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Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America Paperback – Bargain Price, February 23, 2010
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"Wingnuts offers a clear and comprehensive review of the forces on the outer edges of the political spectrum that shape and distort our political debate. Shedding more heat than light they drive frustrated alienated citizens away from the reasoned discourse that can produce real solutions to our problems."
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The author tries very hard to go after extremists on both sides. The problem, however, is that if you don't clearly take a side, everyone assumes you're biased against their side.
He tries to be a voice of sanity and goes after truthers as well as birthers (and also correctly points out that the birther movement was started by a Hillary Clinton suppoter).
I especially like the part where he examines three of the most over-the-top complaints about Obama: that he's a Communist, a Nazi and the Antichrist, talking to actual Communists and Nazis.
I doubt the book will change many minds. I've long felt that as much as people say they want civility, they really don't. They want the name-calling and demonizing of the opposition. Many of them, I'm sure, would think less of Ronald Reagan if they knew he routinely had a beer with Tip O'Neil at the end of the workday (or deny that ever happened).
Still, when all you hear from one side or the other is how the country is being destroyed and the sky is falling, it's refreshing to hear some more reasonable voices.
Content-wise, I found the first half of the book uninspired. He spends endless pages quoting the nutcases he finds at rallies and town halls. Sadly, he adds little of his own insight. The net effect is that you feel like you're at a zoo, marveling at curious creatures from a distance. Fine, but we've all been exposed to these "wing-nuts" on television (either put into positive light by Fox News or cast as morons by MSNBC). If you're politically aware enough to pick up this book, you're already aware of all of its contents. This book is essentially a series of conceits, an opportunity to look down on the Sarah Palin's and Glenn Beck's of the world in order to feel some sense of moral superiority. When Avlon DOES come up with his own hypothesis, it is merely a rehash of Paul Krugman's theory that Republicanism has devolved into racial fear-mongering (to be fair to Avlon, he only really pins this generalization on the new fringe of conservatives). I wasn't impressed when Krugman wrote his political theory, and I'm not impressed now.
Stylistically, I understand what the Daily Beast is doing. They want to translate a series of blog articles into the print world, increasing the speed of publication, allowing on-topic books to hit the shelves while they're still pertinent, while gaining some intellectual capital. This didn't work for me.Read more ›
Joseph A. Domino
Palm Beach State College
Boca Raton FL
Makes some good arguments, especially against districting laws.
If you're a centrist, this book will probably confirm your beliefs. If you're not, you will probably see some arguments against the other side and ignore those against yours.
When it's all said and done, it's worth the read.
I received the book in a timely fashion, and it was in great condition. (Good work, Amazon.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very clear and understandable description of the metasticising of right wing extremism. Quite readable.Published 2 months ago by James F. Woods
John Avlon is a liberal pretending not to be. His "independent centrist" schtick is nothing more than a pose. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Xx Mazzy
Finally, an author who truly understands the nature of the wings of U. S. opinion. A balanced, well-reasoned, analysis. Deep enough for a close rereading.Published 9 months ago by Kindle Customer
A delightful book tracing wing nuts in politics from the beginning onward. Great reading for those who are tired of headlines only of the extremes.Published 11 months ago by diane wimberley
...not a liberal or conservative point of view, John talks about extremism as it is active on different sides American political life. Most (75-80% ? Read morePublished 17 months ago by almac
This book is absolutely fascinating....and frightening! The politics in America today are so very divisive and this book explains perfectly how we got here!Published 18 months ago by Grams Kelley
I am in total agreement with Mr. Avlon. These wingnuts are just that and one can't help but wonder how anyone could believe the things that these people say. Read morePublished 19 months ago by tom maney
John Avalon does a good job of putting into words what many in the moderate middle feel about those on the political extremes. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Todd Adams