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America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction Hardcover – September 20, 2004
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Featuring a foreword by Thomas Jefferson, a Dress the Supreme Court layout, and, oddly enough, a profile of George "The Iceman" Gervin, America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, from Jon Stewart and the writers of the Emmy Award-winning The Daily Show, is by far one the most irreverent and wittiest (and may we add smartest) political book you're likely to encounter. Amazon.com spoke with Jon Stewart a few days before the 2004 publication of America (The Book) and they discussed bald eagles, magical talking cats, Thor Heyerdahl, and much more
• Read the Amazon.com Interview with Jon Stewart
• Listen to the Amazon.com Interview with Jon Stewart
America (The Book) [Audio CD]
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004 [DVD]
From Publishers Weekly
Cheeky, irreverent and playfully ingenuous, this abbreviated history of democracy is everything one would expect from the writers of Comedy Central's fake news program, which recently (and somewhat scandalously) won the Television Critics Association's award for outstanding news and public affairs series. The book is laid out like a textbook, with "Discussion Questions" ("Why do you think the Framers made the Constitution so soul-crushingly boring?"), "Classroom Activities" ("Using felt and yarn, make a hand puppet of Clarence Thomas. Ta-da! You're Antonin Scalia!") and plenty of amusing graphics, including a board game that resembles the game Life but which follows a presidential term: "Optimistic press release on economy ineffective. Spin again." No one evades the authors' scrutiny, not even the Pilgrims, who came to America "to escape religious persecution... create a society where they could worship as they pleased and one day, God willing, even do some persecuting of their own." The media fares the worst, however. An entire chapter is devoted to telling the "inspirational" story of how the media "transformed itself from a mere public necessity into an entertaining profit center for ever-expanding corporate empires." But if this and other criticisms kindle a few unpatriotic feelings, a section describing how worse off the rest of the world is should buoy spirits. From its dedication ("To the huddled masses—Keep yearnin'!") to its final chapter, which lampoons the 2004 presidential candidates, this humorous sendup of American politics never fails to entertain, poke fun and provoke thought.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction.
Websters defines word [inaction] as: "a LACK of action or activity". Was anyone here dumb enough to think that was simply a typographical error?
This book is trash! It's written in this weird style, the facts are ALL wrong! (Carter never had a beard all long like that when he was President (but he was Liberal)) It has left-wing opinions in it! A history book is not supposed to be biased!
It's also full of swear words. And I know why: They're trying to make a history book that kids will read. But it defeats the purpose if it panders to them so much that it's no better than them.
The problem with this book: It's made by the Daily Show, the worst news show on TV period(.). It's weird Liberal anchor man is all goofy. When I get home from work, my mother and I will watch this show and just look at each other at how incompetent it is and even laugh outright sometimes at it. And this is the only news show I'm aware of that doesn't even have one correspondent actually in Iraq (where we're fightin)!
For a better history book (way better/less swearing), get "America: Past and Present" (And it's a book even though it doesn't tell you that in the title!)
I wish I spent my money on something else.
Sadly, the book is not nearly as funny as *The Daily Show* itself. Maybe I would have liked this book more if I weren't so spoiled on the really clever, witty, and occasionally brilliant writing of the folks at *The Onion.* Then there was the realization that, other than being progressive and left-leaning, I don't think I fall into the book's target demographic of young hipsters. Regular jokes about "bling," "mochachina," and "mother f*ckers who love their mother f*ckin' tea" just left me cold. As well, the use of profanity seemed gratuitous and, because it wasn't bleeped out and therefore somehow even more scandalous, just not that funny.
That said, there was one truly exceptional piece of writing in the book--on the introductory page to the chapter on the media, the authors tear the Fourth Estate a new one for their constitutional inability to investigate and report on substantive issues whose open discussion is essential to the health of our democratic republic. Of course, in Monty Python-esque fasion, the next page featured a new, more "acceptable" introduction to the chapter on the media. I got a big kick out of that, in an "oh my god what is happening to my country" sort of way.
As well, the layout of the book, mimicking as it does a public school social studies textbook (down to the stamp inside the front cover for student names), is really well conceived and executed. The sometimes tedious and unfunny text is supplemented by scores of ridiculous timelines, diagrams, textboxes, and quizzes, and it was in these detailed elements that the book redeemed itself. (After all, who doesn't want their own copy of naked Supreme Court justice paper dolls?)
So there you have it: America (The Book Review). There will be a pop quiz on this review next period. Any questions?