Miss America (book)

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Miss America
Howard Sterns Miss America Hardback Cover.jpg
AuthorHoward Stern
Cover artistJack Heller (Design)
Oscar Gonzalez (Design)
Paul Aresu (Photo)
CountryUnited States
Publication date
November 7, 1995
Media typeHardcover (1995)
Paperback (1996)
Pages482 (Hardcover)
592 (Paperback)
Preceded byPrivate Parts 
Followed byHoward Stern Comes Again 

Miss America is the second book by American radio personality Howard Stern, released on November 7, 1995, by ReganBooks.

Upon release Miss America became the fastest-selling title in the publisher's history.[1][2] In October 1996, a paperback edition was released in three different covers with Stern sporting different coloured wigs, plus additional colour photographs.

Background and writing[edit]

In 1995, Stern made an advance deal worth around $3 million with ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins, to publish a follow-up to his first book Private Parts (1993).[3] Judith Regan was assigned as the book's editor, which she had also done for Private Parts. Stern wrote the book in two months over the summer of 1995, often working on it for seven or eight hours at home having done his radio show in the morning.[4] He collaborated with Larry "Ratso" Sloman, who had also edited Private Parts. Stern aimed not to write a book "more outrageous" than Private Parts, but concentrated on stories and topics that he had either not told on the air or had avoided.[5] The book was structured without a set beginning, middle, and end, rather to allow the reader to open it at any chapter.[6] Regan said that Stern had performed beyond what was expected of him, writing 40,000 words for the book, equivalent to four-and-a-half books. "I said, 'Howard. Stop writing.'"[6] When the book was finished, Stern felt a bigger sense of gratification with it compared to his radio show and when Regan praised him for what he had written, he described it as "the most fulfilling moment in my career so far".[4][6]

Stern named the book after a remark from his father. He explained: "When I was a kid growing up in high school, I would come down the steps. My parents were disgusted by me. I had started this growth spurt. I looked like a big, hairy pencil. I'm walking down the steps and my father would look at me and I'd be in my underpants. And he looked down at his son who was sprouting with facial hair and he'd go, 'Oh, look. There's Miss America.'[7] The title caused a rift with those in charge of the Miss America beauty pageant who, in a letter to HarperCollins, argued that the book contained "tasteless" photographs "that deal with subject matter having nothing to do with our client". Regan maintained she acted with caution with the title and thought it was safe to use.[8] An early working title was Sloppy Seconds in reference to a gang bang, but Regan rejected it because she deemed it "gross" and a put down on himself.[6] Another rejected title was Mein Kampf, the same title as Adolf Hitler's book, and Big Nose, Small Hose.[8]

Stern announced the book on his radio show on August 28, 1995. He revealed that he had completed a draft version of the entire book at that point, with two chapters finalised, though Regan maintained he had exaggerated how little he had produced for her. A title had yet to be settled upon.[9] Stern had written a chapter about the Simpson case but felt it would date the book, and found himself editing what he had written as the case had yet to reach a verdict while he was writing it. He then decided to scrap the chapter.[4] Stern dedicates the book to his radio show intern Steve Grillo. His other choice was Lonnie Hanover, the owner of Scores, a strip club which Stern and his staff used to visit.[10]


The front cover depicts Stern dressed in drag. The back cover features a picture of Stern with O. J. Simpson at Donald Trump's wedding in 1993. The phrase "Getting away with murder" is printed in large white letters, referring to Simpson's murder case in which he was acquitted on two counts of murder.[4] Regan rejected two photographs and illustrations that Stern had chosen to include in the book. One depicted Simpson showing Stern how to slash and dismember his wife; another showed Stern holding a hatchet and his wife's severed leg while Simpson coaches him. In a letter to Stern's agent Don Buchwald, Regan said they were "beyond tasteless" and "entirely inappropriate". One that Regan accepted depicted Stern's wife, covered in blood with her eyes rolled up and her neck slashed, being fed through a meat grinder operated by him while Simpson stands by giving the thumbs up.[11] Regan said that Simpson was "not happy" with the back cover.[6] Following the book's release Stern commented on the reaction to the picture: "That's the kind of thing that my wife and I felt strongly about-O. J. should be in jail. She was totally comfortable with it, although she looks at it and thinks it's much worse now."[4]


