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on January 24, 2005
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.

Medved is, of course, a well-known film critic who thinks (with good reason) that 'Hollyweird' has lost touch with American values and produces films primary to satisfy left-leaning anti-American/anti-religious critics rather than to make money. If you want to know more about his opinions, look up his online columns and read his _Hollywood vs. America_, which I reviewed some years ago.
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on October 26, 2005
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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on July 22, 2005
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.

Embraced by conservative Christians, Medved earlier embraced his Orthodox Judaism, while swimming in a Hollywood culture of reformed, liberal, and left-wing personalities, trying to make a constructive cultural statement and stance out of the deteriorating drek flowing from Tinseltown. How he not only survived but how he consciously changed and thrived as a best-selling author, public speaker, and popular (two million people a week listen) talk show host, is a real American journey.

One minor error: In a funny story about trying to NOT receive a job offer at a Wisconsin regional university, Medved (p. 222) places Menomonie, Wisconsin 90 minutes west of Minneapolis, when the Stout campus and the city are east of the Twin Cities.
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VINE VOICEon September 24, 2005
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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on November 27, 2005
Michael Medved is a religious (orthodox) Jew. His message is often too religious and right-wing political for my taste. Yet the man has integrity, candor, character and incredible moral values. We could all do much worse than to listen to that kind of man. If only America would put more integrity, candor, charachter and moral values into our government, classrooms and politics- we'd all be better off for it. Solid book, easy reading, great man as author.
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on September 21, 2006
Thank God for Michael Medved and his insight. As a Medhead myself, I love his witty style, clear intellect and humility. This book gives the reader an intimate look into the life of a very entertaining public figure who affects our world for the better; truly living into his calling to ensure that people realize there is indeed hope for the future.

One of the best nuggets that I took from this book were in regard to the Scarlet Plague and his Uncle Moish's warnings about where the Scarlet Plague is found. The other great nugget, is in regard to the amount of time we American invest (need I say WASTE) in the consumption of popular culture. Thanks to seeing Michael Medved live at Grove City College in April 2005 and after reading this book, my husband and I KILLED our TV. Well, at least we got rid of cable tv (saving money was a nice bonus) and now we have found so much more time! It's amazing what an impact the media really does have on our lives if we let it. Thank you Michael Medved for alerting us!
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on September 25, 2005
I have been a fan of the Michael Medved radio show for the last five years. It is, in my opinion, the best show on radio. His book is what I have come to expect from Mr. Medved. It is very well written, entertaining, and thought provoking. "Right Turns" is essentially his autobiography that is written in the form of the lessons he has learned in his life. What an amazing life he has led! As a student at Yale he knew many of the current movers and shakers who are in Washington right now. He became a prominent figure in many campaigns, including Robert F. Kennedy. In fact, he was in the same room when Kennedy was assassinated. Most people remember Michael Medved as the tough to please movie critic on PBS's "Sneak Previews". He was also involved behind the scenes with Mel Gibson's "The Passion" as somewhat of a consultant. The theme of this book though is his "conversion" from a liberal activist to a deeply religious conservative and family man. Each chapter focuses on a specific lesson that he has learned. Michael Medved is one of the most intelligent, well-spoken, and entertaining voices out there today and his book reflects all of these attributes. It reads as if you are sitting down with a friend and he is telling stories to you. Highly recommended even if you aren't a "political junkie".
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on January 4, 2005
It should first be said that this is not just the periodic effort of a talk show host to write a book. This is a very good book by a writer, and a good one at that, who happens to be employed as a talk show host. The writing is simply enjoyable to read - it is witty and eloquent and Medved has a keen perception for the interesting details of life. This makes every anecdote quite poignant as well as being meaningful and illustrative. The book proceeds chronologically while at the same time being arranged into chapters which have a unique "lesson" about life in general. It is a creative and charming way for Michael Medved to explain his thought in terms of his life.

You may not be inclined (as I am not) to read the latest bestsellers by popular talk show hosts but that should not discourage you from reading this book which gives an intelligent and entertaining account of a man's movement towards conservatism through his personal history from the 60's to the present.
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on April 10, 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed "Right Turns." I enjoyed his take on politics, romance, and religion. I have listened to Medved on the radio for many years and it was enjoyable to have this book tie all of the pieces of his life together. A must read, Medved fan or not!
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on December 28, 2004
Michael Medved is able to engage in debate with great effectiveness because he has a photographic memory and therefor a great wealth of factual information to support his opinions. Most people who try to rebut him find themselves hopelessly outwitted. He is a virtuous man trying to preserve the positive aspects of our Judeo-Christian culture. For those who are trying to undermine our culture, he is their natural enemy. Right turns synthesizes his perspective on the major political and cultural issues of our time.
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