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The Overton Window Hardcover – June 15, 2010
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"Glenn Beck has just shattered the fiction barrier. The Overton Window is the perfect all-American thriller."
—Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"A novel ripped from today's headlines and destined to be as controversial as it is eye-opening. No matter your politics, this Hitchcockian thriller will have you turning pages well into the night."
—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author
"A visionary work of fiction. One of the best thrillers I've read in years."
—Vince Flynn, New York Times bestselling author
"Glenn Beck never fails to amaze. The Overton Window, a rip-roaring read of the first order, is as good a political thriller as you're going to find this year."
—Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author
From the Back Cover
There is a powerful technique called the Overton Window that can shape our lives, our laws, and our future. It works by manipulating public perception so that ideas previously thought of as radical begin to seem acceptable over time. Move the "Window" and you change the debate. Change the debate and you change the country.
Political theory is the furthest thing from twenty-something PR executive Noah Gardner's mind. Smart, single, handsome, and insulated from the world's problems by the wealth and power of his father, Noah is more concerned about the future of his social life than the future of his country. But all of that changes when Noah meets Molly Ross, who believes that the America we know is about to be lost. She and her group of patriots have vowed to remember the past and fight for the future -- but Noah, convinced they're just misguided conspiracy-theorists, isn't interested in lending his considerable skills to their cause. And then the world changes. A plot to destroy America, a hundred years in the making, is about to be unleashed. Can it be stopped?--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Based on the striking cover alone, I was expecting it to be about a big-government dystopia. In actuality, it is about the run up to the same. If you're a fan of Glenn's, that sounds like a good story in theory.
In practice, though, I'm sorry to admit that Glenn's (or the author(s) ghosting as Glenn) narrative style fails to engage. Specifically, the mechanics of "show, don't tell" are wontonly discarded. Large portions of this book consist of characters giving speeches. Soliloquies, really. The villain rants about his philosophy at length in his board room to a captive audience. The protagonist and his newfound friends deliver long speeches about their own philosophies at a rally, literally on stage. It's painful to be reading a story while actively cringing at how hamhanded an approach the author is taking in using these cheap shortcuts. It's a political story that wants to have big ideas, true, but it still needs to function foremost as a story.
My other gripe is the romance that develops between the protagonist and the opinionated constituationalist he falls for. While there is a twist to this subplot, the mushiness that the writer employs in describing their relationship is cliche.
The book does have something to recommend it, though. It employs the device of switching between subplots every few chapters, which at least keeps the reader fresh. Ironically, my favorite subplot is the one that takes place on the road and excludes both the main protagonist and his girlfriend.
Being that I barely liked or cared about the main characters, I was doubly frustrated by the end, which sets up a sequel. In itself, it is not a satisfying ending since it doesn't provide much in the way of resolution. So if you weren't gripped by the preceding story, be forewarned: the ending will leave you downright repelled.
Well, that sounds simplistic, but after a lot of thought, it's true. I happened to watch Beck on Fox when he was talking about the concept of the overton window & how it works (an actual technique of changing group attitudes). Scared me then & it scares me now.
So, the story is just the vehicle Beck uses to show his perspective of what's happening in today's world. There are 40 pages of documentation of source material - honestly overwhelming. He says repeatedly 'do your own research', but I'm not sure how many casual readers will do just that. Maybe they feel as I do - what would I do if I found even half of this stuff true? Well, it's more than I can handle & just reading the list of sources is difficult.
I think we, the people of the United States, are probably heading down the same path traveled numerous times before us by other great nations (Romans, Greeks). And unless we make huge changes - that many won't do - we'll probably continue down the path to ruin. Wouldn't have thought these things 20 years ago, but now it seems almost a given.
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What's scary is that the scenario portrayed is actually possible.