By Lionel Rolfe

Available In Paperback from

$11.95 6″ x 9″ 172 pages

Please accept for your thoughtful consideration THE MISADVENTURES OF ARI MENDELSOHN: A Mostly True Memoir Of California Journalism. This picaresque memoir by noted author and journalist LIONEL ROLFE recounts the sexual and political travails of the irascible, blacklisted title character, a reporter still harboring his besieged idealistic belief in humanity’s innate goodness and America’s dubious potential for good amid a reality of avarice, pragmatism, cynicism, and materialism.

With his usual sharp self-deprecating wit and affable honesty, ROLFE describes Ari’s astonishing array of encounters that run the gambit from the hilarious to the horrific, from the astute to the bewildering, from the desirous to the dangerous, from the death-defying to the life-affirming. As he searches for purpose in a life of drudgery and debacle, along the way Ari must contend with a Military Academy captain with an all-too-avid interests in the students under his “command”; old-time police reporters and the corrupt detectives whom they depend on for the inside scoop; old Stalinists and labor radicals; the long-established, well-entrenched defenders of America’s conservative, God-loving majority; porn stars and gurus false and true and a holographic pin-up; and the all-too-real one-dimensional political operators and kingpins.

From losing his virginity; from the coffeehouses of the far left to the centerpiece of Los Angeles’s abiding racism, the corrupt violent police headquarters known as the “Glass House,” under the hard-line rule of virulent racist Police Chief William Parker; from experiencing the Sierra God Machine to discovering love in a faraway land, the antithesis of America; from the freeways of the populace to the ocean-side estates of media moguls; from his spiraling descent to his awakening and retreat (which is also an advance of sorts), Ari is not only an entertaining and memorable creation, he is also a representative (though unwilling) “any”-man, caught in unfulfilling employment within a world of grandiosity and absurdity.

Having worked full-time since age twenty at some of its most prestigious newspapers (the Los Angeles Free Press, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle), ten-year editor of B’nai Brith Messenger (the second oldest newspaper in Los Angeles) and an editor for Psychology Today, as well as the author of six books, including the classic LITERARY L.A., ROLFE has created a work that explores the misadventurous merits of our own lives.


“With bawdy wit, Lionel Rolfe holds a fun house mirror to L.A. through his concupiscent, picaresque, perpetually incorrect character, Ari Mendelsohn. Call it: Casanova-meets-Candide-under-the-Hollywood-sign.

“Ari possesses a kind of innocence in his relentless horn-dogginess (Maybe that’s Bill Clinton’s charm. A few of Philip Roth’s characters also come to mind.) Ari Mendelsohn marches forward, dick-in-hand – ever hopeful like some Jewish Candide – into the perpetual, cultural earthquakes and mudslides of Los Angeles, slipping and sliding and getting blowjobs along the fault lines of L.A.’s money grubber and magnificent morons. He’s an accidental Casanova lost in a city of libertines.

“Anyway, in that light, he is fun reading and worth the cover price.” — Umberto Tosi.

Cover photo by Susan McRae