Book Review: GUILTY

Guilty by Ann Coulter

Title: Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America
Author: Ann Coulter
Publisher: Crown Focus (2009)

Not Recommended: A smug, self-righteous take on the problem of the “liberal media” that lacks any mercy or understanding of grace.

Before I’d read Guilty, I had sort of a vague, nebulous idea of who Ann Coulter, pop-politic icon, was. I knew she was blonde, skinny, angry, and right wing, often used as a reference point for a contentious personality; “so-n-so makes Ann Coulter look like a peacenick-hippy”, for example. So I took Guilty out of the library to see if she was actually as nasty as is generally accepted.

The short answer is yes, she is.

But this wouldn’t be much of a book review if I ended there, would it?

The book is organized in the basic essay format, which is known as an idea sandwich:

  • assert thesis
  • assert some proofs that will be unpacked in text
  • proof #1
  • proof #2
  • proof #3
  • repeat thesis, citing proofs again, and close.

Her main points are as follows: liberals are noisy and use people to further the liberal agenda, single mothers are the worst people in the world, the “Republican Attack Machine” is a Democrat myth, Obama hangs out with terrorists, Democrats have a double standard concerning ethics, and liberals control most of the media. So as you can see, she’s got a lot of ground to cover. And cover it she does, citing example after example after example after example. In fact, there are so many citations that almost the last 1/4 of the book is bibliography and index. Peppered throughout the book are minor insults, witty remarks, and sarcastic rhetorical questions, which make the book more fun to read than it would have been otherwise.

I was impressed by how Ann was able to maintain such frothy anger page after page. I think if I was that angry for that long, I’d have a heart attack. But for all that rage and fact-touting conviction, I didn’t find her book, well, convincing.

For one, Ann seems to be a person completely without mercy or an understanding of grace. Given her position in political pundit-land, perhaps she has to be. I thought devoting an entire chapter to how single mothers are destroying America was over the top. Yes, studies do show that children fare better in a 2 parent household; as a parent in a 2-parent household, I see this is true. But I also understand that junk happens. People aren’t perfect, and they wouldn’t be perfect if everyone lived in a 2-parent home either.

There are subjects in the book that go on, and on, and on. I skimmed through a few portions because I’d gotten the point already; “OBAMA IS HORRIBLE! I WILL NOW CITE 38 DOCUMENTS TO PROVE IT!” or “BILL CLINTON IS A PERVERT! I WILL NOW CITE 67 DOCUMENTS TO PROVE IT!” or even “SARAH PALIN WAS MALIGNED IN THE MEDIA! I WILL NOW…” well, you get the idea.

Another thing that I’m still trying to figure out is whether Ann Coulter is actually FOR REAL. She just goes so far beyond what’s normal in vitriol that I can’t tell whether she’s playing a character, kind of like when William Shatner plays himself in the Priceline.com commercials. I almost want that to be true, because it’s nice to imagine her coming home after a long day of calling people idiots on TV, greeting a golden retriever at the door and then walking in her english garden while drinking a chamomile tea. This is more appealing than imagining her greeting a pet scorpion and eating broken glass while shooting targets in the backyard, which is kind of what her public persona would suggest.

Finally, Guilty did not win me over. I didn’t finish the book and decide my liberal friends are monsters, and although I do consider myself a conservative on many issues, I would hope that I never express my opinions with the kind of loveless, smug, self-righteous tone that Ann Coulter does.

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  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    I commend the effort of trying to read a book by Coulter. I’m turned off enough by the way she carries herself in interviews and reading her columns that I won’t bother.

    A friend of mine calls Ann Coulter the worst thing to happen to the Republican Party since Watergate, and I think that’s pretty accurate.

  • http://cleverphrasehere.blogspot.com Amber

    Stumbled upon this review from another post. My husband also reviewed this book and came to much the same conclusion: Even if she did have some valid points, they are communicated with such little grace as to make her reader deaf to her…unless they already agreed with her.

  • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

    I’ve really struggled to figure out what Coulter’s trying to do by being so cantankerous. I’m hoping someday someone can fill me in.