersen proves to be the kind of clear-eyed critic an anxious country needs in the midst of a national crisis.”San Francisco Chronicle

“A frighteningly convincing and sometimes uproarious picture of a country in steep, perhaps terminal decline that would have the founding fathers weeping into their beards.”The Guardian

“This is an important book—the indispensable book—for understanding America in the age of Trump. It’s an eye-opening history filled with brilliant insights, a saga of how we were always susceptible to fantasy, from the Puritan fanatics to the talk-radio and Internet wackos who mix show business, hucksterism, and conspiracy theories.”—Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci
release date: Nov 07, 2017
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You Can't Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody)
Political satire as deeper truth: Donald Trump’s presidential memoir, as recorded by two world-renowned Trump scholars, and experts on greatness generally
 
"I have the best words, beautiful words, as everybody has been talking and talking about for a long time. Also? The best sentences and, what do you call them, paragraphs. My previous books were great and sold extremely, unbelievably well--even the ones by dishonest, disgusting so-called journalists. But those writers didn't understand Trump, because quite frankly they were major losers. People say if you want it done right you have to do it yourself, even when 'it' is a 'memoir.' So every word of this book was written by me, using a special advanced word processing system during the many, many nights I've been forced to stay alone in the White House--only me, just me, trust me, nobody helped. And it's all 100% true, so true--people are already saying it may be the truest book ever published. Enjoy."
 
Until Donald Trump publishes the ultimate account of his entire four or eight or one-and-a-half years in the White House, the definitive chronicle will be You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year As President. Trump was elected because he was the most frank presidential candidate in history, a man eager to tell the unvarnished truth about others’ flaws and tout his own amazing excellence. Now he levels his refreshingly compulsive, un-PC candor at his landslide election victory as well as his role as commander-in-chief and leader of the free world.
 
There are intimate, powerful, mind-boggling revelations on every page. You are there with him during his private encounters with world leaders, a few of whom he does not insult. You are there at the genius Oval Office strategy sessions with his advisers. You are there in his White House bedroom as he crafts the pre-dawn Twitter pronouncements that rock the world. And, of course, you are there on the golf course as Trump attempts to manage the burdens of his office. 
 
President Trump explains each of the historic decisions that have already made America great again, and how he always triumphs over the fake news media. You'll learn what he really thinks of his cabinet members and top aides not related to him, of the First Lady and the First Daughter and the additional three or four Trump children. Included at no extra charge is a lavish and exclusive portfolio of spectacular, historic and intimate color photographs of President Trump in private – inside the White House, inside Mar-a-Lago, at Trump Tower, and more. 

You Can’t Spell America Without Me is presented by America’s foremost Trump scholar Kurt Andersen as well as America's foremost mediocre Trump impersonator, Alec Baldwin.

You Can't Spell America Without Me is the perfect holiday gift!
release date: Sep 29, 2009
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The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (Penguin Classics)
Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Böll's powerful novel about a woman terrorized by the media

In an era in which journalists will stop at nothing to break a story, Henrich Böll's The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum has taken on heightened relevance. A young woman's association with a hunted man makes her the target of a journalist determined to grab headlines by portraying her as an evil woman. As the attacks on her escalate and she becomes the victim of anonymous threats, Katharina sees only one way out of her nightmare. Turning the mystery genre on its head, the novel begins with the confession of a crime, drawing the reader into a web of sensationalism, character assassination, and the unavoidable eruption of violence.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
release date: Oct 14, 2014
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The Who, the What, and the When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History
In the bestselling tradition of The Where, the Why, and the How, this offbeat illustrated history reveals 65 people you've probably never heard of, but who helped shape the word as we know it. Muses and neighbors, friends and relatives, accomplices and benefactors—such as Michael and Joy Brown, who gifted Harper Lee a year's worth of wages to help her write To Kill a Mockingbird. Or John Ordway, the colleague who walked with Lewis and Clark every step of the way. Each eye-opening story of these unsung heroes is written by a notable historian and illustrated by a top indie artist, making The Who, the What, and the When a treasure trove of word and image for history buffs, art lovers, and anyone who rejoices in unexpected discovery.
release date: Dec 26, 2007
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Heyday: A Novel
Heyday is a brilliantly imagined, wildly entertaining tale of America’s boisterous coming of age–a sweeping panorama of madcap rebellion and overnight fortunes, palaces and brothels, murder and revenge–as well as the story of a handful of unforgettable characters discovering the nature of freedom, loyalty, friendship, and true love.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, modern life is being born: the mind-boggling marvels of photography, the telegraph, and railroads; a flood of show business spectacles and newspapers; rampant sex and drugs and drink (and moral crusades against all three); Wall Street awash with money; and giddy utopian visions everywhere. Then, during a single amazing month at the beginning of 1848, history lurches: America wins its war of manifest destiny against Mexico, gold is discovered in northern California, and revolutions sweep across Europe–sending one eager English gentleman off on an epic transatlantic adventure. . . .

