Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Overton Window

By Glenn Beck

Qualified Thumbs Up.

The much (self-touted by author) Overton Window, turned out to be a quick read.  It was somewhat entertaining, sometimes suspenseful, mostly well-crafted and purposefully educational.

Mr. Beck has crafted a decent story.  His interesting and diverse characters are well developed and mostly consistent.  There are a few characters who tend to lecture the reader, but this too, is consistent with how Mr. Beck has drawn their personalities.

Because of this "classroom lecture" type quality, however, the story line drags at parts.  The actual suspense and drama part of what Mr. Beck has called a thriller is not a very big part of the story.  The book was reviewed by one of the greats of the political thriller genre, Vince Flynn, as "one of the best thrillers I've read in years."  Poor Mr. Flynn.  I suppose he can't read his own books with the same pleasure we get from them.  If this review by Mr. Flynn would lead you to think The Overton Window might be a similar kind of read to one of Mr. Flynn's books, there is little comparison between this book and those of the Mr. Flynn.  Mr. Beck's purpose, however, encompasses a somewhat broader scope.

I appreciated the fact that Mr. Beck, in his characterizations does not stick to any one variety of those personalities one might label as conservative or liberal or power hungry or extremist or whatever pigeon hole within which one might be unflatteringly viewed.  Each of his characters is unique and multifaceted, as are real people.

The book is well documented and readers are encouraged to do their homework on each of a multitude of issues to which Mr. Beck alludes in his story.

One of Mr. Beck's stated goals is to give a reader tools with which to react to the glut of information we encounter daily; tools to take responsibility for analyzing information that comes our way.  He seems to strongly want readers to avoid the accusation of being led as sheep.  In the afterword,  Mr. Beck gives specific suggestions for following through on this research.  In the story itself the author includes examples of mistakes made by those who don't check their facts.

So although I don't think The Overton Window is a great thriller, it is a good thriller.  But more importantly, it can be used as a launching off point to explore and learn about many subjects in the news these days.  And readers are given some tools to begin that exploration process.

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