Straight Talk from the Heartland

I really don’t want to write this, but I said I would. I read Ed Schultz’s Straight Talk from the Heartland over the past week or so. I was expecting a lot from this book, probably unfairly. Ed Schultz is a talk radio guy from North Dakota, and is apparently a rising star in the progressive talk radio world (it’s a small world, I know). Unfortunately, I’d never heard of him. But, from the info I saw before I got the book, it looked like just what I was looking for: a book about progressive values for conservatives. I’ve been dying for one, and it just doesn’t exist (that I know of… if you know of one, please clue me in). Books from authors on both sides of the ideological divide are usually cheerleading affairs for their own kind. From Al Franken to Sean Hannity, they’re not trying to convert anyone.
I was hoping this was the one. It’s not. It’s so not, it’s not even a good cheerleading book. I didn’t learn anything new from this book other than “Big Eddie” has a healthy ego and played some college football. His writing style is probably the same as his speaking style: a Limbaugh-ian false modesty wrapped in short, punchy sentances. It works great on radio. In a book, it makes for painful reading.
Like I said, maybe I’m expecting too much from this book, and this review is a reflection of my dashed expectations. But, at its core, this just isn’t a very good read. It takes a while to get started, and well, feels like it never really does. If you’re a listener of his show, you’ll probably like it because you can imagine him speaking. Actually, this would probably be a pretty good book-on-tape. But, compared to Al Franken or Joe Conason’s books (my two faves), this is junior varsity material.

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