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Much more than the usual bits and one-liners in book form.

Smart, funny and slickly designed, Colbert’s sequel to I Am America (2007) does better than similar efforts at capturing a TV comedian’s sensibility on the printed page.

It has become a cottage industry for those who have achieved mass popularity on TV to parlay that success into book-publishing endeavors. The Jon Stewart axis has done this better than most, and in the follow-up to his best-selling debut, Colbert raises the bar, with glossy pages, 3-D glasses, inventive graphics and a text filled with the blowhard, nonsense pomposity that the author both embodies and skewers. “The Real Question is: Are America’s best days behind us?” he asks. “Of course they are, and always have been. We have the greatest history in the history of History. But never forget, our best days are also ahead of us, and always will be. Because America also has the Greatest Future in the history of the Future. It’s our present that is the problem….and always is [sic] be.” On ethnic cuisine: “Honestly, I can’t tell you which Chinese dish I dislike the most: the #41 or the #16. To me, it all tastes like a steaming pile of #2. General Tso should be tried for War Crimes against my colon.” And so on. Areas covered within this manifesto of American Exceptionalism include position papers on jobs, health care, Wall Street and Easy Solutions (the main ones including “Tax cuts,” “Cutting taxes,” and “the encuttifying of our taxular system”). As for those who question America’s primacy in all areas, “Critics love to point out that the American life expectancy of 78 ranks 42nd in the world. But that’s ignoring the current Life Exchange Rate: 1 year in America is worth 10 in some foreign hellhole.” For better and worse, the book should make American readers feel proud to be Americans.

Much more than the usual bits and one-liners in book form.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-446-58397-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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