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Fanatics and Fools: How the American People Are Being Hoodwinked by Their Leaders Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews Review

Arianna Huffington is a rare breed of political celebrity: an articulate pundit who left the intellectually safe world of criticizing elected officials to try her hand at actually becoming one. While her campaign for Governor of California in the highly unusual 2003 recall election was unsuccessful, the experience has brought valuable insight and perspective to Fanatics and Fools. Huffington, a former supporter of Newt Gingrich, has recently occupied a unique place in the political landscape as she moved away from the right, never quite arrived at the left and dwelled somewhere askew from what is thought of as the center. In this book, she grudgingly endorses the idea of voting with the Democrats in the 2004 presidential election despite grave misgivings about the Democratic Party, which she accuses of too often trying to be a watered-down of the Republicans. But even those Democrats, she feels, are infinitely preferable to the George W. Bush administration with its record of corporate favoritism and patterns of deception leading up to the invasion of Iraq. A section chronicling her experience in campaigning may not seem particularly relevant to people living outside California, but it's a pretty interesting passage. Few skilled opinion makers ever get out and run themselves (imagine George Will or David Broder giving stump speeches), and Huffington brings humor and humility to her account. Her characterization of Arnold Schwarzenegger includes stinging criticisms of his policies but conveys grudging admiration for the actor turned Governor. Her criticisms of Bush and the Republicans are impassioned; well supported, their sheer volume impedes her effort to create a unified message. Still, Huffington's wit and candor, coupled with her recently gained battleground experience, make Fanatics and Fools a terrific read. --John Moe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Huffington's latest (after the bestselling Pigs at the Trough) gets off to a rocky start with a scattershot attack on the GOP that reads more like a disjointed assemblage of her syndicated columns than a sustained argument. Though she is capable of biting humor, this material all too often emphasizes weak attempts at humor over facts (most of which have already been covered in myriad other anti-Bush books). She takes several cheap shots, at Rush Limbaugh's drug addiction, for instance, and makes a tasteless crack about inducing premature births so the infants can count as campaign donors. As she shifts into discussing her short-lived candidacy in California's gubernatorial recall, however, Huffington gradually acquires gravitas and cohesiveness to such a degree that the second half of the book feels like a different work. Her detailed analysis of a Democratic leadership "in complete denial" is strong, and this is surely one of the few potentially bestselling political critiques this season to grapple with political philosophers like John Rawls and Leo Strauss. With an impassioned call for all Americans to give more than lip service to charitable impulses, and invoking the spirit of Robert Kennedy, Huffington assembles a multi-issue platform on which she hopes liberals and progressives can unite to unseat Bush in November. Capping a decade-long transformation from classic conservative to social progressive, Huffington effectively mounts an assault on both ruling parties and firmly rebukes any who would still challenge the seriousness of her political ambitions.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: HighBridge Company; Unabridged,Unabridged edition (April 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565118456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565118454
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,087,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of fourteen books. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. In 2013, she was named to the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. In 2006, and again in 2011, she was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on several boards, including EL PAÍS, PRISA, the Center for Public Integrity, and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Her 14th book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder will be published by Crown in March 2014.

