Title: Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One
Author: Zev Chafets
Genre: Biography/Current Events
Verdict: Worth your time no matter your politics.
It's no secret that I'm a fan of Rush Limbaugh. I agree with him more often than not, though I'll be the first to say he's not a role model (interesting that he himself declares this, as recorded by Chafets in the book.) My mom listened to him when I was a kid, right around the time Bill Clinton got elected in 1992. His ideas and humor are the reason I ever started to give a crap about politics.
If all you ever learned about Rush Limbaugh comes from his radio show, you don't know the whole picture. Ditto if you listen to his rivals, or the news. Zev Chafets seriously does his homework in this book, and there's stuff in here I could never have guessed about Rush. It's brutally honest, far from an attempt to cast him in a positive or negative light--the kind of non-fiction I love to read. The attention to accuracy covers his rise to radio fame just as much as the facts surrounding his drug addiction for the last decade or more. Here are just a few things I learned from the book that I never knew, and this after listening to Rush for two decades:
--How and why he didn't serve in Vietnam
--How he got his start in radio, and where it went from there (all I knew was that it was the only career he wanted, aside from aviation)
--His family's thoughts on his role in modern politics
--The goings-on in fall of 2003 when he was busted for acquiring and using prescription drugs illegally
--His personal rules on involvement in the election process as a media figure
Some of these things are tidbits I could have guessed at, but it was interesting to see it from someone's POV other than Rush's own. Chafets was respectful without trying to dress him up or down.
I had a Government teacher once who was a Democrat, and he was very adamant about encouraging his students to make up their own minds about values and issues. I remember the day he did a segment on Limbaugh, showing a few clips from his defunct early-90's TV show. All he said was "Watch these and decide what you think about him." The clips were common fare for Rush, showing him act about the way he always does. And of course, the students had varying opinions on him.
Chafets' book approaches the subject of Limbaugh's life with that same objectivity. If you know nothing about him, this is the book to initiate you. If you love him, you'll learn something new. If you hate him, you'll learn LOTS of somethings new. Give it a whirl.
Caveat: there is sporadic profanity near the end of the book, usually direct quotes from Rush Limbaugh and James "Bo Snerdley" Golden, from when they're off the microphones. Just so you know.