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Right Turns: From Liberal Activist to Conservative Champion in 35 Unconventional Lessons Paperback – December 27, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


“Fierce, fearless, funny, and formidable.” —Mel Gibson

“Insightful, funny, powerful, and important.” —Rush Limbaugh

“Michael Medved’s own right turns have helped many Americans discover Right thinking, and this powerful, gripping book should win many more converts.” —Ann Coulter

“A provocative memoir . . . Even many of his readers who hold to very different political and social views will concede, grudgingly, the quality of Medved’s intellect.” —New York Times Book Review

“Right Turns is an engaging memoir and a moving tribute to America. It is also a very accessible road map for explaining the practical reasons old radicals often become older conservatives.” —National Review Online

“Medved’s is an indispensable voice in America’s national dialogue on politics and popular culture.” —Washington Post

About the Author

Michael Medved is a talk-radio host and author. An honors graduate of Yale University, he lives in the Seattle area with his family.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400098327
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400098323
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Medved is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, best-selling author and veteran film critic. His daily three-hour program, emphasizing the intersection of politics and pop culture, reaches close to 5 million listeners in over 200 markets, coast to coast. For twelve consecutive years, he's been listed by Talkers Magazine as one of their "Heavy Hundred" most important American talk show hosts, and for seven of those years his show has also been listed as one of the ratings top ten.

Born in Philadelphia, raised in San Diego, Mr. Medved graduated with honors from Yale and then attended Yale Law School-where his classmates included Bill and Hillary Clinton. After working as a screenwriter in Hollywood, he reviewed movies for CNN, and later as chief film critic for the New York Post. He also served for twelve years as co-host of "Sneak Previews," the nationally televised weekly movie review show on PBS-TV.

Mr. Medved is the author of twelve non-fiction books, including the national bestseller "What Really Happened to the Class of '65" (the basis for a popular TV series on NBC), as well as the definitive history of the White House chiefs of staff, "The Shadow Presidents". His most influential-and controversial-work was a best-selling indictment of the entertainment industry, "Hollywood Vs. America". England's prestigious Guardian newspaper wrote: "Just Occasionally, a book changes the way the world thinks. Michael Medved's Hollywood Vs. America is such a book." Mr. Medved then collaborated with his wife, Dr. Diane Medved, a clinical psychologist and author in her own right, on "Saving Childhood: Protecting Our Children from the National Assault on Innocence". In October 1998, the Wall Street Journal wrote: "If Saving Childhood isn't an important book, I don't know what one would look like." His book, "Right Turns" (Crown Forum/Random House, January, 2005) drew rave reviews for its "lively and intimate" description of his transition from "punk liberal activist" to "lovable conservative curmudgeon."

Most recently, Michael's book "The 10 Big Lies About America," spent twelve weeks on the New York Times extended bestseller list, and became a Main Selection of the Conservative Book Club. The follow-up volume, "The 5 Big Lies About American Business," was published by Random House/Crown Forum in December 2009.

Mr. Medved has been a frequent guest on all the major TV talk shows, including Larry King Live, Nightline, Oprah, David Letterman, Good Morning America, CNN's Reliable Sources and countless others. His columns on media and society appear regularly in USA Today, where he serves as a member of the Board of Contributors. The Medveds live in the Seattle area where they've raised their three children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

145 of 176 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on January 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have four main reasons for liking this book.

(1) I like Michael Medved. He's a personable, decent, and intelligent guy; his biography is interesting because he himself is.

(2) Having never been a leftie myself, I enjoy reading accounts by ex-lefties about how they came around to good sense. (And accounts by formerly secular-leftist Jews about how they returned to traditional observance. Medved is good buddies with Rabbi Daniel Lapin, author of _America's Real War_.)

(3) I _dis_agree with Medved often enough (he didn't like the first _Batman_ film!) that his book illustrates an important point: despite what you may have heard, the political right is as intellectually diverse as the left.

