From Senator Al Franken - #1 bestselling author and beloved SNL alum - comes the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect.It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.It's a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast.In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.Has Al Franken become a true Giant of the Senate? Franken asks readers to decide for themselves.
Al Franken, Giant of the Senate Review
- April 16, 2017Ashley"I can't tell you I'll always get it right. But I'll tell you this: I'm going to keep fighting as hard as I can in the coming months and years to protect our children, our values and our future from Donald Trump." - Al Franken, from Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken.This is absolutely the book America needs to read right now. I want to just acquire a crate full of copies of this book and pass it out to people. Franken manages to be both hopeful, realistic and funny all at the same t "I can't tell you I'll always get it right. But I'll tell you this: I'm going to keep fighting as hard as I can in the coming months and years to protect our children, our values and our future from Donald Trump." - Al Franken, from Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken.This is absolutely the book America needs to read right now. I want to just acquire a crate full of copies of this book and pass it out to people. Franken manages to be both hopeful, realistic and funny all at the same time when writing about the inner-workings of the US government. It's amazing.It is difficult for me to write an unbiased review of anything Franken has written - he has been a major influence in my life. Growing up, I watched Saturday Night Live reruns with my parents. I saw a lot of classic SNL - Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Jon Belushi, Steve Martin, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Molly Shannon, Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, Will Farrell, Tina Fay...wow, I just started naming SNL people off the top of my head and just kept going, there. But yes, and, of course, Al Franken.I can't even begin to describe how much of an influence Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them was on my political development. I borrowed the book from my dad because a) it looked funny and it was by a guy I knew to be funny and b) the title. Seriously, how could you not read a book called Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them? As I made my way through the book it was like a veil was being ripped away from my eyes. I suddenly became interested in the political. I suddenly started watching the news and actually paying attention to what they were saying. I started reading the newspaper and Newsweek - the actual content, not just looking at the pictures and reading movie reviews. I got really into this TV series called The Daily Show. I started noticing the every day hypocrisies in my rural hometown. I started questioning the official narratives we were fed every day. I started questioning the narrative I was fed in Lies, and started fact-checking the claims within the book myself. This, incidentally, is how librarians are created, children. Lies woke me up and shoved me into politics. My terrible hometown, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Dan Rather and my local library did the rest. Al Franken: he's good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like him! Especially me.I was naught but a wee little teenage girl in one of the reddest counties of my traditionally blue state. In 2004, there was not much I could do politically, except go to a Kerry rally and then be sad when he lost. And be horrified at how happy my oblivious classmates were that Bush had been reelected. Really, guys?Anyway! This brings me, finally, to Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.When I heard Franken was running for Senate in Minnesota I thought "hell yeah!" And then proceeded to stop caring because a) college and b) I do not now, nor have I ever, lived in Minnesota. I was too busy paying attention to local news, getting kicked out of my room by my evil freshman roommates, and worrying about whether or not the economy was going to get so bad that my parents would lose their jobs and I'd have to withdraw from college and go straight to work. And, if that happened, would there even be any jobs left for me? Ah, 2008. What a crap year. Anyway, I squeaked through 2008 and didn't have to leave school, and next I heard, Al Franken won! Yes! Awesome! I immediately stopped paying attention. Then I heard there was a recount? Oh no, how dare they try and steal Al's victory from him! ...and then I stopped paying attention because school. I was glad when I finally heard that Al got his seat in the senate, but I didn't pay too much attention because a) not from Minnesota and b) college. What does this have to do with the book? Well, the book covers pretty much everything that I missed - why he decided to run for senate, what the campaign was like, and just how difficult it is for a comedian to adjust from being a professional funnyman to a superserious political-type. No eye rolling during terrible speeches. No snarky comments during a hearing. This book is for everyone - it's for anyone who is frustrated at the gridlock in Washington, who is sick of