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America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  77,976 Ratings  ·  1,356 Reviews
Jon Stewart, host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show, and his coterie of patriots, deliver a hilarious look at American government.

American-style democracy is the world's most beloved form of government, which explains why so many other nations are eager for us to impose it on them. But what is American democracy? In America (The Book), Jon Stewart and Th

Hardcover, 228 pages
Published by Allen Lane (first published May 18th 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jason Koivu
Sep 22, 2009 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy, humor
America (The Book) is not the Daily Show, but it's damn close.

This is one of those cases where it might seem like a good idea to listen to the audiobook and hear the actors' deliveries in order to mimic the feeling of watching the tv show as much as possible. However, then you'd miss out on the high school textbook mock-up layout and that's missing half the point.

A Citizen's Guid to Democracy Inaction is modeled after a civics class text replete with horrible study guides, misguided questions,
Jan 04, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: resident aliens studying for citizenship
I really associate this book with the lead-up to and outcome of the last presidential election, and so while I remember really enjoying this a lot at the time I read it, every time I look at it now I get a heavy, sick feeling deep in my bowels, and I kind of feel like killing myself. It makes me flash back to riding the train around for work on November 3, 2004 with one of the most soul-crushing, emotionally annihilating hangovers I've ever had in my life. I remember staring at an excerpt of Yea ...more
J.G. Keely
I know Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, and Colbert are more honest and reliable news sources than the rest of the media, I just don't believe it.

Ironically, it is that same gap between knowledge and belief that has resulted in this sad state.

the reactionary, opinionated pundits keep talking down to these little basic-cable comedy shows, but the fact that their feathers are so ruffled shows that they are afraid, and that they consider this to be as serious as the rest of us.

Why is Stewart the journa
Feb 13, 2011 Sofia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Published on my book blog.

I'm a big fan of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, but for some reason I'd never felt curious to read any of their books until this year. I considered starting with Earth (the book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race, but thought I'd go through this older one first.

I have to admit, when I started I was a bit taken aback. I don't know what I expected, but the first chapter ("Democracy before America") was written with such an unapologetic disregard for History that I cou
Mike Hankins
Oct 07, 2011 Mike Hankins rated it it was ok
I must admit, I’m quite a fan of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. In a sea of ridiculous immature and unethical news reporting brought to us by the big corporations, Stewart is not only hilarious, but often offers key insight. It is sad to me that a comedy show, brought to us by the same network that thought prank-calling puppets was funny, has risen to be one the most insightful sources of news and politics. That said, America (the Book) held great promise for me. Unfortunately, it fails to delive ...more
Pris robichaud
Jan 04, 2009 Pris robichaud rated it it was amazing

I Laughed, I Cried,, I Wept A Little, and Laughed Again, 19 Nov 2006

"This book has many fine qualities, but its cavalier disregard for accuracy of quotations, its insufficient scholarly documentation, its often quixotic use of illustrations, and its frequent usage of inappropriate language and word choices all detract from its virtues. With just a little more attention to detail, (well, in some cases, considerably more attention to detail), this book would stand as a first-rate addition to the
Apr 21, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
This was a quick read, I hate politics and find it boring and full of nonsensical bull****, but I enjoyed this book and even though it is full of slanderous lies I feel I have learnt quite a bit. It also raises some important questions like

"If con is the opposite of pro, then is congress the opposite of progress?"

Most interesting to me was the layout of the judicial system, from lower courts to the Supreme court, all previous knowledge on this subject was gained from watching Boston Legal, I now
Aug 18, 2015 Rand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have lost track of the number of pristine copies of this book I have found on the side of the road.

I have also lost track of the total quantity of marijuana I have broken up upon the pristine copy of this book I decided to take home.

I have also lost track of where said copy ever went. It's really the ideal surface/size for all your joint-rolling needs.

And no, I never bothered to read the damn book. We were too busy getting high and watching True Blood or pretending to read Winterson.

