In a crowded travel writing market, John Jeremiah Sullivan has provided a fresh perspective on America with Pulphead.
Part travelogue, part biography, part political commentary, this collection of keenly observed essays pulled from the pages of GQ, Harper’s Magazine and similar publications covers a wide range of subjects, with Sullivan’s skill as a journalist and interviewer shining through. What sets this collection apart is the angle he comes from – these essays aren’t about unexplored America, but rather the unexamined.
By successfully ingratiating himself with the people he is profiling, he takes us with him as he travels to a Christian rock festival, navigates massive underground cave systems and participates in the curious phenomenon of a conservative march [“Conservatives do not march.”] The strongest essay in the book, the fantastically titled “Violence of the Lambs” is a fascinating study of the animal kingdom rising up against humanity. Sullivan’s observations are always sharp, yet never cruel, and give an enjoyable view of unseen America.