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on 2 January 2005
Jon Stewart and his team at the Daily Show have done themselves proud once again. America the Book is a fantastic satirical look at the USA from the colonial era to present day and I am sure will be a set text for students the world over in years to come. Stewart's unique style makes reading this book a joy from start to finish, complete with pictures, diagrams and comprehensive flow charts to get anyone who struggles to criticise the worlds only super power a top grade in cynicism.
The only book to make me laugh out loud from start to finish.
Superb!
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on 26 February 2005
This is a very funny and witty book - even for those of us who only take a swiftly passing interest in news media or politics. If you enjoyed the likes of Have I got News for You, Brass Eye and remember the Friday Night Armistice, you'll have some idea of the tone - hit and miss satire(though more hit), with a few laugh-out-loud moments.
The textbook format makes the heavy subject matter amusing, light and, I daresay, fluffy even. It's quite clear that the writers know their stuff! It doesn't pull any punches and you get the feeling that there was a whole lot more that even they thought might be too objectionable to keep in. The book was even banned in Mississippi libraries, albeit for one night.
If you're reading this, you're probably a UK fan of the Daily Show. The only question it raises is this: when do we get our own version?
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on 7 April 2006
This book is excellent readingabout the political history of the USA . It takes a closer look at the gloosed over image of Bush , Cheny and co and makes them look idiotic .
I particicularly liked the coloumns written by The Daily Show correspondents, (Stephen Colbert, Ed Helms, Samantha Bee and Rob Cordry). This is a great book for fans of The Daily show and The Colbert Report.Anyone whois not a fan will become one after reading this .
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on 9 November 2007
Undoubtedly the best history book ever written for America by Americans. Tackles every single (interesting and important, of course) facet of American culture with fun, verve and zest. Great, great fun. Retains the zip and punch of the tv show. Get it - now!
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VINE VOICEon 12 February 2006
I really like the Daily Show, so I thought this would be a great book to take on holiday and have a good laugh over. But I was wrong.
Its not awful, its not entirely unfunny, but its nowhere nearly as well written as the TV show.
Its definitely a more gentle satire of American politics than the Daily Show. Maybe they figured the difference lay in the target audience - TV watchers versus book readers. But this is definitely a 'knowing chuckle' kind of experience, as opposed to a laugh-out-loud one.
To summarise - bought it with great expectations, but sold it on in a couple of weeks.
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on 28 April 2011
I'm a big fan of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, but for some reason I'd never felt curious to read any of their books until this year. I considered starting with Earth (the book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race, but thought I'd go through this older one first.

I have to admit, when I started I was a bit taken aback. I don't know what I expected, but the first chapter ("Democracy before America") was written with such an unapologetic disregard for History that I couldn't even find it funny, at first. However, once the initial "shock" had passed, this book got funny as hell. It's opinionated, scandalous, hilarious, and so spot-on that my bittersweet feeling of not knowing whether to laugh or get depressed was sustained throughout the whole book.

This is presented in the form of an educational book for children, and since the content couldn't be further away from that demographic, it's doubly funny to see "helpful" diagrams, maps, games and illustration to help the reader understand a little better this wonderful but deeply flawed thing we call Democracy.

Highly recommended. Read with an open mind!
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America (The Book) is the most elaborate satire you will ever see of a civics text. I found myself marveling over the detail and the amazing amount of work that must have gone into producing something so original.
It would be easy to write such a satire without having a profound understanding of the weaknesses of American government processes and leaders. But America (The Book) is blessed with writers who obviously know their history and subject well. As a result, for those who do not know American government and history very well, this book will be a real eye-opener.
American democracy has achieved a near-religious status in American culture, and it's very healthy to have some air taken out of the pomposity that often surrounds that kind of awe. Our system's greatest strength is that it happens to be better than the alternatives . . . but has plenty of room for improvement. I applaud the authors and designers of this book for creating a book model that will undoubtedly spawn many look-alikes focused on other subjects. All of that will be to the good.
At its best, the book is both witty and insightful. At its worst, it is mindlessly profane to no purpose and panders to the lowest common denominator (such as the extensive use of sexual and bathroom humor). Unfortunately, the profanity and pandering dominate the wit. The authors clearly have the talent to have produced a book that was virtually all wit . . . but elected not to do so. That's a shame.
The Foreword by Thomas Jefferson raises the reader's hopes. It's a brilliant satire.
But the book quickly falls down in chapter 1 with a not very thrilling section on Democracy before America. The founding of America is more history than most people will want to read a satire of.
The sections on the president, Congress and the judiciary are average and predictable.
The book is best in its look at campaigns, elections and the media. Those sections are ruthlessly bright and leave their subjects headless without drawing any obvious blood.
The Future of Democracy section is disconnected from reality a bit too much for my taste. The Rest of the World chapter feels like filler material.
The final section on the Bush-Kerry campaign is genuinely funny and almost worth the price of the book by itself.
Some people have told me that they couldn't get through the first two chapters at first. If you are having that problem, jump ahead to chapters 6 and 7 . . . and then come back. You'll probably enjoy the book more that way.
My favorite parts of the book came in brief sections where Samantha Bee briefly contrasts the American approach to that of Canada. The observations are intelligent, well-chosen, focused and beautifully presented. These are fascinating commentaries on the U.S. and Canada that speak volumes in just a few words. Brilliant work!
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on 4 December 2015
Found this hard to read as a non-american, the humour makes it confusing as to what is a joke and what is the truth. Sure it's more funny to an american though.
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on 24 November 2013
It's a good book, but a little boring. Read it very slowly.
Not so funny as expected, but well written and interesting were and there.
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on 11 April 2015
If you take the joke at face value (a USA school history book with suitable amendments and comments) it's fine.
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