Select one of the keywords
The Truth: with jokes    by Al Franken order for
by Al Franken
Order:  USA  Can
Brilliance Audio, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

For those of us still shaking our collective heads in the wake of the U.S. 2004 election, political pundit and comedian Al Franken delivers The Truth as he sees it, with a decent spackling of jokes. From his anonymous introduction (from a supposed superstar to his grandchildren), Franken makes his politics and his feelings clear and concise, i.e. that Bush, his administration and right-wing zealots need to take a long vacation on the euthanasia express.

Considering in detail the 2004 election, Iraq, various Republican talking heads like Ann Coulter, Bill O'Riley, and his truly despicable arch-nemesis Sean Hannity, and other political hot topics of the last year, Franken goes into detail about the 'fear, smear, and queer' campaign employed by Karl Rove to boost votes for Republican party leaders. He goes to great lengths to deconstruct myths and media-repeated babble that continue to lead Americans to believe lies over the actual truth. He quite aptly challenges the belief that people voted for morality in the 2004 election, and shows how the depiction of Kerry as a flip-flopper could actually be used to describe any political leader involved in government for any length of time, including George W. Bush.

While his words will be taken to heart by many, they can also prove frustrating. To the politically astute and sympathetic, so much of this is already known. What is needed, is a way to counteract the current trends and tactics of the Republican political machine. In this regard, Franken falters. Like Michael Moore in Dude, Where's My Country, he provides great analysis and identification but lacks qualitative follow through - a criticism the Democrats hear again and again. Yes, voting is a start, but it's not enough to enact change, and Franken doesn't put forth what that extra is. What one can be left with at the end of the audiobook is a feeling of agitation without much direction beyond a soapbox of repetitive rhetoric against the Republican regime.

Franken, a radio show host with a significant resumé of experience in both radio and television, narrates this audiobook quite effectively. In addition to his energetic voice, audio clips, sound effects, quotes, and impersonations are added to the production making it that much more engaging. Franken includes clips from his radio show, NPR, presidential speeches, campaign ad commercials, and other resources. The authenticity provided by these clips is reassuring to listeners who might not have the resources to verify a quote's veracity. Occasionally, Franken or some other voice will do an impersonation - sometimes mockingly and sometimes legitimately. However, if a listener has never heard the actual person talk, they might not realize whether it is a joke or not.

Obviously an audiobook like this will provoke or annoy, depending on which side of the fence the listener is on. But Franken backs up his facts with sources, while explaining his opinions and how he comes to them. While this book might be the preface to a run for a Congressional seat in the near future, Franken still keeps his eyes focused on decoding and deconstructing the various messages presented by the liberal media and providing the truth - with a few jokes tossed in for good measure.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews