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JERRY STAHL (author of, most recently, I, Fatty)

John Albert’s Wrecking Crew: The Really Bad News Griffith Park Pirates (Scribner) is not the kind of substance-abuse saga that gets a kiss on the cheek from Oprah, or a genteel visit to KCRW. It is, instead, as raw, real, nasty and full of heart as the unlikely genius who wrote it. You don’t have to give a shit about baseball — or hard narcotics — to love this book. You just have to have a taste for brutal humor, unflinching truth, smack-in-the-face prose and a story so American the cover should have shown a red, white and blue syringe.