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3.50  ·  Rating details ·  211 ratings  ·  52 reviews
The Primary Colors of 2014- an explosive novel exposing the inner workings of conservative talk radio and campaign politics from New York Times bestselling author and one of America's leading talk-radio hosts and political commentators, Michael Smerconish.

Stan Powers finds himself at a crossroads. Poised to take the last step in his unlikely ascent to the top of conservat
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Cider Mill Press
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  211 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Cathy DuPont
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just to make things clear, I’m a Yellow Dog Democrat. I watch more than my fair share of political programing and follow politics at all levels of government. I have a Charlie Crist (Democratic candidate for governor of Florida) bumper sticker on my car along with a “Think Green, Vote Blue” sticker.

Florida is now considered a purple state from a red state most of the time in national and state elections. It’s in the water we drink, we change our minds like we change our under…oh, nevermind but
Cathy DuPont
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm so damned mad I could spit nails...I wrote a review but it's disappeared. Hopefully I wrote in Word and I won't have to rewrite.

It was so of my best work, too. Lots of talk about woodies. And not like the Beach Boys autos that traveled well with surf boards.

My review was hiding!


Just to make things clean and clear, I’m a Yellow Dog Democrat. I watch more than my fair share of political programing and follow politics at all levels of government. I have a Charlie
May 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy, fiction, politics
Michael Smerconish has made a national name for himself through the radio and television, and now he's offered up the written word with the novel, "Talk." We live in a cynical age that would give Jefferson Smith nightmares, but even by today's standards "Talk" focuses on the seedy side of modern American politics.

Our hero is Stan Powers (real name, Stanislaw Pawlawsky), political yakker along Florida's I-4 corridor. Stan is as surprised as anyone that he talks about politics for a living as he g
Helen Dunn
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I started listening to Michael Smerconish in the summer of 2000 trying to get my brain wrapped around the upcoming election. He's a super entertaining talk show host who could address serious political issues just as well as he could discuss lifestyle points like if Christmas lights should be white or multicolored. As his career progressed his time slot changed and my listening interests shifted more to podcasts than political radio but I was always glad when he succeed and got a more national r ...more
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this in a first-reads giveaway.

To my surprise, I really liked this book. I'm not really into politics much and thought that this might be a boring read but I was wrong. It made me think twice about the sports talk show I listen to daily. The protagonist (Stan) almost has a Bukowski vibe to him. I probably would of rated this a 4 until I read the last chapter. The ending put a smile on my face. I'm really glad I won this.
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Stanislaw Pawlowsky, aka Stan Powers, is a 40-something radio talk show host – a Republican conservative of course – in Tampa, Florida. Due to several quirks of fate – a Democratic President decides not to seek a second term and Florida, with its I-4 corridor through Tampa, (Stan’s radio audience), thus becomes the critical battleground in the upcoming election - our man Stan finds himself at the center of the US political/media universe. Sweet serendipity for Stan, who wants to go “national” wi ...more
Maya Hu
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well-written and pretty interesting, regardless of your political affiliations or age.
I read it quickly, and gave it to my grandfather. He is about 1/4 through it and he is also enjoying it although he "doesnt appreciate the language" but I dont remember there being bad language so I dont know what to say about that.

Merged review:

Well-written and pretty interesting, regardless of your political affiliations or age.
I read it quickly, and gave it to my grandfather. He is about 1/4 through it an
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Maybe Smerconish should get a ghost writer like O'Reilly does (although his books are even worse). This book was totally boring and I'm into talk radio. But the "inside baseball" that he does with this book is so boring and amazingly distracting. The characters are shallow and predictable. Our hero has no passion, but is constantly horny. I think that's why he decides to chuck it all at the end so the two women he's dealing with throughout the book will have sex with him. Shows how non-committed ...more
Vlady Peters
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like a book about American football, this book about American nomination selection of Presidents, has a language and rhyme and reason which is clearer to an insider than an outsider. Even if in my case I can boast one American history subject as part of my government major. And at this stage of my life I don’t even remember what that subject was. But it was more likely about passing bills – or not passing bills. I seem to remember something called filibuster which is extended speaking in order t ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read from first-time novelist Smerconish. It's really a commentary about current talk radio and cable news wrapped in a story about a talk radio host who gains fame. The main characters are fictitious but the environment is real and it's a mostly true-to-life setting for political campaigning and partisan discourse today.

