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349 of 464 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2008
Forgive me if my critique is not "pithy"

I couldn't wait to read this book. I bought it this morning and left work early so I could read it. Why? Because Bill Oreilly fascinates me and I thought his memoir would give some real answers as to how this man, who truly is an American original, thinks.

First off, I actually had the privilege of meeting and briefly working with Bill Oreilly. After graduating college in the early nineties, I wrote to Mr. OReilly and asked him for advice on getting a job in television. I knew nothing about him, only that he was a fellow graduate of my high school (Chaminade High in Long Island) and that he was the anchorman of some show called "Inside Edition" (which I had never even watched)

To my surprise, Mr. OReilly not only responded but invited me to the studio, took me to lunch and offered me a temporary production assistant job for Inside Edition. I began a career on Wall Street shortly after my stint with Inside Edition ended, but I have always been grateful to him for helping out some kid he didn't know. He is a man of character.

And let me tell you, the man is fearless in every way and he is not a phony. He is exactly like he is on screen (albeit more reserved). Which is why I wanted to read this. I wanted to know- what makes this man tick? How did he come to be the person that he is today?

Does this book answer these questions? - Sort of

Not really a complete life memoir(by his own admission),"Bold Piece" is a kind of "Thoughtography"-a collection a remembrances of his early life followed by essays on how they shaped his current actions.

With chapter titles like "Politics" "Fear" "Saving the World" and "Standing for something", Mr. Oreilly intersperses stories of his early life with how they affected his later life dealings and adult philosophies.

Does it shed light on the inner life of the man? To a degree, yes.

The book has many entertaining and insightful highlights including:

1) A story about a grammar school classmate named Norma was especially touching. It will make you understand his sometimes-heated anger at injustice.
2) As a graduate of Chaminade High School, I especially enjoyed his thoughts on class warfare at the school. It is a subject rarely discussed to any effectiveness. His story about the "Levittown Sandlot- Chaminade football game" could be an entertaining Disney Movie
3) It gives a sense of the importance of his life experiences. Unlike Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, who I doubt have EVER sought to expand their horizons, Mr. Oreilly has walked the walk. He has traveled to 70 countries, received 2 graduate degrees, and even taught at an inner city high school. His stories about a student named "Miss Jones" and his exposure to Anti Americanism while studying abroad will help you further understand his self reliance and love of country view point.
4) His stories about friendship are especially touching. An expansion of his "Friendship Factor" chapter in his first book, he gives examples of why his friends are so important to him. The Joe Spencer - Peter Jennings story is especially moving. He really should write an entire book about the importance of friendship. It is his most astute chapter.

But the big question I wanted to know -why is this man so confident and fearless?- Is never quite answered. Having grown up in his native Long Island, I have known many a person like Bill OReilly. You could magically drop them onto the far side of the galaxy and they will always espouse hard work, faith, family, and the goodness of America without the slightest doubt. After reading this book, I've come to the conclusion that Mr. OReilly simply is one of those men and probably always will be. No matter what their experiences in life, some people are just born that way.

A few critiques-

1) I do think Mr. OReilly should fess up and admit that he took a teaching job in the early 70's partially to avoid being drafted (he quits the job in 1973 just as the war ends) . It is clear that that was at least a strong possibility.
2) I also think he should have elaborated on what I think is his greatest dichotomy. Why does he have so a low opinion of the competence of federal government yet sincerely believes their actions in Iraq at the time of invasion were not to be questioned?
3) I think he is a little too hard on Katrina Victims. In one section, he explains that he would have "gotten in his car and left" in the same situation, never once thinking that most of the people couldn't do that because they didn't HAVE cars.
4) I also think he was just a little too hard on the movie "Love Story" (you have to read the book). I loved that movie!

