A Scotsman Turns American

Source: NYTimes, Oct 2009

If “American on Purpose” is, in part, a memoir about Ferguson’s alcoholism and his triumph over it, it is also an account of an addiction he’s unlikely to kick: his obsession with America. He first got hooked as a child, when NASA responded to his letter expressing interest in becoming the first Scottish astronaut by sending him a lavish book and two posters about space; he became intoxicated again when, thanks to the budget airline flights of Sir Freddie Laker, he visited New York as a teenager. His current success in the United States has only borne out his impossibly high opinion of the place.

To Ferguson, America is a land of boundless opportunity where even a guy with a thick Scottish brogue, a self-destructive past and a “creepy laugh” can tuck the nation into bed every weeknight and become rich and famous doing it.


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