SO far the most acclaimed first-person account of the current Iraq War is "Generation Kill," in which LA journalist evan wright embedded himself in a marine battalion quite different from the soldiers who fought the vietnam war.
today i have an LA Times piece on wright, who i sat down with recently. a very serious, sincere and complicated dude who makes the case (both in his work and in conversation) for print journalism. (i got the un-macho ohioian in a very dazed state, just off a plane from japan, and he seemed to slowly reorient as his espresso kicked in.)
anyway i knew i was going to like wright's new book "hella nation" -- chronicles of neo-nazis, would-be porn stars, a runaway agent -- when he distanced himself from hunter s. thompson and instead quoted the godlike a.j. liebling.
the book collects pieces wright wrote when he was "ambassador to the underbelly," as his dad once put it.
one of my favorite pieces in the book is about taxi-dance places in LA, originally edited by renowned editor janet duckworth, then at the LA weekly. the piece is a masterpiece of empathy and historical vision.
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