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Pitchforks and Torches: The Worst of the Worst, from Beck, Bill, and Bush to Palin and Other Posturing Republicans Hardcover – October 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0470614471 ISBN-10: 0470614471 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470614471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470614471
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Ever since MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann debuted in 2003, Olbermann has made it clear that he is not one to shy away from a controversy or back down from a fight. In fact, he has gone out of his way to become a thorn in the side of pundits, politicians, and apologists, exposing their venality, manipulation, and flat-out lies for what they are. From the national disaster that was the Bush administration to agents of the Fox News propaganda machine to the tin foil–hat crowd that calls itself the Tea Party—all have felt the sting of Olbermann's bitter indictments, biting satire, and blistering mockery.

In Pitchforks and Torches, Olbermann presents a powerful selection of his most potent barrages from the days immediately following the 2008 election through the first year of the Obama administration. He is alternately passionate, furious, and humorously nonplussed as he responds to the right wing's increasingly disloyal and nutty opposition to virtually all of the president's programs and the emergence of congressional Republicans as the "Party of No."

Whether sticking it to such usual suspects as Bill O'Reilly, Boss Limbaugh, and Glenn "Lonesome Rhodes" Beck as "The Worst Person in the World"; tracking W's calamitous legacy in the "Worst of Bush"; or getting down to the nitty-gritty of major issues in his influential "Special Comments" and "Quick Comments," Olbermann articulates and energizes progressive positions on the great issues of our time as no one else can. Discover what Keith Olbermann has to say about:

  • President Bush's use and defense of the torture of terrorism suspects

  • The birther movement

  • Sarah Palin's death-panel fantasies

  • Republican attempts to rename the Democratic Party

  • Michael Steele's bizarre stewardship of the Republican Party

  • The Blue Dog Democrats who scuttled real health care reform

  • And much more

Complete with cogent critiques of President Obama's health care strategy as well as his decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan, Pitchforks and Torches is welcome reading for Countdown lovers, Olbermann fans, and anyone who enjoys a good dose of reality with their politics.

From the Back Cover

New York Times bestselling author Keith Olbermann's best takes on the worst people

Whether he's awarding a gold medal to the "Worst Person in the World," pleading for sanity and decency in one of his "Special Comments," or trying to make sense of some even-nuttier-than-usual right-wing outrage in a "WTF?" segment, Keith Olbermann is one of the strongest, toughest, and funniest progressive voices on television. In this irresistible new collection of memorable moments from MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, he skewers the politicians, celebrities, and other ne'er-do-wells who made life in the United States far more difficult and contentious than it had to be during the first year of the Obama presidency.

Olbermann weighs in on major topics such as health care reform, the Obama stimulus, gay marriage, and the war in Afghanistan. He corrects the misstatements, paranoid fantasies, and outright lies spread like manure by the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, and the entire Republican congressional caucus. You'll laugh, cry, and get steamed up by his classic comments on everything from the Supreme Court's disastrous ruling on corporate campaign contributions and the passage of California's Proposition 8 making gay marriage illegal to Representative Joe Wilson's outrageous "You lie!" lie, and much, much more.


More About the Author

KEITH OLBERMANN has won three Edward R. Murrow Awards for Writing, the first for his coverage of 9/11, the second for its anniversary commemorations a year later, and the third in 2010 for his tribute to his mother, "A Baseball Fan Named Marie." Now the host of MSNBC's Coundown, he was previously the coanchor of ESPN's SportsCenter from 1992 to 1997 and helped launch ESPN2 and the ESPN Radio Network. He has hosted prime-time news programs, moderated a Democratic presidential debate, anchored two World Series and one Super Bowl, and won a Cable Ace and 11 Golden Mikes, while his shows have won four Sports Emmys. He has written for dozens of publications, including the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, and Sports Illustrated. He is the author of The Worst Person in the World: And 202 Other Contenders, Truth and Consequences, and other books.

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Customer Reviews

Those sound like very long, extremely opinionated newspaper op-ed pieces.
Joel L. Gandelman
Many however might find him to be a little too much like his right wing equivalent(in "presentation manner") Sean Hannity.
J. White
For those like me who have enjoyed Keith Olbermann's broadcasts this book will be most welcome.
Roger D. Launius

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By R. Dowling VINE VOICE on October 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It goes without saying that if you consider yourself to be on the right segment of the political spectrum (as opposed to the left), there are a lot of things in this book that you may not agree with.

That said, Olbermann doesn't pull any punches with the folks on the left either. He calls out dishonesty and evil wherever he sees it. He just happens to see a bit more of it from the right than from the left.

