From Publishers Weekly
In his first book, the genial cohost ("from the right") of CNN's popular Crossfire details his adventures in the political business and in television, from the enlightening to the downright hilarious. Given Carlson's conservative label, some readers may be wary. That would be a mistake. Politicians is not about bashing liberals (indeed, Carlson admits that his Ober-liberal cohost James Carville is "one of my favorite people"), but about the colorful and at times irreverent people who make politics so interesting-and entertaining. The author reserves his criticism for stuffy politicians who take themselves too seriously, and he lavishes praise on those who make good on-air guests. Among these is the convicted former Ohio congressman, James Traficant, "because he was willing to appear on television drunk." Carlson's montage is packed with golden political nuggets ("if you're going to be shallow, I've always thought you'd better be amusing") as well as the secret to his success (just let people talk and they will tell you everything you need to know) and funny glimpses behind the scenes at live TV, including the producer from hell, the "seven forbidden words" on television and "easy turns," the "publicity hounds" without whom, he says, talk shows could not exist. At times, it's difficult to tell if Carlson is being serious or pulling your leg, but that is part of his charm. Anyone with a sense of humor will find this chronicle thoroughly enjoyable, and political junkies will likely laugh out loud more than once.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Carlson is the conservative team member, the guy in the bow tie, on CNN's political-debate program Crossfire
. His book is both memoir and commentary on current politics and the media--all with a slant, of course. Although many readers will disagree with his attitudes and precepts, everyone has to admit he is a good storyteller, intelligent and witty and sure of himself. He recalls his climb to his current TV position, which included formative time spent on the CNN show Spin Room
. In the process, we certainly learn how cutthroat the television world is. Never averse to expressing an opinion, Carlson offers his own interesting philosophy on how to behave in front of a camera, which includes the maxim that "arguing a position you don't really support is a sure way to wind up loathing yourself. Plus, genuine conviction makes for a good debate. Phoniness is easy to spot." And this, too: "As the host, it's up to you to decide what happens on the show. And no matter what the producer says, you have the power to do it." The bottom line is, of course, that readers' gut-level responses will depend on which side of the liberal-conservative spectrum they find themselves. Librarians should expect demand. Brad HooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved