Monday, October 02, 2006

You must read this book

The Truth (with jokes) by Al Franken

I should have read this book long ago. I waited too long. I waited until it was in trade paperback, and offered by the Quality Paperback Book Club, and until several fellow Felbernauts recommended it to me at the Felberpalooza.

I was a little disappointed with Franken's last book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right). I thought it was too jokey, too silly. There was plenty of important stuff in there, but it was wrapped in a marshmallow coating of humor that prevented some people from taking it seriously, and allowed others to dismiss it outright. Not this time.

The jokes in The Truth (with jokes) are actually few and far between, and are generally told through gritted teeth. The book is incredibly information-dense and has twenty pages of references at the end, enough for considerable follow-up and self-study. Franken covers many of the topics I have tried to address myself, but covers them with a thoroughness beyond my capabilities. Every person in America should read this book - it's that good, it's that thorough, it's that important. Depending on which side of the political divide you're on, you'll either find much fuel for your cause, or many questions that you must address before you carry on. Franken so thoroughly deconstructs the hypocrisy of the Bush Administration and its fellow travelers that supporters will find themselves realizing that they are in an ethically, morally, and logically untenable position.

Franken ends (well, nearly ends) the book with a summation of his criticisms of the Bush administration, its policies and supporters, and a call to political action for everyone else - starting now, with the November 2006 elections, the elections that will determine whether Republicans will continue to control all three branches of government for the next two years.

He truly ends the book with an imagined letter to his grandchildren written in the year 2015, a letter which outlines the course of action that (Franken hopes) the country will follow between now and then. And in a very clever passage, he assuages the Republican fears that a Democratic-majority Congress will tie up the business of the nation in an endless gridlock of impeachement hearings, while at the same time he assures those seeking justice that justice will be done. I will not give away the trick, but rest assured that it is very satisfying, minimally disruptive, and very doable.

This is not an easy book to read. Every few minutes I found myself flinging it across the room in anger. But because my anger was directed not at Franken, but at the political criminals who he exposes on every page, I was compelled to pick it back up and continue reading. I hope that you do the same before the November elections.

Read this book. Get angry. Do something about it.


George said...

Good book, eh?

From now onward, listen to your polical books so you won't throw them around. I do my best reading in the car on the way to work. Just finished all the Franken books and I liked them all. For the non-political folk, there is "Oh, the things I know" - funny stuff there, eh.

Now that you got the fun stuff out of the way, it is time to get serious, Brother Harold. I am nearing the end of John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience". This book is a great follow-up to The Truth because it offers a very thorough look into today's Conservative. I was so frustrated with the crap that has been happening these past years ... it just doesn't make sense to me that a group of politicians would want to tear our country apart like this. But Dean's book explains what makes those folks tick and now that I can understand them a bit better, my frustration has evolved into hopelessness - no, that isn't the right word. I am looking forward to Brother Al's vision of our near future.

Pieces fit together better when you know what is going on, and Dean's book helps the current poilitcal situation fit together much better for me.

Anyone else out there read this yet? Any thoughts?

D.B. Echo said...

Dear Brother George, "Conservatives Without Conscience" was in the same shipment of books from the Quality Paperback Book Club as "The Truth", along with "The One Percent Doctrine", "American Theocracy", and a few others.

I promised a friend I would review 80 pages of her stuff first, but when I'm done with that, I'll make "CWC" next on the list.