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Red, White & Liberal: How Left Is Right & Right Is Wrong Hardcover – October 21, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

If ever there was book destined to get negative customer reviews, it's Red, White & Liberal: How Left Is Right & Right Is Wrong by Fox News host Alan Colmes. That's not to say this broad defense of liberal beliefs is a bad book, but conservatives who watch Colmes on TV will get upset about his opinions and liberals won't be available to rush to his defense because, not really being a target demographic of Fox News, they probably haven't heard of him. But Red, White, & Liberal has its merits. Whereas many liberal books of its era take on Fox News, the community of conservative pundits, and the Bush administration for being liars or worse, Colmes leaves the mudslinging out. The result is a bit toothless, but the idea of a book that's mostly a case for what's good about liberalism instead of what's terrible about the right is a bit refreshing. There are some problems. Many of Colmes' assertions--Bill Clinton was the best President ever, O.J. Simpson was innocent--seem more planted to provoke Republican ire than part of a constructive argument. Colmes' extensive use of passages from his own show, "Hannity & Colmes," is edited to make him sound as pithy as possible, and quoting one's self as an expert is kind of lazy, really. Key passages from listener e-mails are also included, and while they're often hilarious, Colmes is still cherry picking; the complaints are from violent nutballs and the compliments are from charming folks who use complete sentences. It's also curious how little mention there is here of Sean Hannity, Colmes conservative co-host, who so dominates their shared talk show that a Colmes book feels a bit like a John Oates solo album. In the liberal pantheon, Alan Colmes is no Howard Zinn (heck, he’s no Michael Moore or Al Franken either), but he makes a simple and entertaining defense of the liberal perspective. Now go read those customer reviews. --John Moe

From Publishers Weekly

The liberal half of Hannity & Colmes breaks free of his cohost to deliver a blandly pious "can't we all just get along?" homily without interruption. Racism is bad, conservatives should stop being such bullies and antiwar protestors are Americans, too. Oh, and Fox News isn't really that conservative. But who'll buy it? As numerous excerpts from viewer e-mails reveal, Colmes's TV audience is largely hostile to him, while potential liberal readers are probably still chuckling over Al Franken's portrayal of him in Lies as a milquetoast. That he's nowhere near as funny (or energetic) as Franken or Michael Moore doesn't help.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (October 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060562978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060562977
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,340,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I wanted to like this book so badly, but all I've done is recommended that no one waste their money on this book.
I felt that he was more of a moderate liberal, and he even stated that many liberals didn't like his book because it wasn't far enough to the left.
As a liberal, I have to admit I do not know too much about Alan Colmes because I absolutely do not watch Fox News Channel.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jim Gehart on November 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be just what the doctor ordered. I think this book is written with conservatives in mind. I think a lot of what Alan Colmes does on Fox News and on the radio is done to present liberal positions to conservatives. This book is a huge success in that direction. Colmes lays out his views in a logical manner. He does display his wit and humor, but he does not make a mockery of those he criticizes. The argument that people on the right like Alan Colmes so therefore he is not a liberal or is just playing the part of a liberal is ridiculous. The only way that you can convince someone of your position is to get them to listen to you. Making fun of them, yelling at them, or worse shutting them out is not going to educate anyone. Colmes may not be the fair haired boy of the left or the right but he is definitely contributing to the body politic by talking to people not at them.
Read all the books put out by liberals but don't exclude Alan Colmes because he behaves like a mature adult and not a raving lunatic.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Uncle Elmer on March 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Alan Colmes book is empty of passion. His words are strung together arguments that attempt to form a text for his liberal beliefs. To put his book in context it's without substance much like a boy band is to the rock music scene.
Alan seems like a nice guy. I believe he feels the way he does about being a liberal but beyond that this book is totally souless. It appears to be the work of a very good editor who organized Alan's points into chapters which became a book. If anyone is to be credited, it's Alan's editor who, to me, appeared to be a driving force in making this a presentable work. Which goes back to my point about this being similar to a boy band. It's not heartfelt. It's passionless. It mimics other books much like a boy band mimics other acts but it's all contrived. There isn't any deep rooted emotions here.
Alan spends time saying this conservative is my friend and that conservative is my friend to the point that he is so busy appeasing everyone that he comes across lacking depth. He fence straddles on several points to the extent that you think he was running for office or something.
In short, while the points raised in the book appeared to be Alan's beliefs the book is empty of an emotional core that brings the writer into what is being said. Read Sidney Blumenthal's "Clinton Wars" to see what a real writer with heart and deep rooted convictions writes like. Those who like an "intro to liberalism" may find this book acceptable but everyone else can take a pass.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on November 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Alan Colmes probably feels like Leon Trotsky on some days. It was Trotsky's fate, of course, to be laid low by an ice axe at the behest of the very revolution that he helped to spawn. But here he is (Alan, not Leon) with a very visible television gig, a daily radio program, and now a book. Yet liberals treat him like a redheaded stepchild! You'd think he was Joe Lieberman! Why is that? The answer, I think, is contained in his book RED, WHITE & LIBERAL.
Colmes seemed to spring out of nowhere onto Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes. He's been around for a while, however. His radio program dates back to the 1970s. On October 1, 1990 he came to be renowned as the first nationally syndicated liberal radio talk show host (he's not, but that's an argument for another time). His program in most markets immediately followed Rush Limbaugh, the thought apparently being that stations could stir up a little right-left interest. And in some cases it worked.
I used to listen to him every day, primarily for his "Radio Graffiti" feature. Listeners could call up and say one sentence over the air, then it was on to the next caller. It moved quickly and was on for about three minutes at the beginning and end of his program. It was fairly easy to get through --- Alan, alas, didn't have much of an audience --- so there were regulars who called in such as myself. There was also a really entertaining guy who called himself "The Alabama Dittohead" and who occasionally, though not always, made more sense in one sentence than Alan did in two hours. But in between Radio Graffiti, there was Alan, reliably liberal as he attempted to defend the indefensible Bill Clinton and a host of other causes du jour.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Carey VINE VOICE on September 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Alan Colmes is the man who shares the stage with co- host Sean Hannity on the popular Fox News program "Hannity and Colmes". He is a generally likeable fellow and he comes across as warm and sincere in this, his first published book. Alan wrote this book to offer readers an alternative to the mostly conservative publications, to demonstrate why he is liberal, and to explain why he feels that the so- called "right" is wrong on so many important issues.

Colmes begins his debate by talking about the War on Terror and how a misinformed public has been hoodwinked into supporting it. He offers the many government lies about the Vietnam War to show that we, the American people, cannot always trust governments to tell the truth and to emphasize the point that the American people should be more insistent on knowing the full truth before jumping headfirst into a war against a nation that never attacked us. This chapter on the war and the chapter that follows (about the erosion of civil liberties under the current administration are among the books strongest chapters and they would be even better if they were longer and more thorough.

Colmes wrote some of the chapters in this book, it would seem, as a deliberate way to get the attention of readers- especially Republican readers who will be shocked and (hopefully, in Alan's view) want to read the chapters to find out more. What I am referring to are the chapters that proclaim Clinton as the greatest American president; state that OJ Simpson was innocent; and assert that Jesus Christ was a liberal. These chapters sound like the type of reading material intended to infuriate. But the fact is that what the chapters discuss isn't all that radical or extreme after all.
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