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Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America Hardcover – October 5, 2010

2.7 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Wake Up America: The Nine Virtues That Made Our Nation Great--and Why We Need Them More Than Ever by Eric Bolling
"Wake Up America" by Eric Bolling
Wake Up America is a much-needed call to arms for America’s citizens to preserve and protect our country's present and future. Learn more
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Editorial Reviews


"[A] droll, take-no-prisoners account of the nation's most audacious conspiracy-spinner...Milbank is pitch-perfect in describing a typical Beck performance. He has watched and listened to more Beck programs than I believed possible for the human mind to absord...Milbank is also superb in describing how Beck manipulates his listeners..."
-- David Oshinsky for The Washington Post

"Train-wreck fascinating...Milbank's obsessions about Beck's obsessions can be contagious."
-- San Francisco Chronicle

"Milbank's fast-paced chronicle of Beck World ably details the meteoric rise of a low-rent radio shock jock to national phenomenon in less than a decade."
--The Christian Science Monitor

About the Author

DANA MILBANK is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post and a prize-winning White House reporter. He has written three books, including the national bestseller Homo Politicus. He lives in Washington with his wife and daughter.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385533888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385533881
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,502,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on September 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Glenn Edward Lee Beck (born 1964) is a political commentator, author, radio host, and TV host. Author Dana Milbank is a columnist as well as the author of books such as Homo Politicus: The Strange and Scary Tribes that Run Our Government, Smashmouth: Two Years in the Gutter with Al Gore and George W. Bush, O is For Obama: An Irreverent A-to-Z Guide to Washington and Beltway Politics, etc.

Milbank observes, "(Beck is) putting on a live performance in front of eight thousand paying customers along with fellow Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who is a flamethrower in his own right but who next to Beck seems as mild as Jim Lehrer." (Pg. 2) He suggests, "People don't follow Glenn Beck because he is right. They follow him out of fright." (Pg. 15) He states, "Large numbers of Mormons watch Beck, but likely an even larger number of his viewers and radio listeners are evangelical Protestants who have no idea that Beck is preaching to them nightly the theology of the Latter-day Saints." (Pg. 45-46)

He notes that Beck has spoken approvingly an anti-Semitic author of an earlier era, Elizabeth Dilling. (Pg. 6-7) Later, he states, "Beck, it would seem, has a Nazi fetish. In his first fourteen months on Fox News, he and his guests invoked Hitler 115 times. Nazis, another 134 times. Fascism, 172 times. The Holocaust got 58 mentions, and Joseph Goebbels got 8 mentions." (Pg.
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Dana puts this moron in a new light that everyone should know about. This dangerous fool is a threat to the entire nation. Thanks to Hazer, it is limited to a few brainwashed brain dead sheep here in this country.
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I used to think Glenn Beck was merely a show-biz big mouth, looking to cash in on the angry fringe, to be disregarded as a serious force. After reading Dana Milbank's excellent biography, I'm not so sure. Milbank makes the case Beck is a sad, troubled, and dangerous extremist crackpot who is validating and feeding paranoid delusions of millions of Americans. He is helping to energize and organize the angry dispossessed into a real political force. And he's a latter-day Joe McCarthy, attacking people with no evidence other than guilt by association.

While Milbank is probably best known these days for his humorous Washington Sketch from the Washington Post, he's a serious journalist who covered the WH under GWB well. This book, despite the cover and title, is thoroughly researched and well written biography of our generation's Father Coughlin. As hard as Milbank tries to be funny, most of the book is actually pretty scary.

The book highlights Beck in his own words from the past two decades on the radio and TV. And it isn't pretty. But it's important that a guy who commands the readership and viewership that Beck does gets a thorough once over and gets taken seriously by serious people.

This isn't a book for haters or partisans on the left. If Beck apologists truly believe in what the man says, they should read the book, too. They might not like what they find out. As Glenn says, "how is it that a smear campaign is conducted when you're only using the person's words?"
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Well, this is one of the first books I read on my Kindle, upwards of a year ago. I haven't reviewed the Kindle yet but it's one of the reasons I gave this classic only 4 stars; there's something comforting about having a wad of paper in your hands. Further, you can pass to someone else what you've liked, and you can't do that with a Kindle. But I'll put that aside.

I'll start by admitting that I despise Beck. I'm not among those who say he's "nuts." Nor, in fact, is the esteemed author. He and I are more concerned on the stability of Beck's disciples. Beck is what he's called himself: a carnival clown. Sideshow entertainment. But there are, alas, people who take him seriously, almost as a god. (Milbank uses another word which I noted when I reviewed all the highlights last night, and I don't recall what that word was).

Where does one start: How about that the author is witty enough that I could actually stomach reading about this media personality who makes an extremely healthy living off seeing the country divided. I wish I had Milbank's ability to write wittily about how Beck speaks about things which are simply not true, and others that are mixed with items that are partially true, but in a different context than Beck puts them in. He's made heroes of some figures of whom history doesn't speak kindly. I think particularly of Elizabeth Drilling, who was a rabid anti-Semite, whose work Beck endorsed, while challenging Obama's alleged stand on Israel--a stand, by the way, which Obama never took. Beck made the work of Cleon Skousen, an active Bircher whose own mayor fired him for his dubious (illegal) law enforcement techniques, into a best seller, years after Skousen met his maker.

On the other side of the coin, Beck demonized some, especially Van Jones.
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