TVD Radar: Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone in stores 10/24

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Joe Hagan’s long-awaited bombshell—Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine—will be published on October 24. In the book, Wenner opens up his personal and professional life to the scrutiny of a journalist for the first time.

Over the course of several years, Wenner gave Hagan hours of interviews and access to his enormous archive, but in the end, he did not have approval on the material. Sticky Fingers is an independent chronicle of Wenner’s life, chock full of explosive revelations. “One of the toughest parts of being a journalist is pivoting away from a relationship with the subject to writing about him or her with honesty and integrity,” says Hagan. “It’s also the most crucial part of the job.”

Kirkus, in the first pre-publication review, hails Sticky Fingers as “definitive… a moving portrayal of a complicated, brilliant, flawed man… a man whose thumbprint on the American culture was matched only by a vacillating stew of ego and insecurity. For fans, newbies, and journalism junkies alike, the iconic stories are here… Patty Hearst, John Lennon, Hunter Thompson, Annie Leibovitz, Mick Jagger, etc.”

In Sticky Fingers, Hagan goes deep on the mercurial editor and his legacy by securing on-the-record interviews with Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Bono, Art Garfunkel, Elton John, Cameron Crowe, Keith Richards, Pete Townsend, Yoko Ono, Lorne Michaels, Steve Miller, Jon Landau, Dan Aykroyd, Michael Douglas, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel, Bette Midler, David Geffen, Tom Wolfe, Annie Leibovitz, and Danny Fields, among others. Their candid and revealing comments depict the extremes Wenner has been willing to visit in pursuit of both success and pleasure, and help to explain how Rolling Stone became a locus of power and influence and headline-making news, from Altamont to Fear and Loathing to the University of Virginia rape allegation.

Hagan lays out the full breadth of Wenner’s life, from his ambitious youth in San Francisco and the uncertain first days of Rolling Stone, to his seismic rise as a 1970s kingmaker of rock and roll and a vainglorious and irascible media mogul of Manhattan.

“Wenner possessed a unique vision,” says Hagan. “He had an intuitive grasp of how to connect the counterculture to the so-called straight world and convert this rude world of rock and dope into fame, power, and money. He knew there was money to be made from day one. As it turned out, there was millions.”

Wenner defined the woolly new rock culture by hiring some of the most significant critics of his generation, including Lester Bangs, Cameron Crowe, Jon Landau, Kurt Loder, and Greil Marcus. His eye for brilliant writers became legend, from Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe to P. J. O’Rourke and Matt Taibbi, making Rolling Stone synonymous with an irreverent and righteous new journalism. Above all, Jann Wenner understood the power of image-making to redefine stardom in America. That may, in fact, be his most enduring legacy.

Wenner’s marksmanship as an editor, his capacious understanding of the zeitgeist, his outsized ambition and ego, and his capacity for betrayal, are all on display in Sticky Fingers. “Wenner has manufactured an unforgettable cultural mythology out of the stories and images he has brought to newsstands every other week for five decades,” said Hagan, “but there has been a cost to his success, including lost friendships.”

Sticky Fingers gives readers a nuanced portrait of a man who helped define a generation, and provides an explosive chronicle of an era.

Joe Hagan has written for Rolling Stone and also for New York, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He has published long-form profiles and investigative exposés of some of the most significant figures and subjects of our time, including Hillary Clinton in her first post-Secretary of State interview, Karl Rove, the Bush family, Henry Kissinger, Dan Rather, Goldman Sachs, The New York Times, and Twitter.

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