Amid the tumult, aristocratic Benjamin Knowles impulsively abandons the Old World to reinvent himself in New York, where he finds himself embraced by three restless young Americans: Timothy Skaggs, muckraking journalist, daguerreotypist, pleasure-seeker, stargazer; the fireman Duff Lucking, a sweet but dangerously damaged veteran of the Mexican War; and Duff’s dazzling sister Polly Lucking, a strong-minded, free thinking actress (and discreet part-time prostitute) with whom Ben falls hopelessly in love.

Beckoned by the frontier, new beginnings, and the prospects of the California Gold Rush, all four set out on a transcontinental race west–relentlessly tracked, unbeknownst to them, by a cold-blooded killer bent on revenge.

A fresh, impeccable portrait of an era startlingly reminiscent of our own times, Heyday is by turns tragic and funny and sublime, filled with bona fide heroes and lost souls, visionaries (Walt Whitman, Charles Darwin, Alexis de Tocqueville) and monsters, expanding horizons and narrow escapes. It is also an affecting story of four people passionately chasing their American dreams at a time when America herself was still being dreamed up–an enthralling, old-fashioned yarn interwoven with a bracingly modern novel of ideas.
"In this utterly engaging novel, the author of Turn of the Century brings 19th-century America vividly to life . . . While this is a long book, it moves quickly, with historical detail that's involving but never a drag on the action; the characters are beautifully drawn. A terrific book; highly recommended." Library Journal
"Heyday is fuled by manic energy, fanatical research, and a wicked sense of humor.... It's a joyful, wild gallop through a joyful, wild time to be an American." -Vanity Fair


From the Hardcover edition.
release date: Oct 25, 2006
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Spy: The Funny Years
Just in time for the 20th anniversary of Spy's creation comes the definitive anthology, inside story, and scrapbook. Spy: The Funny Years will remind the magazine's million readers why they loved and depended on Spy and bring to a new generation the jewels of its reporting and writing, photography, illustration, design, and world-class mischief-making. It will demonstrate Spy's singular niche in American magazine and cultural history. But it is also intended to be enjoyed on its own: one beautiful volume containing Spy's funniest and most creative work, along with the ultimate insiders account of how it all came to be.

All the best is here: Separated at Birth; Naked City; The Fine Print; Logrolling in Our Time; the Blurb-o-Mat; those hysterical (and now ubiquitous) charts; the inside stories on the New York Times and Hollywood by J.J. Hunsecker and Celia Brady; the covers; investigative features; and the hilarious stories on pretty much everyone who was anyone during the late 80s and early 90s. Not to mention the often grisly but always entertaining regular cast of characters from Spy's pages -- the churlish dwarf billionaires; beaver-faced moguls; bull-whip-wielding uber-agents; knobby-kneed socialites; and, of course, short-fingered vulgarians.

During its heyday, from 1986 through 1993, Spy broke important ground in journalism and design, defining smartness for its generation. It was a once-in-a-lifetime creation that shaped the zeitgeist and succeeded (for a while) against all odds. Spy: The Funny Years will be the fun, stylish, hilarious holiday gift of the year.

release date: Oct 14, 2020
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The real thing: A guide to separating the genuine from the ersatz, the man from the boys, and the wheat from the chaff
The real thing: A guide to separating the genuine from the ersatz, the man from the boys, and the wheat from the chaff
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release date: Jul 16, 2013
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True Believers: A Novel
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • San Francisco Chronicle

In True Believers, Kurt Andersen—the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Heyday and Turn of the Century—delivers his most powerful and moving novel yet. Dazzling in its wit and effervescent insight, this kaleidoscopic tour de force of cultural observation and seductive storytelling alternates between the present and the 1960s—and indelibly captures the enduring impact of that time on the ways we live now.