If you aren't familiar with Olbermann and have never watched his show, "Countdown," you should probably watch a few episodes before purchasing this book. If you like the show, you'll find the book to be an enjoyable portable version. If you hate the show, there'd be absolutely no reason to purchase the book.

I found the book to be an enjoyable, eye-opening, provocative, occasionally gut-wrenching read, and I had a difficult time putting it down. Olbermann does a great job of articulating the frustration and angst felt by those of us who believe that America is turning into an giant, powerful, corrupt corporation, with its citizens turning into slaves. Olbermann's thoughts and observations regarding health care in this country are particularly insightful -- his essays regarding his father's failing health got me choked up a couple of times.

I liked the book and will be sharing it with friends and family.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Anon. A. Non on January 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I heard Keith Olbermann was coming out with a new book, I was looking forward to it. But this is just another collection of "Special Comments," which most of us have already heard, plus a few transcripts of other features. I understand that the words are still relevant and the sentiments still valid. I also appreciate that people who are not regular viewers will find a lot of value here. However, another compilation--which almost amounts to just transcripts from his show--was not what I was hoping to find.

Please, Keith. Write a real book. You're an intelligent man with a lot to say, and we'd like to read something from you that we haven't already heard.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By kwdayboise (Kim Day) on February 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was a little disappointed that this was a collection of Worst Persons and special comments from Keith's show, but once I started reading it was interesting to see his perspective as things were happening.

It's easy to write Olbermann off (especially if you simply think of him as a liberal commentator) as someone who pilloried people on the right. And he did. But it's easy to forget, until reading though these pages, that he was also happy to flay Obama, Reid, and the blue dog Democrats when it was deserved.

A large chunk of the book was culled from the seemingly eternal debate over the health care bill. Olbermann viewed it not just from a liberal perspective but also through the eyes of someone whose mother had died two years earlier, had undergone an emergency surgery, and had a father who suffered a long decline before dying. It made the health care debate more than politics, it was an intimate issue for him. I'm sure this helped fire his outrage over such fake arguments as death panels, planted protesters at town hall meetings, and weak-kneed pawns of the health care industry posing as Democrats.

Read after the shooting of Rep. Giffords, there's also a chilling prescience in his predictions that the growing rhetoric of violence during that period would end in someone would be injured or killed as a result. Based on that alone, it must have taken great self-control not to spend his last few weeks on the air simply saying "I told you so" over and over again.

I loved watching Countdown, and the book reminded me of the best and the worst of the program and Olbermann's on-air style. He was funny, frank, and happy to tell off morons on either side.
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53 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Howard W. VINE VOICE on September 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My only complaint about "Pitchforks and Torches" by Keith Olbermann, is that it is Mr. Olbermann's opinions in print, that had previously appeared on his "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" MSNBC show. Being a long time viewer, all of this was review to me. However, if you are not familiar with the show (and if not, what's wrong with you?), it will all be new and very entertaining.

Keith spares nothing (hence the 'Pitchforks and Torches' title) in skewering the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin, and a cast of very deserving thousands, vying for the title of "Worst Person in the World".

A quick, entertaining, and enlightening read. For fans of Mr. Olbermann, you will not be disappointed. For new readers, you will soon become new viewers.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By sarabella VINE VOICE on December 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I certainly would not reccomend this book for Fox News viewers, but if you are a fan of Keith Olbermann, this is worth picking up. As someone who watches his show on occasion, when time permits, and tends to agree with most of what he says, it was a great way to catch up on his Worsts, Special Comments and so on. It is definately intended for those who do lean to the left and I wouldn't really reccomend it as something to sway others to your/his opinions.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By G. Ratcheson VINE VOICE on October 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Imo, the reason this book matters is because it collects a number of less than honorable behaviors, practices, & attitudes (mostly) from the right in one place; many of which would otherwise be forgotten.

I really like K.O. With me he's often preaching to the choir, & I often appreciate hearing someone publically state what I am already thinking.

What I don't like: K.O.'s speeches just don't work as well on paper as they do on television. Much of the humor gets lost. And again, while I'm a major fan, K.O. occasionally gets petty; with the likely reason being to fill air time. That's much more apparent here then it is on television.

Also as others have pointed out before me there is no introduction or framing comments. I don't know if that's only because all of us received unproofed/unfinished preview copies, or if that's the way the final book will be. I think some sort of introduction could have helped the book hold up as a coherent statement of the early Obama period in the USA.

Again, to sum up, imo this is a vital account of much of the abuse from the USA political world in a 2 year time period, & as such is an important historical document, but don't expect to be as entertained as many of us are watching KO on television.
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