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When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism Hardcover – November 1, 2002

101 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anybody who has seen Maher's canceled show Politically Incorrect knows that his driving animus is the long shadow cast by the Greatest Generation during WWII, and that the war on terror has provided him with ample opportunity to elaborate on our inability to measure up-one such opportunity being this entertaining, heavily illustrated and graphically kinetic volume. Nonpartisan to a fault, Maher has a knack for leavening difficult issues with an expertly executed punch line. The government has "abdicated the role of helping citizens make connections in time of war," he says; in reaction, Maher includes dozens of WWII-style posters that he feels the government "should be making and plastering everywhere." It's no challenge to poke holes in his militant outlook, but books like this don't succeed by covering all the bases. There isn't a position Maher isn't willing to oversimplify drastically, but his logic is often compelling, as when he rails against our low taxes, our low rate of foreign aid or our addiction to oil. And he can't stand the token gesture, a prime example being our insufficiently revamped airport security. But it's easy to confuse Maher's urgency with outright alarmism, typified by the mushroom clouds he invokes, and he neglects to connect his rants about, say, the war on drugs to his argument. Maher's palpable sincerity, however, is refreshing in an age dominated by irony and cynicism.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-At first glance, the format of this volume might fool readers into thinking that they are looking at a comedic picture book. The cover, a take-off on a World War II U.S. propaganda poster, shows Maher driving along with a ghostly Osama bin Laden. The book tells readers that to waste gasoline (read oil) by driving alone in an SUV is to help the enemy. The author feels that not enough has been done to prevent further catastrophic terrorist attacks and contends that the government involved the public during World War II by making the best use of propaganda. He argues that Americans have been led to believe that the current war can best be fought if we go about business as usual, pay less in taxes, and continue to buy consumer goods, even if they tie us to regimes in the Middle East known to be financing terror. This book is filled with controversial and perhaps politically incorrect statements, and each essay is likely to provoke a good argument; posters designed for this title illustrate the author's thesis. For example, one depicts SUVs ("Selfish Use Vehicles") adorned with American flags and shows his impatience with people who, after September 11, turned their vehicles into "traveling country fairs." Teens should be taken with this opportunity to validate their opinions or to reevaluate their life choices. The sexually explicit and irreverent language will be familiar to most high school students.
Don Guerriero, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix Audio; First Edition edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893224740
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893224742
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.6 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,906,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

195 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Maginot on November 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Although this book has its share of problems, it is a must read because it is wildly entertaining and because it raises all the right questions about what Americans can really do to win the 'War on Terrorism'. Bill Maher uses language and imagery to contrast the current 'War on Terrorism' against the backdrop of the two world wars and the Cold War and to argue that unlike the present situation, Americans actually got involved back then and did something that is inconceivable today'they made sacrifices. Maher's book is divided into a series of brief, humorous essays (no more than three pages in length) each of which is illustrated with vintage style war posters that contain messages and slogans about the 'War on Terrorism'.
Some of Maher's more trenchant arguments are:
Wars are won by uniting and making sacrifices, so why not carpool as civilians did during WW II (hence the title of this book) instead of driving alone? Also, why not give up SUVs and other idiotic vanity vehicles in favor of fuel efficient ones that will reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, which is one of Al Quaeda's prime sources of revenue.
If the president gets a secret service, why can't we? Put real security in our airports like Israel does.
At the risk of being offensive, search likely suspects at airports, not random people including old women and children.
Why are we investing billions of dollars and lots of resources making sure cancer victims can't smoke pot when we could be directing all of that money and resources toward protecting civilians at home? Besides, it doesn't work and it simply makes more people hate us.
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75 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Gary W. Sullivan II on October 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Being an avid "Politically Incorrect" viewer for many, many years, I've seen and heard Bill Maher say some really incredible things, and some incredibly stupid things. Many misguided people will believe that, after the September 11th attacks, Bill was being stupid, unpatriotic, and unfeeling when hrefered to our military efforts "cowardly". It's something that Bill really wan't able to explain to people while his show was on the air. Well, consider this his retribution... he proves in this book that, not only is he EXTREMELY patriotic, but he also has an EXTREMELY great grasp on politics, and is still EXTREMELY funny.
Bill is tired of politcal correctness and other such practices that keep our country from being everything that it can be. He dwells on various topics ranging from oil consumption (in terms of automobiles and liht bulbs), truly coming together as a country and making REAL sacrifices, religion, the futile and meaningless drug war, airport security, freedom of speech, American arrogance to anything foreign, and national security.
All 132 pages are filled with intellectual and amusing observations and recommendations by Maher. His comic relief in the midst of some hardcore political discussion will definitely catch you off gaurd (I found myself laughing out loud many times), and when you have finished the book, you will sit back and think: "Damn, that was so funny... but damn, he is SO RIGHT." This is why many people love the likes of Bill Maher and Al Franken... they are funny, but they are also serious about everything they say.
The reason I did not give this book a perfect 5 stars is that it is a bit short (lots of illustrations, white space, and large lettering), but in some cases, it makes it even better. I finished it in 2 hours... you could buy it and keep it in the bathroom and still learn alot from this book!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Morris on February 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Bill Maher has a serious temper tantrum in this short and cartoonish diatribe. But it is fun, and he makes some good points. Heck, he has blurbs on the back of the book from Al Franken and Ann Coulter - talk about appealing to everybody.
The book is much like Bill's show, very opinionated but the ideas are never really fleshed out. A lot of points get made in a hurry here, but they are darned good points - and they get the reader thinking after he finishes laughing.
The reader reviews here aren't totally friendly, and I think it may be because Bill manages to annoy everybody at some point or other. Or maybe folks were looking for Calvin or Marxian depth. But taken as a whole the book is like a very good political comedy routine - you'll chuckle, you'll be insulted, and you'll learn something. That's Maher's schtick on stage, and that's his style here.
Listen, his show got on my nerves - I've never been a fan of his. But I enjoyed this book, and credit Maher for taking on the government and shallow patriots for their reaction to 9/11. And it's nice to see that Maher appreciates his country and what it represents while he faults its leaders and many of its people.
By the way, what this book lacks in depth it makes up in height. If your bookshelf is less than 16 inches tall you better wait for the paperback.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Slomka on December 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
9/11, Millions cared for three thousand. Next time, it might be the other way around. This is one of the captions below a picture depicting the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack on American soil, and is one of over thirty pictures and topics covered in this book. Bill Maher's voice may be the equivalent of listening to fingernails scratching the surface of a chalkboard to some, but the common sense behind those words cannot be denied. "When You Ride Alone" is pretty much standard Bill Maher affair, with him writing things and making connections between what we are doing at home, and how we, as an American civilization, have not answered the bell in response to the attack on September 11, 2001.
Through an assortment of well thought out drawings that harken back to WWII propaganda Bill tackles numerous topics on how we, the people of this nation, should and could have responded, as well as some very astute observations pertaining to the role of the government.
Now, this book in not for PC's. Racial profiling is one of the many questionable programs that Bill gives the thumbs up to, though the reasoning behind his arguments cannot be denied as anything less than sound. This along with SUVs, the drug war, assisted suicide, political passivism, and living in a wasteful nation, are among the topics covered.
Whether you agree with him or not, the book raises serious issues and brings to light a unique perspective on what is going on in our nation. As stated, every American of age 18 should take the time to read this book and reflect on their own lives and contributions they might be making to those who flew planes into our buildings.
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