Karen Hollander is a celebrated attorney who recently removed herself from consideration for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her reasons have their roots in 1968—an episode she’s managed to keep secret for more than forty years. Now, with the imminent publication of her memoir, she’s about to let the world in on that shocking secret—as soon as she can track down the answers to a few crucial last questions.

As junior-high-school kids back in the early sixties, Karen and her two best friends, Chuck and Alex, roamed suburban Chicago on their bikes looking for intrigue and excitement. Inspired by the exotic romance of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, they acted out elaborate spy missions pitting themselves against imaginary Cold War villains. As friendship carries them through childhood and on to college—in a polarized late-sixties America riven by war and race as well as sex, drugs, and rock and roll—the bad guys cease to be the creatures of make-believe. Caught up in the fervor of that extraordinary and uncanny time, they find themselves swept into a dangerous new game with the highest possible stakes.

Today, only a handful of people are left who know what happened. As Karen reconstructs the past and reconciles the girl she was then with the woman she is now, finally sharing pieces of her secret past with her national-security-cowboy boyfriend and activist granddaughter, the power of memory and history and luck become clear. A resonant coming-of-age story and a thrilling political mystery, True Believers is Kurt Andersen’s most ambitious novel to date, introducing a brilliant, funny, and irresistible new heroine to contemporary fiction.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

Praise for True Believers

 
“Funny, fiendishly smart.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“A great American novel.”—Vanity Fair
 
“A big, swinging novel . . . [a] colorful story . . . This could be the most rambunctious meeting your book club will have for a long time.”—The Washington Post
 
“Intelligent and insightful . . . Think The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and Atonement, a ’60s-era female Holden Caulfield. . . . Andersen is an agile storyteller. . . . [There are] witty, occasionally even profound observations about the ’60s and today.”—USA Today
 
“So epic: Part thriller, part coming-of-age tale, the novel alternates between the present and the 1960s, capturing some of America’s most pivotal moments in history like a time capsule.”—Marie Claire
 
“This is an ambitious and remarkable novel, wonderfully voiced, about memory, secrets, guilt, and the dangers of certitude. Moreover, it asks essential questions about what it means to be an American and, in a sense, what it means to be America.”—Booklist (starred review)
 
“Fascinating and wisely observant.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
release date: May 04, 1999
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Turn of the Century: A Novel
As big and exciting as the next century, this is a novel of real life at our giddy, feverish, topsy-turvy edge of the millennium. Turn of the Century is a good old-fashioned novel about the day after tomorrow--an uproarious, exquisitely observed panorama of our world as the twentieth century morphs into the twenty-first, transforming family, marriage, and friendship and propelled by the supercharged global businesses and new technologies that make everyone's lives shake and spin a little faster.
        
As the year 2000 progresses, George Mactier and Lizzie Zimbalist, ten years married, are caught up in the whirl of their centrifugally accelerating lives. George is a TV producer for the upstart network MBC, launching a truly and weirdly groundbreaking new show that blurs the line between fact and fiction. Lizzie is a software entrepreneur dealing with the breakneck pleasures and pains of running her own company in an industry where the rules are rewritten daily. Rocketing between Los An-geles and Seattle, with occasional stopovers at home in Manhattan for tag-team parenting of their three children, George and Lizzie are the kind of businesspeople who, growing up in the sixties and seventies, never dreamed they would end up in business. They're too busy to spend the money that's rolling in, and too smart not to feel ambivalent about their crazed, high-gloss existences, but nothing seems to slow the roller-coaster momentum of their inter-secting lives and careers.
        
