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100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37) Hardcover – July 5, 2005

3.2 out of 5 stars 948 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Entertaining.” (Buffalo News)

About the Author

Bernard Goldberg is the number one New York Times bestselling author of Bias, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, and Arrogance. He has won eight Emmy Awards for his work at CBS News and at HBO, where he now reports for the acclaimed program Real Sports. In 2006 he won the Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award, the most prestigious of all broadcast journalism awards.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (July 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060761288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060761288
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (948 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,522,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. Abramoff on August 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
On the surface, you'd think this book was just another

"right-winger" making a list of 100 Liberals and trashing

them. Actually, it's not, despite the criticism of the

four guests on CNN who attacked Bernie Goldberg, without,

admittedly, even reading the book.

Even though there are the usual liberal suspects on this

list, such as George Soros, Paul Begala, and Howard Dean,

trashing liberals is not really the point of the book.

What Bernie Goldberg does in this book is to cite a number

of TRENDS in America that are ruining our society, and naming

a number of people who exemplify or encourage those trends.

His first several chapters are commentary about those trends.

For example, he cites the destruction of trust in one another

caused by our fear of lawyers, he cites how television

executives are filling the airwaves with a lot of trash

simply because of ratings, and he cites how the gangsta rap

craze is sending horribly destructive messages to our youth.

Then, in his list, he chooses a number of people who exemplify

some of these bad trends. What is MOST INTERESTING is the

number of people who are not all that famous, but many whom

you will recognize once they are described to you.

Here are a few examples...

...that idiot you'd see on late night TV, who wears the green

suit with the question marks all over it. He exemplifies the

idea that the way you get rich is to get "free money", and that

our tax dollars are that "free money".

...
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Format: Hardcover
Goldberg's book is as much an effort to pin down why so many people think that self-righteousness, paranoia, and non-stop cussing should guarantee popularity & influence, as it is a book-length & well-researched rant about people that Goldberg doesn't like.

Unfortunately, the title makes the book sound more authoritative than it was meant to be. Goldberg does state in the introduction than he didn't take any surveys when he came up with the list, it's his list based on his opinions and he expects people will disagree with him on his choices and reasoning.

The first section of the book is a commentary on popular culture and things about it that are out of whack. Being popular does not automatically make a person wise, intelligent or informed, and I agree with Goldberg in my dislike of celebrities who feel entitled to make political comments every time someone acknowledges their existence. I also agree with him that managers & CEOs who make power & money their main concerns are pretty disgusting, as are supposedly serious news programs that prostitute themselves for ratings. But I also feel that there are a lot of other people to blame for some of these problems, like the congressmen & reporters who are so thrilled to meet a celebrity that they'll accept anything the celebrity says like it was gospel truth; or the parents who let their kids listen to gangster rap & watch foul-mouthed sitcoms and movies, and then can't figure out why their kids are so foul-mouthed and gutter-minded themselves. I do wish that Goldberg had made some comments about those types of enablers, as well as the offenders.

The Top 100 list, which takes up the majority of the book (246 pages out of 305), consists of short essays on people that set Goldberg's teeth on edge.
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Format: Hardcover
I was tempted to give this a 5 star review if only to counterbalance some of the reviewers who will give this a 1 star simply on the basis of opposition politics. However, in my opinion it really does deserve 3 stars, or perhaps 2.5. Here's why:

1. The book won't change anyone's mind. However you feel about Goldberg and his opinions going in, is how you will going out. Goldberg writes entertainingly, but he's not writing a way that will change anyone's mind.

2. The book will age and become a "period" piece fairly quickly. "Hardball" will be around for a long time. This book will age right into near irrelevance in about 2 years.

3. The book is indeed a bit "biased". Goldberg is upfront about what he thinks, and says so - this is ~his~ list and he doesn't expect you to agree with it. Even so, there are a whole lot of Left Wingers here, so many that it gets a bit repetitive. Yeah, he nails Savage, Lay and Koslowski, but there are a lot more Right Wing types that deserve some attention, and some just plain no-goods that are apolitical that deserve mention.

4. You leave the book feeling angry. If you're a Conservative or Right leaning moderate, you're infuriated about what Goldberg has said. If you're a Liberal or a left leaning moderate, you're steaming about how Goldberg could be "so wrong". What you don't get is a useful long term perspective on the "culture wars", or any memorable thoughts on how the rift of opinions can be broached.

So, while I would have to say I agree with a lot of Goldberg's judgements and can understand his viewpoints, I feel the way he approached it was wrong. It seems like this was a fairly easy book to write - pick 100 people you don't like and harangue them in print, then await money to roll in. More time, more depth and more perspective would have made for a more satisfying read, and a longer "shelf life".
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