Miss America was released on November 7, 1995,[6] a week earlier than the original release date.[8] It was further promoted with an hour-long television special on the E! network, which broadcast daily highlights from the radio show on the channel, in December 1995.[6]

Stern biographer Luigi Lucaire reported that Miss America sold six printings within 12 hours of its release.[1] The Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue in New York City opened at 6:30am on the day of the book's release, with over 250 people in line. By the end of the first day, Miss America sold 33,000 copies at Barnes & Noble stores across the United States, a first day record for the country's largest book seller.[12] The book broke the previous record for the fastest selling book in one day, previously being Sex by Madonna in 1992.[12] At Book Soup in Los Angeles, 500 copies were sold by 9am on the day of release.[6]

Miss America entered the non-fiction section of The New York Times Best Seller list at number one for the week of November 26, 1995,[13] knocking off My American Journey by Colin Powell.[12] It remained at the top for three weeks,[14] and on the list for 19 weeks.[15]

The book sold more than nine copies for every one copy of the next best-selling book on the list.[16] By the end of 1995, Miss America had sold 1,398,880 hardcover copies, making it the third best-seller of the year, according to a March 1996 edition of Publishers Weekly.[1]

In 1996 alone, the book sold more than 1.6 million copies.[17] Miss America became the number one selling paperback of 1998 at Amazon.com.[17]

Three different versions of a paperback edition were released on October 16, 1996, that featured Stern dressed as a drag with blonde, brunette and red hair.



  1. ^ a b c Lucaire, Luigi (1997-01-15). Howard Stern, A to Z: The Stern Fanatic's Guide to the King of all Media. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-15144-7.
  2. ^ Brumley, Al (1995-11-19). "So that's why Stern is like that - It's just payback time for Howard". Archived from the original on 1999-10-23. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  3. ^ Colford 1997, pp. 265–266.
  4. ^ a b c d e Brumley, Al (November 19, 1995). "So that's why Stern is like that". Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on October 23, 1999. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  5. ^ Hall, Jane (November 25, 1995). "Mr. America strikes again". Los Angeles Times. p. F1. Retrieved April 28, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Lacher, Irene. "Howard Stern Strikes Again: The Shock Jock's Second Book Shoots to the Top". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  7. ^ Mink, Eric (1995-01-14). Katie Couric and Howard Stern. This Is Today. ISBN 9780740738531. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
  8. ^ a b c "Miss America lawyers see red over Stern book". The Journal News. November 6, 1995. p. B7. Retrieved April 30, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Stern returns with new book". Star-Gazette. August 29, 1995. p. 5A. Retrieved April 28, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Author!, Author!". The History of Howard Stern – Act III. January 1, 2010. SiriusXM.
  11. ^ Benza, A.J.; Kennedy, Helen (October 19, 1995). "Stern pix of Juice get the ax". New York Daily News. p. 3. Retrieved April 28, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ a b c D. Luerssen, John (2009-01-24). American Icon: The Howard Stern Reader. Rock Reader Books. ISBN 978-0-557-04204-3.
  13. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List – November 26, 1995 – Non-Fiction" (PDF). Hawes. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  14. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List – December 10, 1995 – Non-Fiction" (PDF). Hawes. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  15. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List – March 31, 1996 – Non-Fiction" (PDF). Hawes. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  16. ^ Chavez, Linda (1995-11-23). "The "Stern-ing" of America?". Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  17. ^ a b "Howard Stern Books". The Complete Howard Stern Links. 2001-01-12. Archived from the original on 1999-02-02. Retrieved 2009-05-09.


External links[edit]