A biting, hilarious literary satire of war, business, and contemporary masculinity, set in the cutthroat-but-ridiculous world of management consulting....
King of the Mississippi is an incisive, uproarious dissection of contemporary male vanity and delusion, centered around a "war" for dominance of a prestigious Houston consulting firm. On one side of the conflict is Brock Wharton, an old money ex-jock whose delight in telling clients to downsize is matched only by his firm conviction that people like himself deserve to run the world. On the other is Mike Fink, a newly hired wily former soldier trying to ride his veteran status to the top of a corporate world that lionizes "the troops" without truly understanding them. Brock and Mike are mortal enemies on sight, bitterly divided not only by background and class but by diametrically opposed (yet equally delusional) visions of what it means to "be a man." And as their escalating conflict spirals out of control, it will take them all the way from the hidebound boardrooms and gladiatorial football fields of Texas to the vapid and self-serving upper echelon of Silicon Valley, to the corporatized battlefield of Iraq, all the while serving as a ruthlessly funny takedown of the vacuity and empty machismo of corporate life and alpha-male culture in modern America.
Devastatingly witty, unapologetically scathing, and ultimately surprisingly moving, King of the Mississippi marks the arrival of a unique and scintillating new voice in American fiction, one that boldly punctures the myths of American manhood like no one has since the heyday of The Bonfire of the Vanities and American Psycho.
"I have trouble expressing the sheer joy of reading King of the Mississippi. Not only is this book funny, but it is serious funny, angry funny, insightful funny, wise funny, and just plain old-fashioned funny funny. Stanley Elkin and Joseph Heller - let me introduce you to Mike Freedman." (Tim O'Brien, National Book Award-winning author of Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried)
“Mike Freedman is a brilliant satirist. King of the Mississippi is the best comic novel since Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim.” (Philipp Meyer, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Son and American Rust )
"Mike Freedman's King of the Mississippi takes us on a wild and raucous ride through the "homefront" of contemporary America and the foreign front of "over there," shredding - to hilarious and usually wincing effect - the prevailing pieties of corporate and military culture. Freedman has a keen eye for the damning detail, a quick ear for the unctuous con, which makes him an ideal satirist/realist for our highly disturbed age. Joseph Heller, Terry Southern, Hunter S. Thompson, George Saunders, say hello to the newest member of the American Jesters club." (Ben Fountain, author of National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk)