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America (the Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction


America (the Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" is highly acclaimed for its
unique brand of social and political satire, mercilessly examining
American culture and politics with the "fake news." With AMERICA
(THE BOOK), it focuses on American political history and
government. From the moment you open the cover, you know you are in
for a treat. It is a wonderful replica of the glossy, condescending
and vacant textbooks many of us grew up with. The table of contents
is revealing; after the foreword by Thomas Jefferson you can look
forward to such chapters as "The President: King of America," "The
Congress: Quagmire of Freedom," and "The Future of Democracy: Four
Score and Seven Years from Now."

So as "students," what do we learn about America in AMERICA (THE
BOOK)? We learn that America invented democracy, that registering
to vote automatically signs you up for a Land's End catalog, that
in the future the country will be filled with genetically enhanced
children and flesh-eating congressmen. We read about landmark
Supreme Court cases such as Roe v. Wade and Godzilla v. Megalon,
and all about lobbyists ("some groups deserve extra equal
representation") and the media ("spineless cowards"). No aspect of
American government is spared scrutiny or spared from

AMERICA (THE BOOK) is brash and fearless, featuring Supreme Court
Justices in full frontal nudity, more swear words than any textbook
ever assigned, and even a poster with an announcement for the
November 2nd presidential election on one side ("the thrilla in
vanilla") and a map of the shadow government, finally revealing the
true role of Haliburton, on the other side. The book even features
a timely election guide with crucial information on both Bush
("hurdling the lowered bar") and Kerry ("monogrammed for
greatness"), and ways to justify your apathy should you choose not
to vote.

It is difficult to say what is most clever about this book --- its
content or its format. The content is as original, amusing and
well-written as "The Daily Show" itself. Sarcastic and intelligent,
it spares no one, conservative or liberal, in lampooning the
government, media and American culture. It pokes fun at the
spectrum of American values and beliefs quite equally (okay, it is
slightly left leaning). The format is, however, what makes this
book a real work of near genius. It has the look and feel, not to
mention the exact size, of a school textbook complete with
discussion questions and group activities. We are guided to found a
country in chapter one and "lose hope" in chapter eight. We are
asked to discuss what TV shows we would like to watch rather than
the nightly news and five differences between a gavel and an
ordinary hammer. There are even "were you aware" boxes giving us
such gems as "were you aware: Delaware's status as the first state
to ratify the Constitution is still, 217 years later, the only
thing it has going for it."

AMERICA (THE BOOK) is laugh-out-loud funny and a great coffee table
book that is sure to spark conversation. It is recommended for
those who are ready to lighten up the current political climate or
anyone wanting a spoofy counterpart to the myriad books on
government, war and public figures so popular right now.

Subversive, sick, silly and often sadly accurate despite the thick
veil of satire, AMERICA (THE BOOK) is simply great.


Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on December 22, 2010

America (the Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
by Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show

  • Publication Date: June 23, 2011
  • Genres: Humor
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446532681
  • ISBN-13: 9780446532686