Winter, s
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
This book taught me many things. It taught me that American History and Government is very boring. It taught me that even an hilarious parody of American History and Government cannot make the subject interesting. It taught me that it's not easy to get a good posed picture of an eagle. It also taught me that I am even more ignorant of popular culture than I think I am because there were some jokes I didn't get. I also learned that Stephen Colbert can look adorable in almost anything, even sadoma ...more
Sep 25, 2008 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio version of this book on both legs of a cross-country trip. I'll warn others who are thinking of doing the same that you will either be stifling your laughter to not bother your neighbors, or you will be laughing out loud and looking mighty strange. Hearing Jon Stewart's narration of the text, with his perfect timing, made this a very enjoyable listen. Some of the humor just came from crassness i.e. the thought of Patrick Henry calling someone "fucknuts," but for the most ...more
Apr 28, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
If you are at all familiar with The Daily Show With John Stewart, then you pretty much know what this book will be like. Two notes:

(1) The book is also a parody of school textbooks, from the obvious (and great) "Classroom Activities" at the end of each chapter to more subtle touches like the bold text used for key vocabulary words.

(2) There is a fair amount of profanity, sometimes used well but sometimes a jarring attempt at a cheap laugh.
Sep 20, 2007 Suz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture
I got this as a gift because my friend knew I love Jon Stewart. If I had picked it up at a bookstore and perused a few pages I wouldn't have bought it. It was ok and at times humorous but it didn't really add anything to my life. I still watch his show here and there of course, but I wanted more from his book.
Dec 31, 2016 Laurie rated it really liked it
Lol. This short "history" of democracy and all "about" our democratic institution is accurately hilarious in a way only the Daily Show writers could produce... And so it's irreverent and sometimes vulgar too.
Jun 27, 2007 Mattomic rated it really liked it
Try to do yourselves a favor and get your hands on the audiobook version. While the experience is quite different in the absence of the visuals (a BIG part of the book's humor), there's something to be said for hearing all of the DS's original cast reading passages of the book aloud. Most hilarious is Stephen Colbert's lessons for teachers/quiz questions at the end of each chapter. The audiobook made a long trip to Austin from Dallas that much faster! Beware! It might get you laughing so hard yo ...more
Apr 20, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
Full Disclosure--I am addicted to The Daily Show. When I miss the show, I can be found at my desk at work sneaking a peek at the internet repeat. So this was absolutely the book for me. A totally entertaining look at the "citizen's guide of democracy inaction". Lots of moments when I found myself laughing out loud. That wouldn't be so bad, but again I was at my desk. I really need to get a grip on my behavior. Loved this book.
Dec 11, 2007 Becky rated it did not like it
I'm a big fan of The Daily Show, and was very happy when I received this book as a gift. But, I actually couldn't do much more than flip through it, after trying to read the first 20 pages or so and being miserably disappointed.

