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The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life - His Own | [David Carr]

The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life - His Own

In The Night of the Gun, David Carr redefines memoir with the revelatory story of his years as an addict and chronicles his journey from crack-house regular to regular columnist for The New York Times. Built on 60 videotaped interviews, legal and medical records, and three years of reporting, The Night of the Gun is a ferocious tale that uses the tools of journalism to fact-check the past.
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Publisher's Summary

Do we remember only the stories we can live with? The ones that make us look good in the rearview mirror? In The Night of the Gun, David Carr redefines memoir with the revelatory story of his years as an addict and chronicles his journey from crack-house regular to regular columnist for The New York Times.

Built on 60 videotaped interviews, legal and medical records, and three years of reporting, The Night of the Gun is a ferocious tale that uses the tools of journalism to fact-check the past. Carr's investigation of his own history reveals that his odyssey through addiction, recovery, cancer, and life as a single parent was far more harrowing - and, in the end, more miraculous - than he allowed himself to remember. Over the course of the book, he digs his way through a past that continues to evolve as he reports it.

That long-ago night when he was so out of his mind that his best friend had to pull a gun on him to make him go away? A visit to the friend 20 years later reveals that Carr was pointing the gun.

His lucrative side business as a cocaine dealer? Not all that lucrative, as it turned out, and filled with peril.

His belief that after his twins were born, he quickly sobered up to become a parent? Nice story, if he could prove it.

The notion that he was an easy choice as a custodial parent once he finally was sober? His lawyer pulls out the old file and gently explains it was a little more complicated than that.

In one sense, the story of The Night of the Gun is a common one: a white-boy misdemeanant lands in a ditch and is restored to sanity through the love of his family, a God of his understanding, and a support group that will go unnamed. But when the whole truth is told, it does not end there.

Ferocious and eloquent, courageous and bitingly funny, The Night of the Gun unravels the ways memory helps us not only create our lives, but survive them.

©2008 David Carr; (P)2008 Simon and Schuster, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Whoa: a breathtakingly candid, laugh-out-loud funny, heroically rigorous, consistently riveting, and deeply moving account of a nightmarish descent and amazing redemption." (Kurt Andersen)
"David Carr's The Night of the Gun reinvents the memoir genre by applying a dose of journalistic integrity. Carr's style is as elegant as his saga is gritty, and the story of his life is simply extraordinary. " (Jeffrey Toobin)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (156 )
5 star
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4.1 (68 )
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4.2 (68 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Herbert USA 12-02-08
    Herbert USA 12-02-08
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    "Night of the Gun"

    Great story about a Reporter, (David Carr) who interviews friends and associates in an attempt to recall past experiences and events of his life when he was in the life (drugs, alcohol etc.) The narrator gives riveting descriptions and accounts of some of his trips to crack houses and his many attempts at rehab. A story not for the weak at heart, but a brave one in deed and told well.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Chicago, IL 03-28-13
    Michael Chicago, IL 03-28-13

    A lover of thrillers and enthralling stories told by dramatic and well read narrators.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You'd think this would be a lot more interesting.."

    I'm a fan of Mr. Carr's writings in the New York Times, and was fascinated to hear about his book. However, what I got was an overwrought, unfocused mess. You'd think that a story of addiction would be totally engrossing, as the reader takes you through Carr's early days of drinking, and drugging, but I found it incredibly dull, which was a suprize!! Take a listen before you buy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yedidya 02-07-11
    Yedidya 02-07-11 Member Since 2013
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    "very very boring"

    the book is repetitive and nothing novel. The author, keeps repeating a very brief incident without giving is substance. Avoid if possible!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Golladay Greenville, SC USA 11-08-08
    E. Golladay Greenville, SC USA 11-08-08 Member Since 2014
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    "Like Watching a Train Wreck"

