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I read many books in the course of a year, and I tend to rotate between histories, biographies, fiction and mysteries. But every once in a while, I'll read a book that is pure entertainment. Stephen Colbert's I Am America (And So Can You) is side-splitting, laugh-out-loud hysterical!

Colbert is best known for his TV satire on Comedy Central, The Colbert Report. Cobert plays a clueless right-wing pundit who has an opinion on everything--which is never based on fact. The book is divided into three sections, which are then divided into chapters. The chapters cover such hot topics as Sports, Sex & Dating, Homosexuals, Higher Education, Race, The Media, and Science. Cobert gives us his irreverent and uneducated opinion on all things America. "See, at one time, America was pure. Men were men, women were women, and gays were confirmed bachelors." On movies, "once fantastic dreamscapes where cowboys fought Indians and gay men kissed Elizabeth Taylor, became squalid nightmares where cowboys turned tricks and hillbillies kissed Ned Beatty." Colbert includes a whole glassary on science. For Geology, "The last thing I need is a bunch of dust-covered fossil sweepers telling me that the Earth is four billion years old." Also, the author used to be "pro-Fahrenheit" until he found out it was named for a Dutchman. "I don't want my thermometer taking orders from some Amsterdam stoner who got bonged out of his mind one night and started messing around with mercury."

There are also fun things in I Am America. There are two sets of stickers, games, interviews, and the first edition even has a red ribbon bookmark. There are also funny margin notes and footnotes on each page, although I'll "whine" and complain that the print on these could be larger. As a special bonus, he reprints his White House Correspondent's Dinner speech.

Although Colbert plays a dim TV talking head, in real life, he is brilliant, creative and downright funny. If you like The Colbert Report, you'll love I Am America. Even if you don't watch the show, you'll find it a hoot.
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If you know about Stephen Colbert, you'll get a buzz out of this. If you don't, you may be outraged, confused, or God knows what. I got this as a Christmas present, and have found this book hilarious. No sacred cows for Colbert! And that will delight some and anger others.

Hey, I'm a college professor/administrator, and he takes shots at me and my ilk! And I love it! On page 119, he says: "If there's a bigger contributor to left-wing elitist brainwashing than colleges and universities, I'd like to see it. There's an old saying, 'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.' Which means a lot of knowledge must be a really dangerous thing." On the next page, he notes one of the horrors of college (page 120): "The more you know, the sadder you get."

As he points out at the outset (page vii), "Well, like a lot of other dictators, there is one man's opinion I value above all others. Mine."

His segment on families is outrageous--and funny. He begins by noting that "I'm against children" (page 10). Then, he goes on to lay out a number of laws/tips regarding child raising, among which are items that parents will chuckle over.

What about the elderly? No sacred cow here. He notes that (page 23) "After criminals and babies, seniors are the most coddled segment of the population."

On religion and religious freedom (page 48): "Since the Pilgrims were victims of persecution, some assume they were tolerant. That's just liberal propaganda. Sure they were against persecution...of Pilgrims."

And he reflects on the Olympics, on sports generally, on the media (look at his comments on the major networks on page 154), and science (hilarious).

He concludes by noting (among other things) (page 213): "But make no mistake--my book isn't a monologue; it's a dialogue--a dialogue between me and my opinions, and you've been welcomed to eavesdrop on us."

A funny book. People who accept Colbert's humor will like it. Those who don't? They won't. . . .
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on September 9, 2007
Over the three day weekend I happened to find myself in an old-growth national forest looking for tree-huggers to punch in the gullet when I found myself face to face with a towering, black (or so I was told later - I don't see color) Godless Killing Machine.

Of course I would have fought it, had I not injured one of my wrists in a thrilling arm wrestling match with speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi, but as it was, I was left defenseless - except for my copy of "I Am America (And So Can You!)"

Thinking quickly I took the book from my pack and threw it at the charging bear. The throw was strong, my aim was true, and the book hit the beast right on the bean, giving him pause long enough to get distracted from his pursuit by the glowing image of Colbert's face on the cover.

It was in that moment that Stephen and the Bear locked eyes that the full power of truthiness rose from the book and covered the entire forest with a warm tingly sensation, similar to that felt while using "Herbal Essences."

The bear, under the hypnotic spell of Colbert's book, decided then to give up his life as a godless killing machine, to shed his fur, and follow the path of righteousness. From that day forward, this creature would no longer be known as "bear," but now... as "Sean Hannity."

And that's the word.
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VINE VOICEon November 18, 2007
My wife and I having a running debate over which show is better: The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. We both like both shows; however, she's a bigger fan of Colbert whereas I think he was funnier on The Daily Show. (How I miss him on "This Week in God.")

That's not to say Colbert isn't still funny. He is. Very funny. But the conceit of his new show leaves him less space to maneuver and that is reflected in his book.

Essentially, I Am America (and So Can You!) reads like a combination of a book-length "Word" segment from his show (complete with margin comments) and the kind of narcissistic, pseudo-biography/position statement produced ad naseum by politician and TV pundits. The key words here being "book-length."

