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Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway: A Vicious and Unprovoked Attack on Our Most Cherished Political Institutions Paperback – October 29, 2002


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Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway: A Vicious and Unprovoked Attack on Our Most Cherished Political Institutions + Dave Barry Turns 50 + Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (October 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345432487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345432483
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sporting red trunks, white and blue boxing gloves and an American flag towel on the cover, pugilistic Pulitzer-winner Barry (Dave Barry Turns 50, etc.) appears ready for all contenders in this satirical, hard-hitting political commentary ("Whatever the needs of the public are, the government responds to those needs by getting larger"). Beginning with a study of "Early Human Governments" when homo sapiens "were short, hairy, tree-dwelling creatures that strongly resembled Danny DeVito," the sardonic Miami Herald columnist breezes through the centuries to the U.S.'s birth and then to the present, amending the Constitution en route: "If a citizen is arrested, and that citizen hides his or her face from the news media, then as far as the Constitution is concerned, that citizen is guilty." He tours D.C. sites like the Mall, the Smithsonian (which "will pay you top dollar for your Beanie Babies, Cabbage Patch dolls, Pokemon cards, refrigerator magnets, ceramic cats") and the White House ("To take a tour, simply climb over the fence and hold very still until men come sprinting to assist you"). He aims jaundiced japery at presidential "language problems" and elections ("One of these years we're going to elect a president whose first official act will be to launch nuclear strikes against Iowa and New Hampshire"). Once again, the winner is... Dave Barry. 22 illus. and charts not seen by PW. Agent, Fox Chase Agency. (On sale Oct. 2)Forecast: Syndicated in hundreds of newspapers, Barry continues to widen his readership. A nine-city author tour will help launch this onto bestseller lists.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Once again Barry meets the challenge of finding humor in United States politics, beginning with a history of how things seemed to have evolved. His perspective is different from the traditional textbook approach to government, history, and perhaps everything else. He good-naturedly pokes fun at great American documents including the Mayflower Compact and the Constitution and provides a unique view of famous events from our past, such as the Boston Tea Party, where he insists that a giant zucchini had an influence on the resultant events. He spends some time pointing out problems in the government, federal spending, and the legislative branch, but he really hits his stride once he starts retelling Florida's role in the last presidential election. For Barry's fans, this will be another book to enjoy and for those who haven't encountered him before, this is a good place to start.

Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

The New York Times has pronounced Dave Barry "the funniest man in America." But of course that could have been on a slow news day when there wasn't much else fit to print. True, his bestselling collections of columns are legendary, but it is his wholly original books that reveal him as an American icon. Dave Barry Slept Here was his version of American history. Dave Barry Does Japan was a contribution to international peace and understanding from which Japan has not yet fully recovered. Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys is among the best-read volumes in rehab centers and prisons. Raised in a suburb of New York, educated in a suburb of Philadelphia, he lives now in a suburb of Miami. He is not, as he often puts it so poetically, making this up.