In my opinion, Jon Stewart's wit, sarcasm and wry insight just doesn't translate well off the small screen and into print.
Dec 12, 2007 Shannon marked it as to-read
Shelves: own, lulz
I bought this book for five dollars from Borders. Yay for me. I started reading a bit, it's pretty hilarious. I love the faux textbook-esque style of it. I opened it up to a random page and read under a "Discussion questions" section "List the top 100 tv shows you would rather watch than the evening news". Hahahhhaha. Awesome.
Jackie "the Librarian"
Sep 20, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Liberal leftists like me
Shelves: humor
Very funny, sad but true look at our screwed up, dysfunctional government. I only give it 4 stars because the delivery of the humor by my inner voice wasn't nearly as good as Jon Stewart's on the show.
When does the movie version come out?
Sarah Bauer
I'm only to chapter 4, but I'm LOVING this. A: It's good to be reminded of our past B: reading the history of our country with Stewart's dry, sarcastic tone is AWESOMELY entertaining. Very fun.
Nov 13, 2008 April rated it did not like it
I was all for this book. It was VERY funny and quite entertaining, until I saw pics of all supreme court justices faces photoshopped onto naked bodies. (Shudder)
Reid Harbin
Jul 01, 2008 Reid Harbin rated it really liked it
Brilliant satire of a broken system. Some parts are just insanely funny
Aug 20, 2008 Cindy rated it did not like it
Love the show. Didn't enjoy the book. Just not funny.
In the wake of everyone talking about people living in "bubbles" in the wake of the 2016 US Presidential election, I have to say that this book isn't going to puncture or cross any bubbles. That said, I found it an engaging and amusing very brief summary of the "basics" sprawling topics of US history and politics. For me it was a general refresher of many things that sounded vaguely familiar from school, but which I should really know better/have paid more attention to. Although this is definite ...more
Will Crim
Jun 10, 2010 Will Crim rated it it was amazing
This book, not to sound like one of those who constantly praise every book they read, was the funniest book I have ever read. And another plus to reading this book was that I felt smart doing so. I love political satyre especially from the mind of Jon Stewart. In the very beginning John or apparently the corpse of Thomas Jefferson writes a foreword to the book. My favorite line in the foreward was "Sally may not like it, but as we used to say in the back parlours of 18th-century Paris, 'tough t ...more
Feb 24, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A humorous and satirical look at our country, the ideals it was based on, those who founded it, and how it compares to other areas of the world.
Unless you are already an expert on America, democracy and everything pertaining to it, you will find yourself wondering whether the information contained in this book is the truth, or a joke. The answer to that question is, "yes." I had to resort to an internet search more often than I care to admit, but I found that I learned more by being prompted by
May 29, 2007 Sammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b-the-good
I love the Daily Show and I loved this book, which literally had me laughing out loud. Which was sort of embarassing because it was at work. Written out in the style of your typical high school history text book, the book is engaging, and oddly truthful in many ironic ways.

The one problem I found in this book was that it tended to drag a bit in a few parts, specifically when sections became really fact heavy and didn't have that much humor in them. Part of the reason people want to buy/read this
Tristan LeMon
Apr 09, 2014 Tristan LeMon rated it it was amazing
The book, "America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction", is a very interesting and humorous book that relates mainly to America's Politics and Economy. I enjoyed reading this book because I am a fan of History and I enjoy watching the news every night to learn what is happening in America and also in foreign countries. This book allows the reader to gain knowledge about our economy and political system, but in a different way then watching the news. Jon Stewart reveals information to his re ...more
Unintentionally procrastinated for a month on writing a review for this book, so it's definitely no longer fresh in my mind.

I can't help but compare this to Stephen Colbert's first book, I am America, which is so thick with satirical irony that if I listen too closely it makes my head hurt. America (The Book), in contrast, is laced with satire as well as just plain silliness, making it a lighter, more enjoyable read. I particularly loved the "educational" format of the book, particularly the di
Nov 15, 2009 Julia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, humor
A very funny, very profane satire of a history/ civics textbook written by the staff of the fake news show “The Daily Show.” This is my favorite (and the only serious) part.
“A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy. It serves to inform the voting public on matters relevant to its well - being. Why they’ve stopped doing that is a mystery. I mean, 300 camera crews outside a courthouse to see what Kobe Bryant is wearing when the judge sets a hearing date,
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Jon Stewart (born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz) is an American comedian, satirist, actor, writer, Pundit, and producer. He is best known as the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and for his political satire.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See authors with similar names here.

Stewart started as a stand-up comedian, but later branched out to
More about Jon Stewart...

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“If "con" is the opposite of pro, then isn't Congress the opposite of progress? Or did we just fucking blow your mind?!?” 334 likes
“So, is there hope for a truly democratic Africa? Long answer: Only if continent-wide improvements in education, human rights and public health are coupled with an aggressive and far-sighted debt-relief program that breaks the cycle of subsistence farming and urban squalor. Short answer: No.” 59 likes
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