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Who Let the Dogs In?: Incredible Political Animals I Have Known Paperback – July 12, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Veteran columnist Molly Ivins, a rare and highly irreverent Texas liberal, is back with a collection of columns gathered from a rich and varied career covering some of the best source material a writer with a knack for whimsy could wish for: politicians. In Who Let the Dogs In, Ivins offers her thoughts on politicos from the Reagan era through the administration of George W. Bush (whom she first nicknamed "Shrub" way back in his early Texas days). While Ivins is of the lefty persuasion, she is far from doctrinaire, which helps separate her from the scores of lockstep pundits on either side: she credits Bill Clinton with being a brilliant politician and condemns the policies of Bush as being terrible for average Americans, but also presents stinging criticisms of Clinton's failed initiatives and defends Bush as being smarter than most give him credit for. Her words are strong, her writing is clear, and her thoughts are well organized. Of course, most people remember a Molly Ivins column for the humor, and we get to witness her firing missiles at low-flying targets like Newt Gingrich and Ross Perot and describing Bush's puzzling lead over Al Gore among men in the 2000 campaign, "One guy played football, went to Vietnam, and is notoriously emotionally distant. The other guy was a cheerleader who got into a National Guard unit through family influence, lost money in the oil business, traded Sammy Sosa and is now sliding through a presidential race on charm. Do I not get American men, or what?" Who Let the Dogs In lacks some of the focus of her Shrub and Bushwhacked simply because it's about a whole generation of political characters as opposed to one memorable Texan, but such broader perspective also affords an opportunity to better understand America's recent history and maybe get a few laughs while doing it. --John Moe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Two decades of Ivins's smart, acerbic political commentary have been harvested for this highly entertaining collection, which includes a new introduction addressing what she calls our country's current "state of open corruptness and intellectual rot." Though a self-described liberal, Ivins is not inflexibly tendentious. Rather, she is a tonic against the mean-spirited pundits found on both sides. She criticizes the Bush administration plenty, but she also reserves some of her sting for Clinton and Kerry. Ivins's delivery is wonderful. Her crisp yet throaty Texan voice is firm and authoritative, but at the same time inviting and homey, and the twinkle in her eye is aurally palpable through the pluck and elfish spunk in her voice. Those who are wary of picking up this audiobook because it's abridged should think again. There's no question that Ivins (Bushwacked, etc.) is a great oral, as well as literary, entertainer, just as there's no denying her genuine concern over the country's current political situation. "Having fun while fighting for freedom," she says, "is one of my life causes."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (July 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812973070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812973075
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #775,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L Goodman-Malamuth VINE VOICE on July 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a longtime fan of Molly Ivins, I found this collection to be a treat in every respect. Sure, there's some repetition from her past books, but I found it refreshing to take another look at articles published long before the horrors of September 11, John Ashcroft, and Shrub. For example, take Ivins' loving tribute to the formidable Texan Barbara Jordan. Just to read BJ's assertion, "My faith in the Con-sti-tution is whole, it is com-plete, it is to-tal," sends shivers up and down the spine. Yet Ivins has added a few more anecdotes about Jordan, one politician and professor about whom it is impossible to say too much.

Ivins told her young editor that the concept of a "career retrospective" makes her feel "slightly dead." To the reader, Ivins' work is still bursting with wit, insight, and just plain fun. Her intimate knowledge of government, based on forty-plus years of reporting from small-town Texas to the vagaries of the White House, gives her a unique perspective and a hilarious way of expressing herself. She can even make us snicker at the Nixon years--no small feat.

In my opinion, "Political Animals" is an excellent introduction to Molly Ivins for those who don't know her work, as well as a delectable read for those who do. You keep going, girl.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a must read for all political junkies, being a retrospective of Ivins' most memorable articles over her 30-year career of covering politics. She is always an enjoyable read, and her sense of optimism in the face of peril is a laudable trait. And she does think that we are at a time of great peril, but she feels compelled to point out stupidity and corruption and lampoon it-hence, the wit and clear-sighted wisdom that is Molly Ivins.

Christian Conservatives and those who don't vote because they feel that it would not make a difference would be well-advised to read her introduction. She makes the case that Christian Conservatives are being used by the greed-is-good neocons. And for the non-voters, she harks back to a time when people followed politics with greater intensity than people follow sports today--like their lives depended on it-because it does.

I would say, Molly Ivins for President, except we could probably never convince her to give up her noble career as a writer to lower herself into the political arena.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the first book by Molly Ivins I have read. I found it witty, satirical and worth every penny. Her viewpoint is clear; and it is definately liberal. I'm not. Whether you agree or disagree with her viewpoint, her writing is funny and very entertaining.
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Format: Hardcover
Allow me to preface this by saying that I love to read Molly Ivins. She's bright and funny, and I enormously enjoy her humor and the way she can turn a phrase. She's one of my favorite writers. I was happily anticipating reading her latest book. However, it wasn't clear to me from reading the cover blurb that this is an anthology compiled from previously published columns (not something I'd mind as I don't usually have an opportunity to read her work other than in books)... and, in particular, at least some of these essays have been previously published in book form.

So, I'm reading again "How to Survive Reagan", which was originally published in "The Progressive" in 1986, reprinted in "Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?" in 1991, and now reprinted for a second time in "Who Let the Dogs In?" The same is true for essays like "The Word's The Thing" (first published in The Progressive in 1988, and again in 1991 in "Can't Say That".

But, in my opinion, worse yet is that some essays originally appearing under one title have been included in this book with a completely new title.... see "Don't Worry, They're Happy" (originally printed in Savvy in 1989 and reprinted in 'Can't Say That' in 1991), born again in "Dogs" as "Killing the Messenger." There's also an essay comparing Ross Perot to a Chihuahua (voice, not size) that I know I've read in another Ivins book (could be Can't Say That, but I'm done cross-checking for today). I think that's intellectually dishonest.
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Molly Ivins is such a gifted writer and "freedom fighter" -- an unrepentant liberal in an era when "The `L' Word" is supposed to make children scream and grown men flee. "Who Let The Dogs in?" is a retrospective of her many years of writing, focusing on the memorable people - politicians and otherwise - who have earned their few inches on her pages.

Liberal or not, Ivins is an equal opportunity critic who is not shy about savaging lefties. Bill Clinton comes in for special criticism for pandering to the right by booting poor mothers and kids off the welfare rolls. But then, had she known that "Shrub" Bush was waiting in the wings, she might have been a little kinder to ol' Bill. Molly Ivins will have none of the common wisdom that politicians do what they have to do to gain and keep power. She insists in the quaint notion, also found in the Constitution, that government's purpose is to "promote the general welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty." She takes dead aim at any politician whose work is destructive of the general welfare and secures the blessings of liberty for themselves and their kind. In Molly Ivins' world, that means that Republicans and especially neocons take the brunt of her ire.

If you do not share that version of reality, Ivins' writings will make you grit your teeth and harvest your hair. Save yourself the dentist and transplant bills and look elsewhere. But for those who love freedom and justice for all and who support the prudent exercise of government, Ivins is your gal.

Who are the "dogs" in "Who Let the Dogs In?" They are the Clintons and Bushes, Gingrich, Gore, Richards and Cheney. They are also writers and attorneys who champion the rights of the disenfranchised when it is not only unpopular, but downright impoverishing.
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