All in all - a good enlightening read but not the "Window into the Soul" that I was hoping for.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2012
"A bold fresh piece of humanity" - Bill O'Rielly

As an autobiography, it does its job. In some cases the stories he tells are very effective at supporting his opinions. I realize that at some level this book is meant to be entertaining. Bill keeps a very informal tone as he addresses his audience; almost as if he is there talking to you. Now while I agree with several of his ideas throughout the book I take issue with this as a piece of literature. In some instances Bill seems to be very random, especially when it comes to his knowledge of pop culture. On a more critical note he tends to break the forth wall between his narrative and his audience. As a reader I don't need reminding about what I've already read. There were some instances where the narrative didn't match the theme of the chapter, leading to some confusion. But that aside, his targeted audience excludes anyone who is remotely progressive. Now despite portraying himself as a "independent thinker" who criticizes the left and right equally, his degrading semantics seem to target solely the left wing to such an extent that it might even be considered verbal abuse. Time and time again he brings up how his conservative Catholic upbringing shaped his ultimate morality.He is justifiably proud of this fact, but in some instances he comes across as very pretentious. Mr. O'Rielly even admits to being pompous as he constantly is referring to himself as a bloviator. Some might question whether he has a subconscious inferiority complex. One of the more disturbing aspects of this autobiography is how Bill expresses his disdain towards atheists and people who question creationism. He asserts several times that people who are non-religious lack any form of morality. On top of that Mr. O'Rielly comes across as scientifically illiterate making statements like "only the Deity knows if the current warming trend on earth is man-made or part of a long-term natural cycle." (pg 141). He ends his book with an anti-atheists sentiment that is somewhat inconclusive. This book is worth your time, but I don't expect i'll be reading it again.
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74 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2008
The one-star reviews must be pre-boomers, because I found the book entertaining to those of us who came of age in the 60s and 70s; so what if the guy has an ego? He deserves it, given his upbringing and sense of family. Much of his humor is self-deprecating; so he fights for the the "little guys and gals?" This was meant to be a memoir (Get It?), not a political commentary; Bill has three hours daily devoted to that; he wanted the public to see how his values were formed; his loyalty to family and friends is commendable; he doesn't forget "those who brung (sic) us," which is a famous Darrel Royal quote when playing James Street in the title game against Notre Dame on January 1, 1970. Put aside your own biases and read the book for what it is--entertainment.
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182 of 264 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2008
Readers who are expecting a "blistering" sermon on Bill's political beliefs will be disappointed. But readers who enjoy a wonderfully nostalgic coming of age memoir with insights to a worldwide broadcasting icon's upbringing that ranges from catholic school to high school to college and the great beyond... will be enormously rewarded with this literary treasure. If you are a "BABY-BOOMER" you will be constantly exhilarated and your thoughts will go back to your early years as you are taken back in a historical time machine to the TV programs and rock and roll songs of your youth, with Bill as your contemporary tour guide. Heavily sprinkled throughout his life story, at just the right moments, are TV programs such as "The Ed Sullivan Show", "Mr. Ed", "Leave It To Beaver, "The Donna Reed Show", "The Mickey Mouse Club", "Ozzie and Harriet", "Happy Days", and more. Interspersed to make a point are lyrics and song titles from such classic rock and roll performers as Elvis, Sam Cooke, Rod Stewart, The Beatles, The Isley Brothers, The Standells, and others. I feel it's important to mention this, as I feel a large core of potential readers, will be "touched" by the romantic humanity that Bill displays in sharing his life with you... which among other things included teaching high school for two years in Florida.

The author does not flinch from his central belief system which is: "IF THERE IS ONLY ONE THING THAT YOU TAKE FROM THIS BOOK, LET IT BE THIS: DESIGN YOUR OWN LIFE. NEVER GIVE UP TRYING TO MAKE IT ON YOUR OWN. GET BACK UP WHEN YOU GET SLAPPED DOWN, AND DON'T WASTE TIME BUYING INTO IDEOLOGICAL NONSENSE. EXPECT - AND ACCEPT - NOTHING FROM ANYONE ELSE DO IT YOURSELF."