    Carr's self-destructive, self-indulgent, narcisstic and totally selfish life is laid out with jumps back and forth in time which can be annoying. He really needed a good editor because the last third of the story dragged like molasses. When he admitted to allowing his brother to settle his debts pennies on the dollar -- an unofficial bankruptcy -- that did it for me. He did, after all, obtain the services or purchase the things he decided he could not afford to pay for because he was drunk or drugged out when he purchased/obtained them. Why people like him think, ok, it will be hard for me to pay my debts . . . so I won't, and think that is acceptable is a mystery to me. I also can't imagine why exposing his hellatious life of rotten decisions would in some way help and not deeply embarrass his children. My guess is he did it for money. Having said all this, I admit I listened to almost the whole thing -- skipping several chapters during said boring last third.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    monique Astoria, NY, United States 03-11-15
    monique Astoria, NY, United States 03-11-15 Member Since 2014
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    "So very smug"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    My friend in recovery thinks this book is the best biography about addiction ever. I found David Carr to be unbearably impressed with himself. and the narration just made it so much worse. My said friend is also a narcissist, and kind of unbearable as well, so I guess birds of a feather flock together....


    Has The Night of the Gun turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. I enjoy gritty books about people who triumph over huge obstacles, such as drug addiction. The human heart naturally cheers for the underdog who ultimately succeeds with flying colors. There is just something really stinky about this guy. He is really annoying.


    What didn’t you like about Charles Leggett’s performance?

    He reads David Carr like some pseudo Hunter S. Thompson swashbuckling rogue. Almost like debauchery porn. Ugh. And the meek candy glossed voices of the people interviewed is just unbearable and nauseating. All men and women interviewed think David Carr was just this really awesome guy who happened to be shooting coke. They all seem to possess wide eyed admiration, and are childish, cardboard and colorless when set against the "almighty, wildly fun and genius DAVID CARR".


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was listenable. Could tolerate it as a backdrop while I worked.


    Any additional comments?

    Wouldn't want to meet him in "the rooms". Obviously he doesn't have any need to meet me either, since there are already 1000 people walking around with t-shirts that read "A Close And Personal Friend Of David Carr". Perhaps there are a few extra t-shirts around for the likes of my ego-centric friend who adores this guy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    electricblue201 03-11-15 Member Since 2014
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    "RIP David Carr"

    I'm sorry I hadn't heard about this memoir before this remarkable man passed away. I knew of his excellent work for the New York Times but not the backstory. This memoir keeps your interest both for the content and the structure, which is thematic rather than a strictly
    linear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ann steiner 03-05-15
    ann steiner 03-05-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Speaker needs big help!"

    Many names and places aroundminneapolis were Mispronounced. Poor job by the narrator. Come on, do your basic homework and get local names accurately pronounced. Good story by Carr, bad job by novice narrator!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Michael Jones 03-03-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Loved it"

    At parts, gut wrenching and difficult to keep listening. Also, brutally honest and beautifully written. I couldn't stop listening. Well done all around!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Ferguson 03-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Buckle Up!"

    Gifted storyteller, great thinker, elegant writer... The narrative (and the narrator) were absolutely engaging from start to finish. Thanks for sharing, Carr!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kim brookline, MA, United States 02-28-15
    kim brookline, MA, United States 02-28-15 Member Since 2013

    I love to be read to!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well written and a poor performance"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend the book but not the audiobook. I read exerpts from the book in the New York Times and I was greatly impressed with Mr. Carr's writing. The story is compelling. The narration is monotone and very forcefull. This book has many passages outlining Mr. Carr's recovery from drugs and the narrator really made me want to turn off this part. He drones on and is even preachy in a sort of holier than thow fashion.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Mr. Carr is a beautiful writer. His turn of phrase is eloquent.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Charles Leggett?

    I don't know enough about narrators to name one however having had this experience before I would have liked to hear Mr. Carr narrate his own book. Mr Carr recently died however I would imagine this could have been recorded when published. sorry to see that chance is gone.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Very forceful and monotone. The force in the voice just did not invite me to enjoy listening. I hung in because I knew the writing was good. The narrator reminded me of a 1950's cop show on TV. This can work for a time but over and over?


    Any additional comments?

    Please take more care when choosing narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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