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America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction Hardcover – September 20, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (September 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446532681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446532686
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (714 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon.com Exclusives
Featuring a foreword by Thomas Jefferson, a Dress the Supreme Court layout, and, oddly enough, a profile of George "The Iceman" Gervin, America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, from Jon Stewart and the writers of the Emmy Award-winning The Daily Show, is by far one the most irreverent and wittiest (and may we add smartest) political book you're likely to encounter. Amazon.com spoke with Jon Stewart a few days before the 2004 publication of America (The Book) and they discussed bald eagles, magical talking cats, Thor Heyerdahl, and much more



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From Publishers Weekly

Cheeky, irreverent and playfully ingenuous, this abbreviated history of democracy is everything one would expect from the writers of Comedy Central's fake news program, which recently (and somewhat scandalously) won the Television Critics Association's award for outstanding news and public affairs series. The book is laid out like a textbook, with "Discussion Questions" ("Why do you think the Framers made the Constitution so soul-crushingly boring?"), "Classroom Activities" ("Using felt and yarn, make a hand puppet of Clarence Thomas. Ta-da! You're Antonin Scalia!") and plenty of amusing graphics, including a board game that resembles the game Life but which follows a presidential term: "Optimistic press release on economy ineffective. Spin again." No one evades the authors' scrutiny, not even the Pilgrims, who came to America "to escape religious persecution... create a society where they could worship as they pleased and one day, God willing, even do some persecuting of their own." The media fares the worst, however. An entire chapter is devoted to telling the "inspirational" story of how the media "transformed itself from a mere public necessity into an entertaining profit center for ever-expanding corporate empires." But if this and other criticisms kindle a few unpatriotic feelings, a section describing how worse off the rest of the world is should buoy spirits. From its dedication ("To the huddled masses—Keep yearnin'!") to its final chapter, which lampoons the 2004 presidential candidates, this humorous sendup of American politics never fails to entertain, poke fun and provoke thought.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Very funny book.
Alex Salazar
I highly recommend this book for an amusing read, as well as some "laugh out loud" moments!
Al
Amazingly, every single page in this book is printed on thick glossy paper and in color.
Scott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

547 of 592 people found the following review helpful By bensmomma on October 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Jon Stewart and his Daily Show writers would have you believe this is humor masquerading as a "fake" civics textbook, but they undersell themselves. It's both funnier and smarter than that premise. It actually does spell out, chapter by chapter, the workings of the branches of government, the election process, and the role of journalism in creating and destroying all these (complete with in-class exercises and homework!)

If you're a fan of the show, you will enjoy listening to Stewart riff on journalism's loss of integrity, to Samantha Bee's apologetic asides about "do you mind if I tell you how we do it in Canada?", Ed Helms' presentation of his qualifications to be Supreme Court justice, etc. The book is, however, not just a rehash of pieces from the TV show; the book form allows the writers to make their favorite comedic jabs against our system's foibles with more historical and literary support. (Who knew, for example, the role that the rivalry between newspaper magnates William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer played in instigating the Spanish-American war?)

Coming from any source but the Daily Show, this premise might have been tedious, but from this team it is consistently and hysterically funny. Free of the time and vocabulary limits of TV, they really cut loose. The seven-dirty-words-you-can't-say-on-television here are put to good use, amended by such popular modifiers as bat, horse, bull, and mother. So don't bring it home to the kiddos, or listen to the audiobook on your mini-van stereo, and avoid it altogether if you don't yourself throw a good hearty @*$%&% around every now and then. But remember the best, funniest lines about the preservation of democracy and repeat these lessons to your kids. It's funny and important stuff.
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96 of 104 people found the following review helpful By MCD on September 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Jon Stewart and the crew have done it again with a hilarious, bitingly satirical, and often true take on America and our political system. A good amount of the book's commentary is well-founded and educational; I found many of its parts to be a good review of the material we've all undoubtedly forgotten since government class (important court cases, etc.). But on occassion, I've remembered so little of actual political history that the line between the jokes and reality are blurred to the point that I don't know what is real and what isn't.

I've found myself smiling and laughing out loud through entire chapters, and the supplemental material sections (interspersed throughout the book) are hilarious. "Discussion Questions" and "Classroom Activities" start and end each chapter with additional laughs, and the opinion essays are unbelievably funny. This is a must read for every American or anyone who loves a good laugh.
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115 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book may not be the most incisive in its examination of the performance of the Bush administration, but it sure is the funniest. We are talking laugh-out-loud funny, not the bemused chuckling of Maureen Dowd's "Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk" or the laughter-through-fears treatment of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11". But Bush is hardly the only target in this consistently clever, brightly illustrated book. This may very well be the textbook you wish you had while you were pretending to listen to your civics teacher in high school. Even if you don't get the Comedy Central cable channel and watch the "Daily Show", you can still enjoy this book for its shamelessly funny but sadly accurate observations of our government at work. However, if you have seen the clever antics of Jon Stewart and his crew, you know what you're in for, and you won't be disappointed. All you miss with the book is the clever editing of TV news clips, press conferences and convention speeches, which they love to skewer.

Any cynical thought you have had about government bureaucracy and the execution of democratic principles will be supported wholeheartedly here. The writers go as far as illustrating the timeline for democracy from its supposed birth in prehistoric times through the lightning-striking Biblical period to early American history and then of course, to the current political landscape. It all has a strong Mel Brooksian feeling of Borscht Belt schtick and frat house humor topped off with some tasty zingers like "...it turns out if Betsy Ross was alive and sewing American flags today, she'd be a 13-year-old Laotian boy". By all means, get this book as we all need a good laugh considering the paucity of options we have come November.
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108 of 121 people found the following review helpful By G Mason on October 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is Jon Stewart at his best. And let's be honest, folks, he rips both sides of the aisle in this mock-textbook of American history. Man, how I wish this was my history book back in high school. I would've studied then. So there's truth here, as well as good political humor. And a clever pull-out poster comes with it on the shadow democracy we have. Now, who can say that doesn't bear some truth!
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77 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover on September 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I hold in my hands a copy of the book "America--the Book" by Jon Stewart. From his zany foreword by "Thomas Jefferson" that literally made me spit out my coffee...to his open letter to Sean Penn requesting he keep his opinions to himself (oh, it rings so true), he had me laughing every time I turned the page. What an absolute delight in the wake of such a controversial election year. If you think he is biased, think again--he rips EVERYONE apart in a clever way.

Make sure you check out the "voter registration form" on page 123. Actually, I could point you in the direction of many funny things, but there are too many to write about here. Buy it, buy it, buy it!
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