THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA by John K. Wilson

THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA

Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An inadequate effort to storm Fortress Limbaugh.

Rush Limbaugh could build that fortress out of dollar bills if he so chose. After all, writes Illinois-based academic Wilson (President Barack Obama: A More Perfect Union, 2009. etc.), he makes “more than $15,000 every minute he’s on the air”—or “more than the average American worker’s annual wage.” “Worker,” of course, is a socialist word in Limbaugh’s stern lexicography; we have associates and employees and colleagues, he insists, but not “workers” or, heaven forbid, a proletariat. Wilson ranges widely in his quest for damning evidence about the vastly wealthy blowhard, but what he turns up is seldom news. Too often it comes in the form of psychologizing without a license, as when he limns a childhood under the dominion of a harsh and “ideologically inflexible” father that Limbaugh never resolved, lacking the education that might have allowed him to diagnose his own soul sickness. All that may be true, and certainly Limbaugh isn’t the only right-winger to detest education and the educated, but it seems a bit of a stab in the dark. Better defended, though shrill, is the author’s depiction of Limbaugh as a neo-Confederate racist, for which he was denied ownership of a pro-football franchise by other owners, and the dissection of his unschooled but still influential opinions on everything from geopolitics to global warming. Wilson’s tone is usually indignant, which becomes tiresome. Yet, outrage notwithstanding, it would be more useful to account for Limbaugh as one of a long line of self-appointed moralists on the prowl for a buck, a Father Coughlin for the Internet Age who represents a very old type of American huckster.

Broad shots at an admittedly broad barn, and doubtless not destined to change any minds.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-61214-6
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2010