All the Worst Humans: How I Made News for Dictators, Tycoons, and Politicians (Hardcover)

All the Worst Humans: How I Made News for Dictators, Tycoons, and Politicians By Phil Elwood Cover Image
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"A rollicking, unexpectedly affecting story. . . It’s going to be one of the big, buzzy Beltway books of the year."

A bridge-burning, riotous memoir by a top PR operative in Washington who exposes the secrets of the $129-billion industry that controls so much of what we see and hear in the media—from a man who used to pull the strings, and who is now pulling back the curtain.

After nearly two decades in the Washington PR business, Elwood wants to come clean, by exposing the dark underbelly of the very industry that’s made him so successful. The first step is revealing exactly what he’s been up to for the past twenty years—and it isn’t pretty.

Elwood has worked for a murderer’s row of questionable clients, including Gaddafi, Assad, and the government of Qatar. In All the Worst Humans, Elwood unveils how the PR business works, and how the truth gets made, spun, and sold to the public—not shying away from the gritty details of his unlikely career.

This is a piercing look into the corridors of money, power, politics, and control, all told in Elwood’s disarmingly funny and entertaining voice. He recounts a four-day Las Vegas bacchanal with a dictator’s son, plotting communications strategies against a terrorist organization in Western Africa, and helping to land a Middle Eastern dictator’s wife a glowing profile in Vogue on the same time the Arab Spring broke out. And he reveals all his slippery tricks for seducing journalists in order to create chaos and ultimately cover for politicians, dictators, and spies—the industry-secret tactics that led to his rise as a political PR pro.

Along the way, Phil walks the halls of the Capitol, rides in armored cars through Abuja, and watches his client lose his annual income at the roulette table. But as he moved up the ranks, he felt worse and worse about the sleaziness of it all—until Elwood receives a shocking wake-up call from the FBI. This risky game nearly cost Elwood his life and his freedom. Seeing the light, Elwood decides to change his ways, and his clients, and to tell the full truth about who is the worst human.

About the Author

Phil Elwood is a public relations operative. He was born in New York City, grew up in Idaho, and moved to Washington, DC at age twenty to intern for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He completed his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, and his graduate studies at the London School of Economics before starting his career at a small PR firm. Over the last two decades, Elwood has worked for some of the top – and bottom – PR firms in Washington. He lives in DC.

Praise For…

"A rollicking, unexpectedly affecting story. . . It’s going to be one of the big, buzzy Beltway books of the year."

"A spin doctor to the rich and corrupt spills his secrets . . . . In All the Worst Humans, Phil Elwood recounts a career spent engineering headlines for some of the world's villians . . . A pithy, anecdote-rich memoir . . . It starts with the crack of a Jack Reacher thriller."
The New York Times

"Hilarious and harrowing, and hard to put down. Indeed, I didn't put it down."
—Christopher Buckley, author of Thank You for Smoking

"Phil Elwood has written a book about his Washington life that’s part therapy, part cautionary tale — and quite funny . . . What makes Elwood’s story stand out from the typical Washington read is that his personal demons are so intertwined with his professional choices . . . Elwood’s prose is zippy, even Sorkin-esque, and he relishes dark humor."
The Washington Post

"Journalists often wonder what spinmasters are doing to influence them. The reality Phil Elwood reveals is worse—and more interesting—than we usually imagine. All the Worst Humans is an exhilarating ride through the underbelly of global power structures."
—Ben Smith, author of Traffic and editor in chief of Semafor

"A lively, often hilarious, blood-chilling tale."
—Sam Kashner, Air Mail

"If Hunter S. Thompson billed clients by the hour, it would look like All The Worst Humans by Phil Elwood. The pacing and storytelling propel the book's epic sweep across the darkside of DC and global hotspots. Even the most experienced in PR will learn things they did not know, and Elwood's gripping personal story is an unexpected and wild ride."
Bill McCarren, former Executive Director, National Press Club

"In his time as a Washington PR maven, Phil Elwood was an advocate for a grisly array of devils, a murderer’s row of actual murderers. With All the Worst Humans, he spills the secrets, surpassing the tired genre of Washington tell-all with a gripping, nonfiction bildungsroman. A 21st century Nick Carraway, Elwood was initially seduced by the trappings of wealth and power, only to become disillusioned by the ignoble causes he served to attain them. Ultimately, All the Worst Humans is a redemption story about becoming a better human, a story Elwood tells with vulnerability, heart, and brutal honesty."
—James Kirchick, New York Times bestselling author of Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250321572
ISBN-10: 1250321573
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English