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Joe Hagan

23 October 2017 | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

The journalist Joe Hagan discusses his new book Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine (Knopf, 2017), with Joseph Planta.

Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan (Knopf, 2017).

Click to buy this book from Amazon.ca: Sticky Fingers

Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:

I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver, at TheCommentary.ca.

The book is Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine. It’s well over 500 pages, and it is a compelling and fascinating read about one of the cultural landmarks of the 20th century and its founder. The life of Wenner is so intertwined with the magazine, that when he announced he was selling off the rest of the magazine (he’d sold off under half of the ownership some years ago), many wondered if the magazine would have a buyer since the media landscape is what it is today, and if it would survive without Jann Wenner at its helm. The book is being released this week to much talk in the press. Its subject has come out against the book, saying its author Joe Hagan has produced “something deeply flawed and tawdry.” The New York Times headline from last week said it all, “Wenner and His Biographer Have a Falling Out.” Wenner has even defriended Mr. Hagan on Instagram. Joe Hagan’s book though is a great achievement. There are a lot of interviews, including reflective ones with Jann Wenner himself, his former wife Jane Wenner, as well as dozens of artists and musicians whose lives and work have crossed into the orbit cultivated by Wenner and Rolling Stone. You get a sense too of how this magazine became the home to significant writers and critics in the second half of the twentieth century. Perhaps the reason the book’s subject doesn’t like the book is that it reveals Wenner as he is: the iconoclast and his ego; mercurial and capricious; instinctive and revolutionary. And that the author has drawn a comparison of Wenner to Donald Trump and captured the zeitgeist of our recent history, is all the more reason to buy this book. Joe Hagan has written for Rolling Stone, New York magazine, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He has published many long form profiles of significant figures of our time. This is his first book. It is published by Knopf. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Joe Hagan; Mr. Hagan, good morning.