partisan malarkey, or who have lost faith in our democratic process. It is for anyone who watched the disaster that was 2016 unfold with tears in their eyes. It's for anyone who has ceased to see their representatives as human beings and more like soulless ghouls who feed on campaign donations. The best thing about this book is how Franken portrays his colleagues across the aisle not as demons, but as people making decisions he disagrees with (and think are evil). The sight of certain Republicans makes my blood boil, but Giant of the Senate reminded me that, as much as I dislike them, they're still people, and we need to work together if we're going to help everyone. At the same time, though, he fights for truth in politics:"[I]f we don't start caring about whether people tell the truth or not, it's going to be literally impossible to restore anything approaching a reasonable political discourse. Politicians have always shaded the truth. But if you can say something that is provably false, and no one cares, then you can't have a real debate about anything."Amen, Al. Thank you, Al Franken. Don't ever stop fighting for the people, for our country and don't ever stop being funny, even if you have to wait five years and put it all in book form. And don't ever stop telling stories about how awful Ted Cruz is, I could read those all day. Like, in book form. Nudge nudge.more
- May 24, 2017Bettie☯Just for the Ted Cruz chapter alone, this has got to be a possibility:O)
- May 31, 2017ChristenDisclosure: I am Minnesotan and a Democrat (if I am in MN, I would be a DFLer).Funny. Smart. Very Minnesotan. Dry humor. Very Al Franken.Chapter 37 is the Ted Cruz chapter. (Worth it.)Honestly, Al Franken has a knack for explaining government. I knew what he was talking about, but it felt nice reading it from someone on the inside which made it understandable. Franken is smart and willing to be a Senator for the state of Minnesota.more
- April 24, 2017Lois R. GrossForget Schoolhouse Rocks take on how a bill becomes a law. http://abc.go.com/shows/schoolhouse-r... For those who are a little older and need to hear how the sausage is really made, this is, hands down, the best and funniest book about how the Senate makes the sausage. Despite Franken's trademark humor, there is nothing pretty about the mechanics of getting a law passed, especially in an government where all three branches are owned by the same party which is coincidentally owned by lobbyists an Forget Schoolhouse Rocks take on how a bill becomes a law. http://abc.go.com/shows/schoolhouse-r... For those who are a little older and need to hear how the sausage is really made, this is, hands down, the best and funniest book about how the Senate makes the sausage. Despite Franken's trademark humor, there is nothing pretty about the mechanics of getting a law passed, especially in an government where all three branches are owned by the same party which is coincidentally owned by lobbyists and corporations. Franken tries to lighten the tone and most of the time he succeeds admirably. However, for the man who actually pinned Jeff Sessions to the desk with his unrelenting questions, there is no doubt that frustration levels run high. In addition to his most recent Washington years, Franken tells about his Minnesota childhood, his long tenure as a writer/performer on SNL, and how he gradually morphed into one hell of a representative for the people of Minnesota. In fact, this book is a love letter to the state and people of Minnesota who had the good Midwestern sense to send Senator Franken to Capitol Hill.more
- June 1, 2017HannahI loved this book! I haven't read Al Franken's previous books before, but they will certainly be on my "To Be Read" pile as soon as possible. He has a very honest take on politics which as we all know is extremely rare. He is just as willing to call himself a jerk and to admit if he made a mistake as he is to call out his colleagues on their contradictory or ill-informed opinions. I also appreciated that his take on the state of our government and political system now was not all doom and gloom. I loved this book! I haven't read Al Franken's previous books before, but they will certainly be on my "To Be Read" pile as soon as possible. He has a very honest take on politics which as we all know is extremely rare. He is just as willing to call himself a jerk and to admit if he made a mistake as he is to call out his colleagues on their contradictory or ill-informed opinions. I also appreciated that his take on the state of our government and political system now was not all doom and gloom. If you feel discouraged by how things are going, get involved! Find a cause that is important to you and help in any way that you can.more
- May 31, 2017KellyThank God for Al Franken. This book is funny but also a plain-spoken primer for Progressives who want to understand the issues and to make the world better. He obviously loves his job as US Senator and our country is better for hard workers like him. His mix of smarts and humor is irresistible and his vicious account of Ted Cruz is incredibly satisfying. I am so glad Al is still writing and putting both his experience in politics and comedy to excellent use. LOVED IT!more
