ISLAND CUP: Two Teams, Twelve Miles of Ocean and Fifty Years of Football Rivalry

(Bloomsbury, 2012)


To most of America, the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are playgrounds for the rich and famous. To those who live there year-round, however, the real excitement comes on much humbler turf: on the high school football fields. 


“There is much to relish in this blood-and-salt tale of gridiron rivalry.” Tony Horwitz, The Wall Street Journal


“Some readers may come away from Island Cup wishing they’d grown up on Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.” Boston Globe

SEVEN DIRTY WORDS: The Life and Crimes of George Carlin

(Da Capo, 2010)


A critical biography of the comedian and social commentator George Carlin, whose work embodied the arc of American comedy from the 1950s through the beginning of the 21st century.


“Excellent... insightful... impeccably researched... At once an engrossing account of Carlin’s life... and a highly readable survey of twentieth-century popular culture.”


“A well-written and thorough biography... a great companion to Carlin’s recently published autobiography.” Library Journal

THE HARDEST WORKING MAN: How James Brown Saved the Soul of America

(Gotham, 2008)


James Brown was many things – an otherworldly performer, a quintessential self-made man and, not least, a confounding bundle of contradictions. “James Brown is a concept, a vibration, a dance,” as the man himself once put it. “It’s not me, the man. James Brown is a freedom I created for humanity.” The Hardest Working Man is about the sheer brilliance of the idea of James Brown.


“One of the most vivid music books in recent memory… Loads of detail about its subject.” The Onion A.V. Club


“Insightful… [Sullivan] shines a light on an important instance of music effecting real change.” Kirkus Reviews


JEANS: A Cultural History of An American Icon

(Gotham, 2006)


Since their mass-market appearance nearly 150 years ago, blue jeans have been worn by every stratum of American society and exported around the world as an icon of Western civilization. Jeans chronicles how denim work pants took their place in our culture today as worn by rappers, hipsters, Boomers, bon vivants and “just folks” presidents, embodying the ideals of vastly different segments of society and becoming the standard “uniform” of America.


“Fascinating… Jeans both fosters and lays bare that most American of aspirations: aspiration itself.” New York Times Book Review


“A must-read for anyone interested in fashion, cultural history, and the global evolution of advertising and marketing. Sullivan deftly navigates this enormous topic, thereby making it accessible to the reader and, frankly, riveting.” Tim Gunn, Project Runway