Being that I am the same age as Bill... and from the exact same part of the country as Bill... it's amazing how the main mantra's he built his life around are the same as mine. The following quote is from Bill... but it is exactly the way I was raised by my Father... and the exact way I raised my son... so even though it was in Bill's book... I will take credit for it also (you can verify it with my son) "IF YOU EARN IT, IT'LL MEAN A LOT MORE THAN IF IT'S GIVEN TO YOU. TAKING STUFF MAKES YOU WEAKER. EARNING STUFF MAKES YOU STRONGER." *AMEN!*

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the book is Bill's time spent at St. Brigid's parochial school where he and his "EVIL-TWIN" Clement made the Nun's life a living hell... and Clement always believed in payback... even during the schools Rip Van Winkle play. (Even Bill refused to participate in his pal Clement's dastardly plan.) The author shares some of the punishments at his elementary school: TALKING OUT OF TURN - SLAP ON THE HAND WITH A RULER. TALKING BACK TO THE SISTER - SLAP IN THE FACE, OFTEN HARD. BEING A WISE GUY IN GENERAL - NOTE HOME TO PARENTS, WHICH HAD TO BE SIGNED AND BROUGHT BACK TO NUN. (THIS USUALLY LED TO DOMESTIC PUNISHMENT.) SLOPPY APPEARANCE OR WORK - AFTER SCHOOL DETAINMENT.

Bill is very proud of the fact that he never did any drugs and has never been intoxicated. He is very proud of his religion and his belief's, but will never push it on anyone... nor discuss it on his show unless he is led there. He is very proud of America and when he went to England for a time in college he was so tired of all the anti-American comments and being constantly mocked because of his "NEW YAWK ACCENT" that he finally said: "HEY BUD, YOU'D HAVE A GERMAN ACCENT IF IT WASN'T FOR MY FATHER AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER NEW YORKERS LIKE HIM. SO "BLANK" YOU, FISH AND CHIPS AND THE BEATLES. GET ME?"

The author has covered wars in El Salvador, the Falkland Islands war in Argentina, Northern Ireland at the height of the trouble, the Golan Heights, and the current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan... yet the event that made him "KNOW FOR CERTAIN THAT JOURNALISM WOULD BE MY PROFESSION"... was when he covered the forced integration of South Boston in 1974.

Having grown up in a working class neighborhood Bill has never forgotten his roots. To this day he fights for the underdog and perhaps a good summary of his life goal is the following quote:

"WHEN IT IS ALL OVER, WHEN YOU ARE DEAD IN THE GROUND OR IN AN URN, YOUR LEGACY WILL BE DEFINED BY TWO SIMPLE QUESTIONS: HOW MANY WRONGS DID YOU RIGHT, AND HOW MANY PEOPLE DID YOU HELP WHEN THEY NEEDED IT?"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story of Bill O'Reilly's working class, Catholic School upbringing, very similar in may ways to my own. Knowing about his family and friends helped me understand him better. Though I don't always agree with him, I do always enjoy the way he presents his ideas and analyses of current events, and stands by his core beliefs.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2010
This book shocked and appalled me. As I turned the pages I could feel my hands curl in feverish angst, my vision blurred with frustrated tears and despite being unable to see or even turn each page I couldn't deny the reality hammering on my senses.

I agreed with Bill O'Reilly on some issues.

My only exposure to O'Reilly has really been a funny musical mash-up, the O'Reilly vs Bale video and a small section of interviews that interested me. I have to say after reading this book, I now consider O'Reilly to be my favourite Fox News/conservative nutjob commentator (or bloviater or whatever)

I was floored to find Bill's opinion on global warming to be much akin to my own i.e. that shouldn't havening clean air and oceans be enough of a priority? Why so much arguing over the specifics of global warming? Didn't anyone else see the Bejing Olympics?

And even though he may not follow his own advice, Bill does preach thinking carefully about issues and admits that being a bad-guy hunter has a certain addictive factor that may occasionally take precedence over being a good reporter.