- June 2, 2017Delia TurnerI have a confession: I never much liked Al Franken as a comedian back in the early days of Saturday Night Live. His brash style somehow didn't click for me. But Senator Al Franken? I like him a great deal. The candid, open, sometimes a bit crude style that didn't win me over then now strikes me as a refreshing difference in a politician. Not only that, I've seen him stand up for things that are right and get away with it (his question to Betsy DeVos about growth versus proficiency comes to mind) I have a confession: I never much liked Al Franken as a comedian back in the early days of Saturday Night Live. His brash style somehow didn't click for me. But Senator Al Franken? I like him a great deal. The candid, open, sometimes a bit crude style that didn't win me over then now strikes me as a refreshing difference in a politician. Not only that, I've seen him stand up for things that are right and get away with it (his question to Betsy DeVos about growth versus proficiency comes to mind). And he is very clear about his mission, and its limits, as an elected official. The book describes a profoundly dissonant world of politics where you can spend three hours a day fundraising and the rest of the day being friendly with people who are actively trying to ruin everything you stand for; where your staff is there to save you from yourself and make it possible for you to function, but you are accountable for everything you say and do - including any controversial out-of-context things you may possibly have done in an earlier career. The candor of the book is sometimes unsettling, though he inventively replaces foul language with words like "nincompoopery" (he explains, "Because I'm a United States senator, I can't use the word bull____"). He cheerfully mixes insults with praise, and gets along with some pretty repellent people. Franken's criticism of Mitch McConnell, for instance, is accompanied by affection. The same for many others. The only people he clearly has absolutely no patience for are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, and he says so bluntly. His encounters with Cruz have been covered in many other reviews of the book. About Trump, he says, after the inauguration, "it began to dawn on many Americans, including a number of my Republican colleagues, that the new leader of our country was, indeed, unbalanced." The book has plenty of flaws. He blows his own horn a good bit, pointing out his wins in show business and in the Senate, yet he also tells the stories of his defeats and naive assumptions with the same relish. His jokes remind me of why I didn't much like him as a comedian. They are brash and jarring, not subtle or unexpected. But again, he tells as many jokes on himself as on others. The book is written in a cheerful, chatty mass-market style, and like his other books, has a title that made me scratch my head and wonder why his editor let him get away with it. Obviously, though, that kind of titling has worked for him in the past, and is consistent with the way he thinks. Near the end, he tells his readers, who for the most part are going to share his views, to keep showing up, keep being a pain in the butt, and become advocates. The book came at a good time for me. I recently finished reading Elizabeth Warren's most recent book and came away discouraged by her relentless exposition of how banking and big business have destroyed the common man. Al Franken offered a more cynical and cheerful take on the same injustice, and made it easier for me to keep going. Your mileage may vary. However, I recommend the book, especially if you have enjoyed Senator Franken's time in the Senate or if you want a better idea of the reason that august institution so often seems dysfunctional.more
- June 1, 2017John LesterThank you Sen. Franken (and my Sen. Steve Cohen) for giving me faith that we have a chance to survive the clown car executive branch of our government. (Just knowing there are branchs to our political system puts me ahead of the Oval Office.)This is a fine read for anyone interested in the political process and demonstrates how fast agendas change on the Congressional floors.Thank you.more
- June 2, 2017Robert MunsilFunny, but also informative about how the Senate actually worksWhile there are fewer signature hilarious, but mean jokes than his previous books, it's actually more informative and uplifting as well. The Senate, for all it's faults, does actually get stuff done apparently, and Franken talks about what is being done well, as well as ripping on problems.more
- June 1, 2017MatthewA funny and insightful book from a Senator who once seemed like a somewhat unusual choice, but who now seems perfectly natural in his seat. I particularly liked the chapter where he slags Ted Cruz. I'm not sure if he's thinking about running in 2020, but I'd vote for him.more
- June 1, 2017CarolynI loved this book which was hilarious and insightful in equal measure. I had planned to get a lot done yesterday, but threw out my to-do list and read the whole thing without a break.
- June 1, 2017SamiraAl Franken was a successful comedian before he became a USA senator. He's one of the most prominent figures in the senate and I always wondered what drew him to politics in the first place. I'm sure this is going to be good after reading a couple of pages. I'm tempted to buy a copy just so I can read the chapter on Ted Cruz 😂more
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