However, after Lizzie, recovering from a Microsoft deal gone awry, becomes a confidante and adviser to George's boss, billionaire media mogul Harold Mose, the couple discovers that no amount of sophisticated spin can obscure basic instincts: envy, greed, suspicion, sexual temptation--and, maybe, love. When they and their children are finally drawn into a thrilling, high-tech corporate hoax that sends Wall Street reeling (and makes one person very, very rich), George and Lizzie can only marvel at life's oversized surprises and hold on for dear life.
        
Like Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, Kurt Andersen's Turn of the Century lays bare the follies of our age with laser-beam precision, creating memorable characters and dissecting the ways we think, speak, and navigate this new era of extreme capitalism and mind-boggling technology. Entertaining, imaginative, knowing, and wise, Turn of the Century is a richly plotted comedy of manners about the way we live now.
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release date: Aug 06, 2012
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Significant Objects

Collects the results of a literary experiment in which a best-selling or popular author wrote a short fictional prose story about an object on eBay, raising its value; the profit from the object’s sale then went to charity.

Please note:  In the spirit of discovery that the book promotes, this product has two different jackets (pink or blue) pictured above.  The customer will be shipped at random and will not be able to specify one jacket or the other. 

100 EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY THINGS

SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: A Literary and Economic Experiment

Can a great story transform a worthless trinket into a significant object? The Significant Objects project set out to answer that question once and for all, by recruiting a highly impressive crew of creative writers to invent stories about an unimpressive menagerie of items rescued from thrift stores and yard sales.

That secondhand flotsam definitely becomes more valuable: sold on eBay, objects originally picked up for a buck or so sold for thousands of dollars in total — making the project a sensation in the literary blogosphere along the way.

But something else happened, too: The stories created were astonishing, a cavalcade of surprising responses to the challenge of manufacturing significance. Who would have believed that random junk could inspire so much imagination?

The founders of the Significant Objects project, that’s who. This book collects 100 of the finest tales from this unprecedented creative experiment; you’ll never look at a thrift-store curiosity the same way again.

FEATURING ORIGINAL STORIES BY: Chris Adrian • Rob Agredo • Kurt Andersen • Rachel Axler • Rob Baedeker • Nicholson Baker • Rosecrans Baldwin • Matthew Battles • Charles Baxter • Kate Bernheimer • Susanna Breslin • Kevin Brockmeier • Matt Brown • Blake Butler • Meg Cabot • Tim Carvell • Patrick Cates • Dan Chaon • Susanna Daniel • Adam Davies • Kathryn Davis • Matthew De Abaitua • Stacey • D'Erasmo • Helen DeWitt • Doug Dorst • Mark Doty • Ben Ehrenreich • Mark Frauenfelder • Amy Fusselman • William Gibson • Myla Goldberg • Ben Greenman • Jason Grote • Jim Hanas • Jennifer Michael Hecht • Sheila Heti • Christine Hill • Dara Horn • Shelley Jackson • Heidi Julavits • Ben Katchor • Matt Klam • Wayne Koestenbaum • Josh Kramer • Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer • Neil LaBute • Victor LaValle • J. Robert Lennon • Jonathan Lethem • Todd Levin • Laura Lippman • Mimi Lipson • Robert Lopez • Joe Lyons • Sarah Manguso • Merrill Markoe • Tom McCarthy • Miranda Mellis • Lydia Millet • Maud Newton • Annie Nocenti • Stephen O’Connor • Stewart O’Nan • Jenny Offill • Gary Panter • Ed Park • James Parker • Benjamin Percy • Mark Jude Poirier • Padgett Powell • Bob Powers • Todd Pruzan • Dan Reines • Nathaniel Rich • Peter Rock • Lucinda Rosenfeld • Greg Rowland • Luc Sante • R.K. Scher • Toni Schlesinger • Matthew Sharpe • Jim Shepard • David Shields • Marisa Silver • Curtis Sittenfeld • Bruce Sterling • Scarlett Thomas • Jeff Turrentine • Deb Olin Unferth • Tom Vanderbilt • Matthew J. Wells • Joe Wenderoth • Margaret Wertheim • Colleen Werthmann • Colson Whitehead • Carl Wilson • Cintra Wilson • Sari Wilson • Douglas Wolk • John Wray

Full color throughout
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