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Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
Global Village Idiot
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on 19 July 2015
Very funny
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on 22 October 2014
Quite funny.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 August 2006
Global Village Idiot is a collection of articles written by John O'Farrell between April 1999 and June 2001, as published in the Guardian and Observer newspapers. O'Farrell himself sits on the left of the Labour party and is quite critical of anything that might be accused of being supportable by any other politicl partyby the Conservative party.

O'Farrell's focus of abuse is broad... world policy, domestic policy, the countryside and of course the Conservative party. He explains in very direct terms why he is right and everyone else is wrong. And herein lies my problem with this book... it's basically a rant of O'Farrell's views of how the world should be - power to the Unions, high taxes etc. Don't get me wrong - everyone is entitled to their views but I would have hoped that a writer whose past works include Spitting Image and Have I Got News For You would actually have the ability to write something of interest to a broader range of readers than just someone with their political views.

Beyond that, the topics are not particularly interesting. The book doesn't give a view of the nation at the turn of the millennium.... It tells the thought process of someone complaining during the course of the millennium, a timeframe which isn't actually of much relevance at all to any of the rantings. Will I be reading O'Farrell again? Well, definitely not reprints of his journalistic output (perhaps this review could be applied to most journalist reprint books), but maybe his full books will be somewhat more enjoyable.
2 people found this helpful
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on 22 October 2001
I bought this book from the airport on the way off for a weeks holiday. (I had already read 'The Best A Man Can Get' & didn't stop laughing.) I bought 'Things Can Only Get Better' to take with me but couldn't resist reading 'Global Village Idiot' first. It too made me laugh out loud many, many times - which must have looked odd when I was sitting on my own in the airport departure lounge & on my sunbed next to the pool. My husband couldn't wait for me to finish it & I already have a couple of people who will want to read it after me. Not only is it a VERY funny book, but is also a fascinating reminder of some of the events that have occurred during the last couple of years (many of which I had forgotten). It is a kind of historical diary - looking at the events through the 'humourous eyes' of O'Farrell. I hope that John is writing some more books as I don't want to have to wait too long to read something that makes me laugh till I cry. Excellent!
39 people found this helpful
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on 7 September 2007
A collection of columns from The Guardian, this book is mostly funny, though of course it is dated. Moreover, after you've read 40 or 50 columns you DO realise his humour uses the same formula (make a statement then contradict it) so some of the gags do become a bit guessable.

Like all his other works it ONLY offers humour, though of course as it is not a proper novel in the story-telling definition we can excuse him (this time) for not providing plot, characters or descriptions! It'a also written in the first-person, again like most of his other works.

The problems are that if you aren't up on current affairs you won't remember the stories he is telling here, so much of it will be lost on you. And all the humour is politically-based, so if you hate politics you won't like this! (eg lots of anti GW Bush stuff.) The humour is fine but it's a bit more diluted and predictable than his 'Things Can Only Get Better' book. Yet it isn't rubbish as some reviewers have stated.

Just remember, if you read this and then consider trying his proper novels, beware: you don't get plot, real characters or vivid descriptions in those either . . .

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on 1 January 2008
I really enjoyed this selection of articles which were written before the Iraq war. Having read it recently it was quite uncanny some of the comments and warnings made by John O'Farrell. Pity Tony Blair did not heed them or perhaps he never read them.
3 people found this helpful
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on 9 January 2002
This book was a real let down. I thought Things Can Only get Better and The Best a Man Can Get were both excellent, and had been eagerly looking forward to reading this collection. Part of the attraction of Things Can Only Get Better was that, despite the staunchness of John O'Farrell's own political views, it was a book those of other (and as in my own case no particular) political alliegances, could enjoy. This was for two reasons - firstly because he nailed his colours firmly to the mast as a political activist, rather than as an absolute arbiter of right and wrong. More importantly, there was a touch of humility, and you were left with the feeling that over time his mind had broadened into accepting that perhaps there were other valid views. This proves comprehensively not to be the case in this offering. Over the course of the articles, O'Farrell rants against anyone who does not share his particular view, whether it be on domestic politics, world affairs, religion, the countryside, or most of all anyone who wants to take a pop at anything the current Labour Government is doing. Rather than simply using his undoubted wit to present his view, he seems too often to feel the need to dismiss anyone who does not share it as worthy of nothing but his contempt... What a pity from an author whith such obvious talent.
21 people found this helpful
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on 28 November 2009
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on 20 October 2009
Regardless of your own politics, it is a very dry, witty and well worth read
One person found this helpful
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