Kick Ass: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen

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University Press of Florida, 1999 - Literary Collections - 447 pages
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"You just cover a lot of territory and you do it aggressively and you do it fairly and you don't play favorites and you don't take any prisoners.  It's the old school of slash-and-burn metropolitan column writing. You just kick ass.  That's what you do.  And that's what they pay you to do."--Carl Hiaasen

"Carl Hiaasen is one of America's finest novelists. His newspaper column is another side of the same talent, examining with a corrosive writer's eye the outrageous carnival of Southern Florida. The inhabitants are all here: thieves, conmen, and hustlers, perfumed swine and oiled mannequins, legal swindlers and patriotic crooks, executioners and lap dancers, and yes, even an occasional hero. This is a splendid collection by a native son whose rage at the despoiling of Florida can only be relieved by dark laughter."--Pete Hamill

Readers who eagerly anticipate each new Carl Hiaasen novel will relish this selection of his Miami Herald columns, written with the same dark humor and satirical edge as Tourist Season, Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, and the rest of Hiaasen's brilliant and nationally acclaimed fiction. Known for evoking the disastrously flawed paradise of modern South Florida, Hiaasen proves in these columns that facts can indeed be stranger than the fiction they inspire.

  Beginning with "Welcome to South Florida," a chapter introducing such everyday events as animal sacrifice, riots at the beach, and a shootout over limes at the supermarket, this collection organizes over 200 columns into 18 chapters, chronicling the events and defining the issues that have kept the South Florida melting pot bubbling throughout the '80s and '90s. An introductory essay provides an overview of Hiaasen's career and outlines his principal concerns as a journalist.

Since its inception in 1985, Hiaasen's twice-weekly "baseball-bat-to-the-forehead" column has become enormously popular for its passionate conviction and willingness to confront powerful interests in pursuit of the public good. Amid the corruption and chaos of a city on the edge, Hiaasen's pointblank honesty and clear articulation of what's right have secured him wide respect across the community's many racial and ethnic divides as well as the admiration of his peers, who compare him to A. J. Leibling, I. F. Stone, and H. L. Mencken.

In addition to South Florida color and world-class journalism, readers of Kick Ass will find one of Florida's staunchest defenders in action, and they'll take great pleasure in watching him work.


Bestselling author Carl Hiaasen has written Tourist Season, Strip Tease, Sick Puppy, Skinny Dip, and many other novels that have helped define Florida noir. He is also the author of three popular books for young readers, Hoot, Flush, and most recently, Scat. His nonfiction includes Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World and Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. A Florida native and lifelong resident, Hiaasen still writes regularly for the Miami Herald, where he has worked for 33 years and where these columns first appeared. Diane Stevenson teaches research writing in the psychology department at the University of Florida.

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About the author (1999)

Carl Hiaasen was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on March 12, 1953. He received a degree in journalism from the University of Florida in 1974. He has been a reporter and columnist for the Miami Herald since 1976, and is known for exposing scandal and corruption throughout southern Florida. He has received numerous state and national honors for his journalism and commentary including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club. His work has also appeared in numerous magazines including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Time, Life, Esquire and Gourmet. His best-selling novels include Double Whammy, Skin Tight, Native Tongue, Stormy Weather, Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, and Nature Girl. His 1993 novel, Striptease, was adapted as a film in 1996 starring Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds. He also writes children's books including Hoot, which was awarded a Newbery Honor; Flush; and Scat. Hoot was adapted into a film in 2006. His non-fiction works include Team Rodent; The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport; and two collections of his newspaper columns entitled Kick Ass and Paradise Screwed. In 2013 his titles Chomp and Bad Monkey made The New York Times bestseller list. In 2014, his non-fiction title Dance of the Reptiles made it to the New York Times bestseller list.

Stevenson is associated director of writing programs in the Department of English at the University of Florida.

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