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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

3.5 (114 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Herbert USA 12-02-08
    Herbert USA 12-02-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    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 2006
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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 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Chicago, IL 03-28-13
    Michael Chicago, IL 03-28-13 Member Since 2010

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

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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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yedidya Tel Aviv, Israel 02-07-11
    Yedidya Tel Aviv, Israel 02-07-11 Member Since 2007
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    9
    Overall
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joshua warner robins, GA, United States 12-07-10
    joshua warner robins, GA, United States 12-07-10
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    2
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    "jesus people... did you do any research?"

    i love how just about all of the negative reviews have so little to do with the actual work itself! we get it, you don't like to hear/read about he subject matter in which you paid to hear/read about with this one! again, did any of you do the damn research.... or atleast simply look at the illicitly suggestive cover art? yes, it did drag on in parts... but subject matter is something you all were aware of before you started your endeavors here. how can you bitch and complain that writing about such matter was the wrong thing for Carr to do? if you feel so f*ing strongly about the subject matter, then reading it was the wrong thing for YOU to do. that's your fault. fools.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne boulder, CO, USA 04-18-10
    Anne boulder, CO, USA 04-18-10
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    3
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    "One of best books I have ever listen to"

    I love how Charles Leggett read the story and his voice made me want to listen to more and more. The book and the reading made me feel like I was there listening to a amazing personal story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elliot Lethbridge, AB, Canada 02-05-10
    Elliot Lethbridge, AB, Canada 02-05-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Could.. not.. Stop... Listening"

    This is a story about a junkie, a junkie who just happens to be a fantastic writer. I listened to it every free second I could. One of the best audible books I've gotten so far.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacquelyn Willingboro, NJ, USA 01-04-10
    Jacquelyn Willingboro, NJ, USA 01-04-10
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    "Reality"

    Thank you David Carr for sharing some of the most difficult moments of your life. My daughter is addicted to alcohol and drugs, and has also been in and out of rehab. The memory loss, the dazed looks and the pain of knowing she's killing herself made your book even more poignant. I still have hope.....Thank you

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashley Canberra, Australia 12-09-08
    Ashley Canberra, Australia 12-09-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Are you kidding?"

    Can't believe this was picked as one of the best of 2008. This is nothing but the self indulgent rantings of a self confessed scumbag. This book is the ultimate proof (as if any more was needed) that Americans just can't help blabbing to the world about things that really, really shouldn't be shared. If this guy had an ounce of class he'd have stayed extremely quiet about his years as a coke fiend and just thanked God he'd come out the other side more or less intact. And by the way it's not even particularly spectacular or interesting as an addiction story! Vastly inferior to Jimmy Lerner's "You Got Nothing Coming".

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Springfield, VT, USA 05-11-09
    Mark Springfield, VT, USA 05-11-09
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    "An Act of Addiction"

    As a psychiatric nurse, lawyer, and the child of many generations of alcoholics, I have some experience in the world in which Mr. Carr moves. The author freely acknowledges this book is an act of overt narcissism. More importantly, however, it is an act of addiction. Mr. Carr merely trades his self-involved drinking and using for self-involved writing. The aggrandizement of his actions, good and bad, is as toxic and revealing as would be watching him tip a glass or snort a line. In the guise of telling the journalistic "whole truth," Mr. Carr settles scores with old adversaries and ingratiates himself to old friends. Ninth stepping this ain't. This book manages to be shameless and shameful at the same time. If Mr. Carr truly embraced the principles of recovery he reports to hold so sacred, he would have made his amends and this journey in privacy and humility. We all have dark moments, some as dark as Mr. Carr's, but to shout them from the parapets of Simon & Schuster is to debase the real drama and struggle in order to sell books.
    I am astonished at the fact that most reviewers laud Mr. Carr's prose style; it is royally purple and ridiculously melodramatic. His penchant for overusing words like "prosaic" and "trope" is pedantic and amateurish.
    After the 13 hours required to listen to this book, I wish I could dismiss it as just another badly acted Lifetime Movie. It is far worse than that. That any publisher could do anything but embarrassedly pass on this book speaks volumes (pun intended) about the publishing industry. My only recommendation for Night of the Gun and its author is more meetings, many, many more meetings.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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