(4) Medved seems to have been present, albeit in the background, at nearly every important sociopolitical event of the last four decades. It's like _Forrest Gump_ for conservatives. Heck, he was at Yale with Bush, Kerry, Clinton, and Rodham; his personal accounts of those folks alone are worth reading whether you care about Medved himself or not.

The book itself is arranged into thirty-five 'lessons', each of which is part biography, part homily. For example, Medved launches his tale with an account of his grandparents' immigration to the U.S., but rather than just presenting biographical details, he ties it in with a short account of why he thinks the existence of the United States is divinely providential. This pattern continues throughout the book, with some chapters heavier on the biography and others almost all homiletic.

There's lots of interesting stuff packed into the cracks. You'll find out, e.g., just exactly _which_ film mentioned in _The Golden Turkey Awards_ was actually a hoax.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By M. Sheldon on October 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The humor , insight to famous people, Hillary he knew in college, and his weird behaviors, will stop the family car to pick up trash on the road side , makes this book just roll along . Michael Medved is one of those walking talking Encylopedia's, he knows his facts. He presents them in a very interesing and logical manner . Great insights into the movie industry , politics and tactics from the left and right , and a beautiful portrayal of how religion can change a person's heart for the better and change how they view the world . Great book , easy rading , I loved it .
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Peter Lorenzi on July 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Even if you don't like Michael Medved, even if you are liberal, there is a lot to like in this book, the story of one man's interesting, eventful journey from the left wing to the right side of American political and cultural thought.

Perhaps most enjoyable are the folksy, down-to-earth detail of Medved's evolution, from his family's roots in Ukraine (his grandmother's fourteen-year separation from his grandfather alone is worthy of a Hollywood script), to early years in Philadelphia with a doting aunt, to his transformation to life in southern California, to high school in a sun-drenched Los Angeles suburb, to an extended stay at Yale (hitchhiking 80,000 miles before he graduated; there's a book right there), to political campaigns (from Bobby Kennedy to George McGovern to Ron Dellums), through the turbulent war protest years, and on through his conversion to conservative thought (having been mugged, or at least robbed, by reality in "Beserkly", this is an engaging, informative, enjoyable read.

The book is especially dear to men of Medved's generation, who came of age in the sixties, had tough experiences in the seventies, and came around in the eighties. His brief chapters have almost cute, provocative titles and an eye and memory for detail, be it a ride with a friend back from northern Calfornia that led to his best-selling story about his high school classmates, to specific memories of week end jaunts with his sleeping bag, to an almost Forrest Gump-like luck of being in the right place at the right time to meet, among others, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Barbra Streisand, and Medved's second wife.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Stamper VINE VOICE on September 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book at the library expecting to be bored after a chapter or two. I share many of Medved's political opinions and I suspected he'd be preaching a manifesto and I'd be the choir member with toothpicks in my eyes. Instead, the book turned out to be a personal journey not of policy, but of how he wound up in unexpected careers as a book author and movie critic.

Along the way he also reveals how his conversion to Orthodox Judaism changed his political outlook from war protesting liberal to cultural conservative. In many hands, such conversions could be bland as well, but Medved reflective nature is honestly revealing. For instance, Medved explains how his beliefs at the time naturally led him to support lefty politicians like Allard Lowenstein and George McGovern. I've always wondered how someone smart could do that and I know I better understand why.

One thing that makes Medved's book particularly relevant today is his personal reflection on his Yale classmates like Hillary Rodham whom he found quite warm and caring during their law school days. Medved met Bill Clinton before Hillary did and wasn't so impressed. He still has trouble understanding how the Hillary he knew would marry such a man. He's not much for John Kerry either, a self-promoting blowhard in memory. Regretfully, he ran in different circles than George W. Bush so he has nothing to offer there.

I bought his earlier book HOLLYWOOD V. AMERICA more than ten years ago and I admired it more than enjoyed it, so I'm pleasantly surprised that his personal journey was so enlightening and entertaining.
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