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Customer Reviews

I love the fact that she pulls no punches to expose both political parties who've done nothing but to swindle the American people.
LA-Radio Ken
She offers a blueprint to serve as a national agenda, drawing on the best progressive traditions of both the Democratic and the Republican Parties.
C. Matthew Hawkins
Her book is more of a strategic argument for a new course of action for the Democratic Presidential Candidate of 2004 and the party itself.
Uncle Elmer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By "boscocjs" on April 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
To clarify a few assertions from the Publishers Weekly Review, and other readers' reviews that "Fanatics and Fools" only rehashes other so called "anti-Bush" books, this is true in the sense that there is so much material and research to comb through, analyze, and write about so people understand the unprecedented breadth, severity and sheer quantity of the destructive policies of this administration. Inasmuch as there is an enormous amount for various authors to cover, then yes, it does resemble other anti-bush books in that it, too, dissects the misguided behavior of Bush and Co. Her book differs from others, though, in the clever and laugh-out-loud funny way that this is executed, and also in Huffington's well thought out prescription for Kerry to redefine the debate in this country and offer something better and bigger than the failed democratic campaigns of recent years. In short, if Kerry campaigns on the terms that Rove is trying to lay out and plays defense, he will inspire no one, and will suffer defeat in November. If he offers voters a completely alternative form of leadership, redefined priorities, and a new vision for the country, then he can win by inspiring the 50% of voters who have given up on voting in this country, as opposed to the "tried-and-untrue" failed swing voter strategy that has plagued the democrats and kept them playing Republican-lite for years. (This leads to the central thesis of the "Fools" portion of her work).

And to clarify the so-called "tastelessness" of the joke involving premature babies making campaign contributions, this is a perfect example of how distorted humor can become when taken completely out of context.
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62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Uncle Elmer on April 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Arianna Huffington has written a well thought out book that profoundly indicts the current Bush Administration but does so in a way that the most respected political philosophers of today like Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. would be proud.
Basically, Ms. Huffington warns of an America that is so wildly off course due to the detached leadership of George W. Bush that we are getting to a dangerous point in our country's history. She offers the thought that asks how long can the downtrodden be tossed aside before the entire social fabric that hold our society collapses?
Ms. Huffington adds that the amount of people looking for emergency rooms as their health care is increasing at alarming rates. She cites headlines from around the country that note the plight of the working poor and wonders why they are being ignored by our political system.
More importantly, Ms. Huffington calls into question that lack of leadership by the media who've abandoned the task of reporting on how Bush has broken promises to help the poor and children but had rewarded the rich time and again with excessive tax cuts.
Ms. Huffington then calls into question the political rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger and sadly notes that he is nothing but a warmed over George W. Bush who upon taking office made his first action to strip away a cost of living increase for California's poor. She then says that the media has fallen in love with Arnold and is giving him a pass time and again all to the determent of the poor of California as he cuts their social net.
This is a well written book on so many levels that is better than the Franken book as it is less angry and more intellectual. Her book is more of a strategic argument for a new course of action for the Democratic Presidential Candidate of 2004 and the party itself.
In short, this is an excellent political treatise that should be read by all who are looking for a new course for our country.
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By William Hare on April 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Arianna Huffington's superbly witty book is particularly significant in view of the fact that she falls into the category of independents that the Democratic Party needs to win back the White House in November. Huffington reveals her epiphany, when Harris Wofford, a former civil rights leader with close ties to Martin Luther King, convinced her in the wake of her criticism that the Americorps program he headed in the Clinton administration deserved her support. Arianna not only reversed course on Americorps, she became an articulate populist who is now one of the most trenchant critics of George W. Bush.
The rationale for Huffington's book is stated in her title, bracketing competing political forces into fanatics and fools. She sharply attacks the Bush administration and the current Republican Party, attaching the label of fanaticism based on what she perceives as destructive policies, 1) in the realm of supporting tax cuts which disproportionately benefit the wealthy at the expense of the rest of America, 2) a jingoistic foreign policy responsible for not only launching a war in Iraq that was unnecessary, but alienating world opinion through a go it alone attitude, 3) shortchanging America's schools, 4) despoiling the environment, 5) leaving America vulnerable to foreign terrorist attack while making bogus claims of making the citizenry safer.
The Republicans are defined as fanatics and the Democrats labeled as fools for failing to mount a cohesive opposition. Huffington delivers a necessary slap in exhorting the troops to shape up after the disastrous 2002 mid-term elections, in which the opposition party failed to provide a clear message and appeared intimidated by boisterous Republican propaganda efforts directed by Karl Rove equating opposition with an absence of patriotism.
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