I was also surprised to see that Bill respects Operah (not something I might expect from say Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh) and the book somewhat devoid of any plugging for the upcoming American election during that time (perhaps like many TV series and movies Bill thought it best to avoid such a topic to avoid audience loss, or risk causing offense to the new commander in chief later)

To be honest much of Bill's childhood anecdotes are dull or immature or both and sometimes seem to describe someone totally opposite to what O'Reilly claims to stand for, the real gold of this book is to hear Bill's stories about his professional life and some typical commentator ranting.

I have to say I find Bill's opinions on poverty totally repugnant and poorly thought-out but I still enjoyed reading this book
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2011
I started to give this only 1 star and decided if I took what I knew about Bill O'reilly out of the equation I could probably rate it higher. There were parts of the book I did enjoy reading. What doesn't add up to me is to read about some of his experiences and in some cases some rather heart warming stories and then match that to the closed minded opinionated quick to judgement (with out enough information) person we see before us today. How could you see and experience anti American sentiment first hand and not logically apply that information to every thing we've been doing with our foreign for the past 60 years. There is a huge disconnect here that just doesn't make sense to me. Reading this makes me think Bill O'reilly honestly believes he is doing the right thing. In his background, he seems to have the life experiences which would make most men gain wisdom and understanding. The only thing this book really reveals to me is how complex the human mind is and how different humans can be. If some of what's written here is true, the life's experiences outlined in this book should have produced a wise and humble man. Instead they produced a Bill O'reilly? Even though I often agree with Bill O'reilly on a number of specific issues, I come to the same conclusion he does through an entirely different thought process and usually cringe at the simple process he uses which seem to be totally void of any principles or logic. Even when we agree, he seems to reach his conclusions using a much simpler thought process than the rest of us. It's more like "It's what I want and the way I like it so it's right!" I just don't believe Bill O'reilly wrote this book. That's Probably why I can give it 2 stars instead of one!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2010
Bill is a great raconteur. But there are negatives about this rush job: 1) People like to be talked to as if we were intelligent; so the informal language such as the word "stuff" for things can be grating; 2) the bio material is nice! So why rerun the same old speeches about abortion, drugs, immigration? 3) ALL CAPS and italics to hammer home points; 4) hate the use of "I don't get it" and "Get it?" 5) Harvard student who only travels first class tries too hard to be blue collar.

Lightweight, glaring omissions (no wife?!); although there is some funny wisecracking comedy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2009
A very readable book. Well told with great images of what is was like to grow up in the surburbs. I was also a h--raiser is grade school and can relate to Bill's stories. It really is true that the people you would least think to be an influence in your life while young, turn out to be some of the most influential.
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on May 4, 2014
I have read almost all of O'Reilly's books, watched his tv program and have been generally entertained over the years by both. I am NOT a politically left or right leaning person so my criticism of this book has nothing to do with that. I just grew really tired of the self righteousness and contradictions in this book. For example, in the chapter on religion he regards the Catholic church as being basically evil for it's handling of the child molestation scandal. He talks about how he is such a fervent fighter against all the wrongdoers in society. Yet in the very next chapter he talks with such reverence about the same church and how he still gladly attends it! Yeah, you're really fighting evil Bill by attending said church and putting money in the collection plate each week. The other example I found in the book that troubled me was his section on presidents of the United States. When interviewing George W Bush, he said that he had to go easier on him in his questioning because there is a "respect for the office" that you just have to honor. Yet just 5 pages later in his one page assessment of President Jimmy Carter, he calls him a "disaster" as president. Was he a disaster as president? Maybe so (I was only 5 at the time), but that's irrelevant when you just said you need to respect the office. In his "Mysteries of the Universe" chapter near the end of the book he openly criticizes Dyan Cannon for allegedly sleeping with Willie Nelson back in the early 80's. What's that all about? Why take the cheap shot at someone who has never uttered a bad word about you? Bottom line, I just came away from this book feeling like the author is arrogant, hypocritical, preachy and quite judgmental of others. I admire his work ethic in getting to where he is today, but my respect for him pretty much ends there.
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