Hella Nation

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Hella Nation
Hella Nation (book cover).jpg
AuthorEvan Wright
CountryUnited States
GenreEssays, Sociology, Military
PublisherPutnam Adult
Publication date
April 2, 2009
Media typeHardcover

Hella Nation: Looking for Happy Meals in Kandahar, Rocking the Side Pipe, Wingnut's War against The Gap, and Other Adventures with the Totally Lost Tribes of America is a 2009 book written by journalist Evan Wright who previously wrote Generation Kill.

Hella Nation mostly chronicles different subcultures across America he encountered while working for Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair magazines. It also includes a chapter profiling soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division who Wright accompanied in the early days of the war in Afghanistan. All but one of the essays were previously published as magazine pieces, but the versions published in the book have been greatly expanded.[1]

Content and themes[edit]

Hella Nation presents Wright's portraits of a variety of American subcultures and oddball personalities, including tree-dwelling ecoterrorists, Aryan Nation skinheads, Internet con artists, porn stars, the rock band Mötley Crüe[2] and a former William Morris Agency talent agent during his darkest hours. One critic compared the collection to the Joan Didion book Slouching Towards Bethlehem.[3]

The book includes an essay by Wright about his first experiences as a journalist while working as an adult film reviewer at Hustler magazine. Though many of the subjects covered in the book are disturbing, such as crime and pornography, Wright presents them as part "a comically macabre portrait of American life."[4]


In the first chapter of Hella Nation Wright discusses his friendship with David Foster Wallace[5] who wrote about Wright in one of his own essays titled "Big Red Son" included in Wallace's book Consider the Lobster.[6]

Wright's approach to his subjects has been compared to that of Hunter S. Thompson and is sometimes labelled as Gonzo though Wright rejects the categorization.[7]

Wright claims to have an affinity for writing about outsiders because as he states in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review he ran away when he was a child and was sent to a home for troubled youth.[8]


Hella Nation includes an expanded version of an essay, "Pat Dollard's War on Hollywood" for which Wright received the 2008 National Magazine Award for profile writing.[9]


  1. ^ Timberg, Scott (April 5, 2009), "Evan Wright: Going where the wild things are", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2010-11-23
  2. ^ https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/evan-wright/hella-nation/
  3. ^ Carson, Tom (April 2009), "Hustle and Flow", Los Angeles Magazine, retrieved 2010-11-23
  4. ^ Astor, Michael (April 12, 2009), "Author Evan Wright Takes Darkly Comic View of U.S.", The Herals, retrieved 2010-11-23
  5. ^ Wright, E. (2009). Hella Nation: Looking for Happy Meals in Kandahar, Rocking the Side Pipe, Wingnut's War Against the Gap, and Other Adventures with the Totally Lost Tribes of America. G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 13. ISBN 9780399155741. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  6. ^ http://www.observer.com/2008/media/glenn-kenny-premiere
  7. ^ Moyer, Justin (April 2009), "Gonzo Once Removed", Washington Post, retrieved 2010-11-23
  8. ^ Marcus, James (April 2009), "High and Outside", Columbia Journalism Review
  9. ^ Vanity Fair Magazine. "Evan Wright | Vanity Fair". vanityfair.com. Retrieved 2015-04-08.

External links[edit]