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Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al…
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Al Franken, Giant of the Senate (2017)

by Al Franken

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Al Franken is a funny man who is intelligent. He cares about his constituents. Franken doesn't suffer fools lightly, and I enjoy his well-informed no BS approach to revealing that the Emperor has no clothes. ( )
  MNTreehugger | Oct 20, 2017 |
Let's begin by stating what this book isn't. If you're looking for a laugh-a-minute memoir, this won't quite fit the bill. Some readers might conclude that Franken has tempered his humor a bit for this literary work, just as he did upon his arrival on Capitol Hill. Still, his wry humor and comedic spin provides more than enough chuckles as the author recounts his budding career as a senator. Franken provides behind-the-scenes insights into congressional tug-of-wars involving everything from healthcare reform and campaign finance reform, to climate change and media consolidation. One of the most interesting sections of the book is served up right at the start as Franken traces his roots in comedy, his adventures on Saturday Night Live and his transition from a comedian to an elected official. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Oct 4, 2017 |
Interesting, angry, (funny, but not as funny as you would think) and ultimately hopeful, this was an inspiring read. ( )
  dcoward | Oct 2, 2017 |
Reading this book reminds me that you can both be a good and competent politician (which is quite an accomplishment) and still fail to further meaningful work. In particular, what I'm speaking to here is that, although Franken has pushed forward a number of perfectly fine bills, such as on therapeutic dogs for veterans, he hasn't made any real progress on the climate change front, despite the fact that he reiterated the existential importance of this numerous times throughout the text. One poignant simile people use to illustrate a lack of prioritization: "like reorganizing the deck chairs on the Titanic."

You might say I'm being unfair to him; "even senators aren't gods." Maybe. But I don't think so. We all have a responsibility to put ourselves to a highest and best use, as discerned by reflecting on our values and vocation. I don't think Franken has yet found this vocation in his life as a politician.

One missing component seems to involve his insecurities surrounding his primary asset—his sense of humor. These are weird times. Trump's election should have dispelled any sense of normality. And yet, for whatever reason, Franken still seems to feel that he needs to "uphold the honor of the office." I think that's pompous, conservative, and irresponsible. Franken should be using whatever tools are at his disposal to accomplish his aims—first a foremost, a biting sense of humor, which he should be deploying without remorse.

I'd like to add that I don't think everyone should believe global warming is our most pressing issue—I don't. But Franken said he does, and I find it disappointing that his actions as an elected leader don't reflect this sentiment. This sort of inconsistency leads to impotence.

Additionally, I was also disappointed by Fraken's partisanship: "democrats are good, republicans are bad." This false dichotomy lacks the nuanced understanding that both parties dominantly fall within an extremist ideology known "neoliberalism." That this kind of political analysis wasn't once brought up during the pages of this text speaks to Franken's naïveté. He didn't really even talk about about Bernie (although this would just be the easiest point of entry for such a discussion, and not mandatory). He's not seeing the forest for the trees in the realm of social theory.

Look, maybe progressives find a book like this cathartic during these difficult times, and that's fine. But we can't stop there, and our senators definitely can't stop there. Now is a time for grand vision, stalwart resolve, and decisive action. ( )
  willszal | Sep 29, 2017 |
Al Franken review shis path to his present position as senator from Minn. Interesting read, with some humor thrown in. The end was not particularly strong, but well worth the read. ( )
  addunn3 | Sep 24, 2017 |
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Al Frankenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Franken, AlNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I was born in the house I built myself with my own two hands.
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