Reviews

  • New York Times Notable Book

“He spent two years roaming the streets, canyons and slopes of the Aspen area–drinking, skiing, snooping and generally hobnobbing his way into the heart of a city most outsiders think has no heart. He had loads of fun, almost lost his soul and managed to escape the experience to write a fascinating book. With Whiteout: Lost in Aspen, Mr. Conover has done the near-impossible. He has created a book about Aspen that is fair and interesting at the same time.” The New York Times Book Review

“Conover is one of our most original and intelligent journalists…What makes the book so special is that, even as Conover takes on the Aspen icons who made the town into the circus it now undeniably is–John Denver, for instance, with his est-influenced Windstar Foundation, or Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdel Aziz, with his fifty-five-thousand-square-foot, twenty-six-room ‘pleasure dome’–he finds himself getting sucked in. It’s the easy life that hooks him, the skiing and the women, the mountain biking and the hard-edged, new-age affluence, the ‘specialized world offering much that the outside world did not.’ And Conover’s true triumph is to let us see his transformation–temporary though it may be–without trying to make us sympathize, allowing us to keep our critical faculties intact.” L.A. Reader

“There is a real story to be reported in Aspen. In a small but genuine victory for print over video, Ted Conover, whose past books have chronicled hoboes and illegal aliens, has told it in his new book, an account of two years among the rarefied locals . . . Conover’s book is not a political tract or an exercise in muckraking. It is an engaging, well-reported narrative that rarely condescends to its subject. The even-handed tone, far more convincingly objective than Wiseman’s narration-free, I-am-a-camera point of view, is no small achievement, given that the Aspen cast of characters includes such barn-size satirical targets as exclusive health clubs, over-the-hill drug dealers, movie stars and rock stars of wattages bright (Jack Nicholson), dim (Stevie Nicks), and extinguished (Jill St. John).” — Frank Rich, The New Republic

“Impudent and comic . . . there’s more than snow on Aspen’s hills in this saucy travel guide.” — Stefan Kanfer, People

“A fine, entertaining ode to the new ski season . . . Aspen’s hypocrisy, ostentation and plain old weirdness are . . . hilariously documented. For the reader, it’s a ride worth taking.” Dallas Morning News

“Conover’s ability to give himself entirely to the world he portrays is present again in Whiteout: Lost in Aspen–a lucid, witty account that bristles with ironies but stays clear of malice as it traces Aspen’s progress from mining town to hippie hangout to rarefied Hollywood outpost . . . It’s not often that you read a travel book in which you worry that the author’s soul is in danger. The result is Conover’s funniest book yet, and one that has much to say about our country in the 1990s.” San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

“A funny, caustic view of life among the town’s lotus-eaters.” Business Week

“Valuable and often fascinating.” Seattle Times/Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“A book of wit, insight, and, above all, that old Greek virtue, measure.” American Way

“A well-written stream-of-consciousness-raising account of two years in a town that makes Disneyland look like Cabrini-Green.” Chicago Sun-Times

“A thoughtful, piercing look at the town we call Glamor Gulch . . . sure to be hailed as the first serious look at a town that has become an icon of wealth, fame, self-infatuation and hedonism.” Rocky Mountain News

“Low-key, objective, and unpretentious, Conover avoids cynicism, letting Aspen’s event and individuals speak for themselves.” Publishers Weekly

“Entertaining and engaging . . . a reading experience at once pleasurable and ultimately instructive. Ted Conover has written a cautionary tale about the American dream. That his readers will laugh at a score of passages and scenes in Whiteout does not diminish the seriousness of his warning. ‘I remember my cab-driver friend who said he came to Aspen “for all the good times to be had. What else is there in life?” he writes. Then he answers: “Well, the rest of the range of human emotions, to begin with.”‘ Conover’s gift is to remind us of that range.” — Christopher Merrill, El Palacio

“A fascinating study in spiritual geography.” Wyoming Tribune-Eagle