Customer Reviews

For plenty of laughs in a fast read, this is the book to read.
rzaster
Most of the federal government gags were just plain goofy rather than funny (no, I don't work, nor have I ever worked, for Uncle).
Benjamin Fitt
Dave Barry is one of the best humor writers in the world today.
David N. Reiss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. H. Bayliss on October 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Okay, I admit that I'm one of the hardy few who has read EVERY Dave Barry book. Even his weaker books are funny. This happens to be one of the classics. I read it straight through while sitting at a local bookstore. Although almost every page had something that made me laugh; by far the funniest section was his re-writing of our Constitution complete with fake amendments (number 8 was intentionally left blank). This is Barry at his comic best. He also has some funny bits on the Clintons (referring to the boring White House tour he points out tha that you only see the furniture -- oh, what furniture since Hillary and Bill took everything with them). This pseudo history and hilarious send up of Washington is a winner from start to finish. And Dave Barry is not making some of this up. And I'm not his fan just because I happened to have attended the very same middle school Barry did in Armonk, New York.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "stiegel1" on October 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was leaving the library last night and noticed a new Dave Barry title hanging on the new books rack, so I had to pick the thing up. I was not disappointed.
I must confess that I've been a long-time Barry fan, but I last purchased "Book of Bad Songs." As great a series of columns as that turned out to be, the book itself was pretty much bunk. Not the case this time. This book, thankfully, was not column rehashes.
Barry has long been considered a Libertarian, and this book makes a good case for it. The first two chapters have the worst elements of a lackluster Barry book, like too many footnotes and a string of jokes that form no real coherent narrative. But the book's bright spots are on the horizon: Barry bashes the government.
He gives good statistics and charts, believe it or not. He even admits that it's basically his (updated and inferior) version of P.J. O'Rourke's _Parliament of Whores_. He shines with proposals that candidates be injected with massive amounts of truth serum and forced to dress NASCAR-style, with sponsor's logos on their suits. The best section is the one in which he argues that South Florida should be expelled from the Union. Besides a hilarious look at why South Floridians do not know how to vote, he absolutely skewers Fidel Castro and the liberal establishment's coddling of him.
If you're familiar with O'Rourke, you'll probably love Dave Barry's attempt at writing a P.J. book. Even P.J. would like it, since he's complained before that he hates going on book tours with Barry, since he's nowhere near as funny. Five stars without the first two plodding chapters, four stars with them.
Incidentally, O'Rourke has a new book out as well. October is being kind to me this year.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There are no dangling, pregnant, or dimpled chads -- Dave Barry's "Hits Below the Beltway" has won the election. After many years of pokes and prods at our ripe-for-ridicule government, Barry strikes out with an all-new and very funny book.
After an amusing dedication to his kids -- because they will someday pay his Social Security -- Dave launches into his giant-zucchini-ridden explanation of government, how it originated in ancient times. Then he goes on to the early United States ("Whereas in the course of human events it behooves us, the people, not to ask, What can our country do for us anyway? but rather, whether we have anything to fear but fear itself, so that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people may be one nation under God, who art in heaven...") and a heavily edited version of the Constitution ("Congress shall make no law regulating the capacity of toilets").
Then he switches to the present, where he explains things like the Republicans and Democrats and why they are radically different, the different departments like the Department of Education (which goes up in size as human stupidity grows), and then to Washington itself; he goes over its history, Capitol Hill, the pointiest thing in Washington (the Washington Monument), the White House, and the Mall. Then Dave proceeds to what everyone wants to hear about: Presidential elections. He examines the different ways of trying to get a candidate elected, such as nominating a loser; and then he examines several political figures, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, John F. Kennedy, John Glenn, and so forth. He also proposes some risky yet satisfying measures, such as giving candidates doses of sodium pentothal and forcing them to wear donor logos.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Blaine Greenfield on December 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Read DAVE BARRY HITS BELOW THE BELTWAY by, you guessed it,
Dave Barry . . . I've liked just about everything he has written, only
regretting the fact that his columns don't appear in my local
paper . . . this latest effort, designed to be "a vicious and
unprovoked attack on our most cherished political
institutions," succeeds at being that--for the most
part . . . there are some parts that just aren't very
funny, but others more than make up for them.
Even the book jacket had me laughing, especially this one portion:
True, his best-selling collections of columns are legendary, but it is his wholly original books, like this one, that reveal him as an American icon. DAVE BARRY SLEPT HERE was his version of American history. DAVE BARRY DOES JAPAN was a contribution to international peace and understanding from which Japan has not yet fully recovered. DAVE BARRY'S COMPLETE GUIDE TO GUYS is among the best-read volumes in rehab centers and prisons. And now, with his take on American politics and, especially, Washington, DC, he takes his place with de Tocqueville and Larry King as a truly infamous explicator and commentator on the process by which we find, fun, and . . . (fill in your own four-letter word here) our pols and public servants.
There were many other passages that had me laughing; among them:
Democrats frankly cannot imagine giving and of it back to us; they would infinitely rather invent new programs that they feel we need. When there's a debate between two Democratic candidates, it sounds like this:
FIRST DEMOCRAT: I would guarantee affordable medical care for every American!
SECOND DEMOCRAT: Well, I would guarantee free medical care for every American!
FIRST DEMOCRAT: Oh yeah?
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