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American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot | [Craig Ferguson]

American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark - as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.
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Publisher's Summary

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark - as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: in 1993, the washed-up Ferguson washed up in the United States. Finally sober, Ferguson landed a breakthrough part on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, a success that eventually led to his role as the host of CBS's The Late Late Show.

By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008, just before his command performance for the president at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.

©2009 Craig Ferguson; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

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  •  
    J. S. California - United States 11-23-09
    J. S. California - United States 11-23-09 Member Since 2009

    TV Oldie

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    "Great Autobiography!!!"

    I really enjoyed listening to this book. Many people write good books - but not many can read them out loud as well. Craig Ferguson can do both!! It brought new insight to his personality and life that I was not aware of before . . . and has made me want to read more and see more of his offerings. Great job!!! Highly recommend it!!!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-08-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Fantastic!"

    This was a great listen! Engaging, funny and heartfelt. Made me laugh, made me cry, made me appreciate my life as a born and bred American. Highly recommend it.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynbee San Jose, CA, United States 11-30-12
    Cynbee San Jose, CA, United States 11-30-12 Member Since 2012

    former nuclear scientist

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    "pulls no punches but skips a lot"

    I got this book because my hb is a big fan of Craigy Ferg, but senses "a dark side" in the man. I watch his show occasionally and I find him funny. This autobiography recounts his life from childhood until right before his most recent (third) marriage.

    I learned a little about Scotland and a lot about alcoholism. Ferguson has no trouble starkly revealing how badly he has behaved in his life, from abusing alcohol and drugs and friends to cheating on his wife to living in America illegally. His stories are usually interesting, but sometimes (perhaps to protect the privacy of others?) he skips over huge chunks or leaves out details while going on and on and on about, say, hallucinated killer ducks. These passages can drag a little, as can his so-repetitive-as-to-seem-insincere self-deprecation.

    I'm glad I got this book: it was a quick listen and kept my attention for the most part. I lost a little respect for the man but gained a deeper understanding of where his comedy comes from. If you're a fan, definitely get this.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Travis Oneonta, New York United States 08-29-12
    Adam Travis Oneonta, New York United States 08-29-12
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    "Thoughtful and Funny"
    Would you listen to American on Purpose again? Why?

    Yes. As this is an autobiography read by the author, there is a sense that he is really telling you his story. I had already read the book once, but listening to it was a different and fun experience.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of American on Purpose?

    Listening to Craig retell the tale of being chased by slightly imaginary killer ducks while having a bad acid trip.


    What does Craig Ferguson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Hearing the story in his voice really give the feeling that he's telling you the story of his life.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Exactly what the tagline of the book is: the Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward C. Charbonnet Memphis, TN 07-27-12
    Edward C. Charbonnet Memphis, TN 07-27-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Articulate immigrant who LOVES America and why"

    Early in this book he cleverly refers to America as the "Land of Failure". But he means this in a VERY positive way. He says it is the only place he knows where you can fail over and over again until you finally get it right and succeed. He sure did. Due to severe alcohol and drug problems he actually plotted his own suicide and almost pulled it off. But friends helped him find treatment and recovery. As of the book's writing he has been sober for 17 years.

    I loved the stories of his family, his Uncle who is so dear to him, and his comedy and acting friends. As for his marriage failures he blames no one but himself and he sure seems to have it all together now. After reading this I enjoy his late night TV show even more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary new port richey, FL, United States 06-25-12
    Mary new port richey, FL, United States 06-25-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Craig in his element. Sad,happy,funny,never boring"

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I am also from Scotland and was interested to find out how he portrays his formative years. It is common knowledge that he LOVES America, but his thoughts of his homeland and the life that led to his becoming American is interesting, sad, funny and not in the least bit boring.... I have a feeling that there's a lot missing and he's taken pains not to be too derogatory toward his past,whilst telling of the ups and downs of 'regular' life 'back home'
    Craig has a nice style and sense of the ironic....it made for a very enjoyable listen

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Gannon Lutz, FL United States 04-19-14
    Amanda Gannon Lutz, FL United States 04-19-14 Member Since 2013

    Engineer in business school. I appreciate every genre but find business/professional reading and epic fantasy best suited to audio format.

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    "Great Book!!!"
    What did you love best about American on Purpose?

    Craig Ferguson does a great job of honestly connecting with the reader. He is open, warm, and funny. I liken him to Rob Lowe as a memoir writer.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The hilarious tales of the hijinks he got himself into, usually followed by deep introspection. I appreciated that he did not try to gloss over past mistakes and that he was able to have a very positive outlook on some really awful situations.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book for a long run or a long commute; be warned, you won't want to put it down!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tommy NEWPORT NEWS, VA, United States 04-22-13
    Tommy NEWPORT NEWS, VA, United States 04-22-13 Member Since 2012

    I want to feel good when I complete a story & am a little harsh on depressing ones. There are a few sad ones that I love but not many.

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    "Pretty good"

    I am a fan of Craig Ferguson so the story interested me. I have allot of respect for Craig and his brutally honest tale of his past triumphs and failures was inspiring.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    i. Ski Duluth, Minnesota 10-21-12
    i. Ski Duluth, Minnesota 10-21-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Original and honest -- well written and well told"

    I admit I am a fan -- ever since viewingThe Big Tease and Saving Grace. These films are worth viewing and I really enjoyed hearing him discuss the trials and tribulations of trying to have these films made by companies more interested in box-office returns than fidelity to the scripts' writers.

    In this book, Ferguson continues to display his honest emotions as well as great comedic timing. The result (for me) is one of the best autobiographies I have listened to in quite some time. Ferguson has a self-deprecating style of narration that allows a rather interesting life story to be told. He is a likable person with a great sense of the fickle world of entertainment. I have never listened to a more engaging narration.

    I really appreciated his exploration of the role that alcohol played in his early career and relationships -- it was a false partnership that Ferguson relied on until his life unraveled sufficiently to convince him to confront his problems. All of us, alcoholic or not, can appreciate the self-examination necessary to make such a huge change.

    I can't imagine any other person narrating this story -- it is intimate and personal. Thank you Craig Ferguson.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly Memphis, TN, United States 10-06-12
    Beverly Memphis, TN, United States 10-06-12
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    "Kudos!"
    Would you listen to American on Purpose again? Why?

    Craig's voice and friendly, chatty manner invite a re-listen, yes, definitely.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Hearing Craig read it himself. Only he didn't read it so much as just tell his story, as if he had never rehearsed a word, it was fresh and funny.


    What does Craig Ferguson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The accent (obviously!), a deeper connection between the man and his beautifully honest, humble rise to fame. There is more to him than the guy at the desk on the Late Late Show, for sure, here he goes into personal territory and it's not always for laughs. It gives such deep meaning to his "It's a great day for America" slogan. He means it with all his heart and now you know why.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed constantly, and sympathized quite often.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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