Reading long passages from this book in one sitting becomes quite tedious, as if the entire half-hour of The Colbert Report had been taken up with one long "Word" segment. However, if you take the book a chapter at a time, it's much easier to be caught up in the funny moments. And there are plenty of them here, including a reprint of Colbert's speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Don't feel you're doing Stephen disrespect if you take him in chunks. It would be more disrespectful if you gave up on what's here because you got sucked into the vortex of the conceit through which it's written. Stick with it. It's worth the journey.
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on December 17, 2007
A clever and thoughtful indictment of the American psyche. Stephen Colbert exudes the flippant and self-serving biases found in the Americn ethos today and takes it to the soapbox to mock the crowd laughing at him? Bravo for the title Colbert, "I am America" I get it.

It's comedic irony at its finest, and it is an American original. The wit is sardonic, it's irresistably funny and at the same time, it has didactical value. The delivery has all the polish you would find in the finest news circles, but it is also genuinely funny, in a maniacal sort of way.

In this book, Colbert examines much of what drives the political thought process as the average American is manipulated by a sophistic political machine. We are made to believe that nationalism and religious fidelity are one construct, Immigration and other issues have simple answers. Colbert does the work for us, he puts on the hat and plays out the part and maybe by laughing at the shear stupidity underlying the elevator pitch once fully articulated, we realize the extent to which critical thinking has been replaced with an apetite for entertainment. This is an antidote to the Fox television channel.

At first you might be under the impression that this book is one long running monologue and that this was a cunning way to profitably recycle material never executed publicly. At least my initial cynicism said so. It's a tempting idea, but the fact is that Colbert is actually showcasing a very well-developed sense of humor, subtle but definately there. How else would this man have the ability to expose the hipocrisy of this countries leadership and elicit their laughter simultaneously? It's effecting change in a positive way without hurting anyone in the process. Sheer genius, and I admire the approach.

You can't help but laugh from dust cover to dust cover. Complete with stickers, games, visual aids and comments in the margin, you can't help but enjoy the cogent lunacy. I actually laughed outloud in a number of places.
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on March 11, 2016
I Am America (And So Can You!) will astonish you. This book is as hilarious insightful as Stephen Colbert himself. Stephen Colbert is a national treasure, highlighting both the ridiculousness of all things politics and the dichotomy of moral right and wrong. In “I Am America (And So Can You)”, Colbert shines doing what he does best: Explaining political concepts to uninformed readers while mocking and chiding the politicians who keep them in the dark. This book arrived fast and I was finished reading by the time the clock struck 1. I literally could not put this book down to eat. The binding on this book is beautiful, with a shiny velvet-red finish on the page-ends and a ribbon emblazoned with * First Edition * to mark your progress through this wonder of a book. The outside bindings are a beautiful red-white-and-blue themed menagerie and the heel of the book is engraved in bold lettering. The book throughout is filled with wonderful illustrations and images that fit the theme and style of the book and give it an overall cohesiveness that is shocking well built for a comedy book. However, Stephen Colbert has been constantly surprising us with his know-how and insight since his early career on the Daily Show. I am completely satisfied with this book, the shipping, and the content itself. Stephen Colbert has churned out another masterful book from his wonderful comedic mind and the word is a funnier, better, more politically informed place for it. Four Stars.
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VINE VOICEon October 15, 2007
Stephen Colbert was hilarious at the breakfast talk at BEA in June this year and I couldn't wait to read his book.

14 writers wrote this book. It is good, but I gave it only 4 stars because at times it was a bit predictable. (Too many brains and hands creating it?)

This is not a book to bring on as solo reading for a long plane ride. It is written in sound bites and a long read would get quite boring. Instead, it is a book meant to be read a page or two at a time. This way, the humor and cleverness can be appreciated, the side comments (in red) savored.

Honestly, this book belongs in your bathroom! My copy will go there and I will enjoy it over a long period of time. A page or two of extremely tight and clever sound bites and I have my "shot" of great humor for the day.

Finally, the seal on the book really threw me. How could Colbert have managed an award for first edition? Well, the award is an "inside" job and he's kind enough to include a page of them to decorate other books in your library! Hilarious and absolutely original!

Author of award winning book, Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home and Your Planet
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on February 4, 2016
Hello, I used to be just like you. A normal everyday legal American citizen. But after reading this book I am excited to tell you that I am no longer a person. I am America! If it happened to me, then it happened to you as well because after reading this review you bought ten copies! It helps to have backups. But even more so it makes great gifts for your friends, family, and even for your enemies! Along with Stephen's other book "America Again", which is a must own, I have transformed from an idiot that believed in facts(a.k.a. lies) into a Patriot that can FEEL how the TRUTH that America truly is the great country in the world! Make sure to watch The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on CBS every night for the rest of your life.
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on October 9, 2007
If you only read one book in your life, make it this one. Best book ever. Serious hilarity on every page.
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on September 8, 2007
I picked up this book too fast and broke my wrist. There should be a warning label.
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