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American Freak Show: The Completely Fabricated Stories of Our New National Treasures Hardcover – October 12, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For his first book Geist, from MSNBC's Way Too Early and Morning Joe, imagines private conversations, e-mail exchanges, Twitter feeds, speeches, and other scenarios involving top newsmakers from our time. Such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Kate Gosselin, Tiger Woods, Levi Johnston, and "President" Sarah Palin are subjected to Geist's wooden, repetitive send-ups. As Geist tells it, most everyone-including all 20th century presidents-seem to be identical to each other, right down to their speech patterns: they are arrogant, lack self-awareness, and have a penchant for swearing. While they may, indeed, share certain qualities, individual personalities are lost on Geist. Occasional "true story" vignettes about real-life "freaks" feature much fresher and funnier content; while recounting a news story in which a man was arrested for pleasuring himself with a coin-operated car wash vacuum, Geist muses, "One assumes Whitesnake was playing on the radio." Clearly commentary, rather than storytelling, is Geist's strength, so it's a shame that narratives make up the bulk of this effort.
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About the Author

Willie Geist is host of MSNBC's Way Too Early with Willie Geist and co-host of Morning Joe and is a contributor to many NBC News programs. Geist also hosts Zeitgeist, a satirical video blog on MSNBC.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; First Edition edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401323944
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401323943
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Geist's book begins with fictional reporting of President Palin's inaugural ceremony, held at Tampa's Ice Palace Arena during an intermission between WWE matches. The point of selecting that location was to reinforce her status as a Washington outsider. Palin also agreed to keep her message short to allow time for the rematch between Sgt. Slaughter (patriotic American) and the Iron Sheik (foreign terrorist). Palin begins with a shout-out to Arctic Cat (rewarded by free snowmobiles for the Palins) and a plug for Todd's latest DVD ("Wipeout" - snowmachine wrecks), on sale at a card table set up on the concourse.

Then its the welcoming initiation for Tiger woods at the Wilton Norman Chamberlain Sexual Addiction Institute in Southern California for celebrity sex addicts. Other members include Charlie Sheen, Richard Gere, Rev. Ted Haggard, Paris Hilton, etc. The group leader, Dr. Vanden Fanning, keeps emphasizing how their affliction is a disease, not a moral shortcoming. Photos of JFK and WJC adorn the wall.

Then its off to less interesting segments, such as tweets from Lindsay Lohan, supposedly similar in spirit to MLK's writing from a Birmingham jail decades ago (a loud cry for justice), excerpts of suggestions passed on from prior White House occupants to their successors, conversations between Gov. Spitzer and his 'girlfriend,' Levi Johnson's application essay to Berkeley, etc.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By EP on October 19, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First, let me say I am a big fan of the Morning Joe crew and enjoy Willie Geist's humorous telling of News You Can't Use. However, this book was not as funny as I expected. It was mildly amusing but perhaps too over the top - I guess I prefer finding the humor in real (yet insane) political events.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ty on October 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I really like Willie Geist, I'm an avid fan of Way Too Early and Morning Joe. But I thought this book was a little much. His sense of humor on tv I find pretty intelligent and fun to follow. This book is a collection of made up stories that are characatures of the political and pop culture figures they're based on. Ok, good idea but I just thought most of the stories were too much, meaning he took the recurring points of Sarah Palin, Obama, or GW that we see in media and just blew them out of proportion. I felt like I was just reading stories that went for cheap laughs rather than maybe something more understated and subtle, which I personally find way funnier. Honestly, my favorite part of the book was introduction that included some tidbits about his father's appreciation for pop culture and a nice little bit (a true story according to the book) about the persecuted Blago when the cameras weren't on during a Morning Joe show. The Blago stuff just rang more humorous because it wasn't too crazy but really gave you an idea of how goofy that dude is. Rather than just making fun of Palin being a hockey mom, or Obama being friends with Ayers and an elitist, or GW Bush being dumb. That being said, I still finished the book, enjoyed it though I didn't laugh out loud, and am always looking forward to the pop culture insights on Way Too Early and the back-and-forth of Morning Joe when Geist is around. Thanks for an entertaining read and it was nice to find a book that condenses all the media portrayals into one, though maybe just too much for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't origionaly going to buy this book. But after a trip to the book store where I had a chance to skim through it before buying it I decided I would read it. The book is interesting enough to me to keep me reading it to the end. Is it so funny you cry laughing? No. There is a joke in the stories here and there where I laughed but that was it. Willie Geist's sence of humor seems to me like it does better when he is talking to you on TV rather than when you are reading it in a book. That said, I am on the fence when I try to decide if I would recomend this book. If you like Geist then go for it but if you have no idea who this author is as you sit here reading these reviews, you won't be heart broken if you miss out on this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on November 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Willie Geist, apparently tired of having to bite his tongue about the "freak show" that he himself is still a reluctant part of, decided to write about other freaks inhabiting the globe, beginning with the last standing but rapidly dying superpower: the American Republic.

The best evidence that we are indeed a dying republic, is not just the list of mostly American characters Geist satirizes here, but the fact that the "Mourning Joe show," (pun intended, an hour long collection of a million advertisements, interspersed with Joe Scarborough's always incoherent ramblings), is the best the country has to offer during the hours of 6-9 am.

The biggest freak of that show is the insufferably egotistical rightwing jackass host, Joe Scarborough, who lacks even the minimum awareness to know that his views are only slightly to the left of, and only slightly less rank and incoherent than those of Sarah Palin. Meka Brzezinski (Joe's female co-host and much abused masochistic sidekick) at least has no excuses, for clearly she comes from good genetic stock. But Joe, even for the rightwing, (and of whatever is his lowly genetic stock) is clearly a lost cause.

Geist had to do something before he loses his mind and goes completely batty. This book is obviously his own self-approved sanity check project. It showcases other freaks out in the firmament: from Tiger Woods, Bernie Madoff and Dick Cheney, to Lindsay Lohan and everyone's favorite idiot and freak, ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Although all of the entries are LOL funny, the best two in my view are the "Presidential Book," in the "Obama versus Dick Cheney: late night in the White House Kitchen," and the "Bernard Madoff: Welcome to Hell" roast.

Geist finally gets to "let loose" and flex his considerable intellectual muscles. We are all better for it. When he can no longer take it, he's got a career away from his day job. Four stars.
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American Freak Show: The Completely Fabricated Stories of Our New National Treasures
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