by Tom Folsom
Published by HarperCollins, March 2013
The kid gone wrong in “Rebel Without a Cause.” The hippie outlaw in “Easy Rider.” The crazed photojournalist in “Apocalypse Now.” The drunken dad in “Hoosiers.” The twisted psychopath in “Blue Velvet.” The actor once taken under the wing of none other than John Wayne. A quintessentially American dreamer who wanted to be the next Orson Welles. All of these characters stack up to show but one side of Dennis Hopper.
The life of Dennis Hopper is one of the great American stories, populated by icons not just from Hollywood, but from the spheres of politics, art, and music . Known as a revolutionary, a gifted performer, an addict plagued by demons, and as a cultural tastemaker, his is a uniquely American life, a cinematic story that starts during the Great Depression in Kansas and follows the path of 60s rebellion and 70s hedonism to 80s greed and beyond. Always a man of extremes, always a man of the highest of highs and the lowest of the lows, Dennis Hopper was more than anything a man who played the game of life by his own rules.
Hopper is a rip-roaring road trip through Dennis’s many lives, packed with hundreds of interviews with his fellows actors, wives, artists, musicians, residents of Taos, New Mexico (where Hopper spent much of his most drug addicted time) telling the greater story of a half-century of rebellion waged at the edge of American culture.
Tom Folsom is the author of The New York Times bestseller The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld, and the co-author of Mr. Untouchable: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Heroin’s Teflon Don, which was the basis of the film American Gangster. Folsom lives in New York City.
“Fortunately for him, Dennis Hopper has gotten the biographer he deserves. Which is to say, Folsom’s gonzo prose pulsates with Hopper’s manic energy and fits his madness like a glove.”
-- Peter Biskind, New York Times bestselling author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.
“…an electric and rollicking tour-de-force profile of Hollywood’s great outlaw chameleon. All the wild-eyed stories and high-octane pathos in these pages make me miss the edgy, ‘grand artiste Hopper anew. A knockout book.”
-- Douglas Brinkley author of Cronkite
“Dennis did a lot for motorcycling with his movie “Easy Rider.” Folsom has written a book that shows Dennis’ life like it was: crazy but brilliant.”
-- Ralph “Sonny” Barger author of Hell’s Angel and former head of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels.
“Essential reading for anyone interested in Dennis Hopper, the explosive 60’s, Hollywood, American cinema, and fine art of the 20th century. But watch out—this visceral book puts you right in it, and some of it is jaw-dropping.”
--Philippe Mora, director of “Mad Dog Morgan,” starring Dennis Hopper.
“What a terrific book. Dennis would have loved it and hated it. Beautifully written, stunningly accurate, Hopper captures all the wonderful and terrifying contradictions of the sweet, sad, funny, angry, and loving man that was Dennis.”
--Henry Jaglom, director of “Tracks” starring Dennis Hopper.
“Dennis Hopper was unlike any human I’ve ever met: consumed with passion for his subject, aesthetically brave, yet possessing a gentle heart. Though I would have said it couldn’t be done, Tom Folsom has captured the real Dennis.”
-- Karen Black, actress and Dennis Hopper’s costar in “Easy Rider.”
“…a rich portrayal of an unconventional, free-wheeling thinker whose checkered experiences shock and beguile on the page."
-- Kirkus Review
“Mr. Folsom plays the part of his (Hopper’s) spiritual medium, taking us through each chapter of the Kansas-born, James Dean-worshipping, psychedelic psychotic’s life, describing exactly what was going through the mind of the semi-tragic American almost-hero at each juncture.”
-- New York Observor
"Biographer Tom Folsom is the man to tell this tale – he’s a norm-stomper hisself and like forebears Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson is spare of word and makes good use of exclamation points. Go forth and read this book, break pointless rules and make art."
-- Michael Simmons, High Times