I liked the many musical references (which Smerconish often notes on radio) and the many real-life references of a man who grew up in my era. I especially liked the
George Heidemark
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Michael Smerconish a quite balanced and even handed news analyst has written a fine novel about our ideological and silo divided times. His main character is a conservative talk show host: Stan Powers who plays an oversized role in a critical election. The ending is great, although in our partisan times I don’t know if it is likely but this is a timely and worthwhile read. If you are obsessed with politics and you enjoy talk radio this is a must read.
Michael Ross
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who wants to see how and why our politics are so polarized ought to read this book. Mr. Smerconish does an incredible job in showing how we got to where we are today while still providing an entertaining fictional story.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Poorly written, narrator sounds like an uninspired 15 year old, never missing a chance for a foul description. Too long to get to the point, which didn't matter anyway.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I needed 2 more chapters.. it’s almost like he knew who would run in 2016..
Mike Cuthbert
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a challenging book for me to read because I spent many years as a talk radio host and this purports to be about talk radio. I use “purport” carelessly, perhaps. Smerconish writes as one of the few not totally ideological talk persons around, working on Sirius Satellite Radio and CNN. The hero of his novel is a local talk guy in Florida, a morning man named Stan Powers (pseudonym). His real name is Stanislaw Pawlowksy and he started his radio career as a classic rock DJ. Like so many of ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Compelling and Provocative, March 12, 2014
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This review is from: Talk: A Novel (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What's this?)

If you are a political junkie with a familiarity of all the tools used to sway votes, this novel will not be a big surprise to you. However, if you do not know the intricacies of talk radio in this country and the overwhelming influence it has, Smerconish gives you a birds-eye view of the industry. And it is an industry; billio
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it
I received an Advance Copy of this book, and, was looking forward to reading it having been a listener to the authors radio show for quite a while. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but, I think I may have liked the book more if I had not been a listener and occasional prop to the author's radio show.

The book has a message, however, anyone with more than a cursory knowledge of the author will already be familiar with this message, and as a result, see where the story is heading.

That d
Diane Kistner
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
When I first started reading this novel by Michael Smerconish (one of my favorite rational conservatives), I was having trouble deciding if it was an actual work of fiction or a thinly disguised reality in which he is actually talking about real people on the national political stage. Early in the book, he throws a lot of "this is fiction" confetti in the reader's face—who is running for what, where, what they look like, who they are married to, what their gender and biases and beliefs are, etc. ...more
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
p.19 He enjoyed guiding the puppeteers who manipulated the marionettes, and drew preverse pleasure from the way the audience reacted to every movement of a limb.
p.99 No need to allow a little substance to get in the way of a good liberal-conservative argument.
p.136 Independent thinking is discouraged
p.229 The truth was irrelevant.

The gist of the plot is a conservative talk show host moving up the media ladder and branching out into syndication and television. There is a clever mix of music and p
Tammie Maloney
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it
First, my star rating should be 3 1/2 if possible. This book will not become a classic; however, the views it contains hopefully reflect where the country really lies politically. This is a thinly veiled work of the author's views which you can hear on a regular basis on Sirius radio in the morning. It confirms what many of us have thought for awhile - talk radio is not much more than modern day Professional Wrestling. It's meant to be entertainment which means the hosts spout what brings in the ...more
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book ... to a point. Smerconish is definitely on familiar ground here and it's clear he knows both the media and political types he's writing about and skewering. He also lays out what I've always kinda suspected: many of the media "thought leaders" don't really believe what they're saying, they're just trying to gin up the base, not to improve the state of our union but to grow their ratings.

What I didn't like was the end. Stan's change of heart was so abrupt! I don't want
Apr 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Thank you to author Michael Smerconish and Goodreads First Reads for the opportunity to review this book.

This novel read like a transcript from a conservative talk show, which I suppose was the author's intention. Aside from a few insightful moments, I felt as though I were reading from a right wing encyclopedia, which I did not find entertaining at all. I found the supposed protagonist to be pretentious and wholly unlikeable, and the ending was disappointingly anticlimactic.

The one highlight
John Kaufmann
Nothing great, but fun. The protagonist lays out his analysis of what's wrong with the current political situation toward the end, which bears considerable resemblance to the policy prescriptions laid out by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in his recent book Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution: 1) hyper-partisan districts (gerrymandering); 2) closed primaries; 3) the effect of money; 4) the ideologically-driven media. Of course the story lays the basis fo ...more
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I got this book as part of the Goodreads FirstReads Free Giveaway

So this definitely wasn't my cup of tea.

And I love tea.

I do really enjoy a novel with politics and that sort of intrigue. But this one just didn't do it for me.

The first reason was that I just didn't like the main character very much.

Secondly, the swearing was over the top. Every time I saw a curse word, I lost focus.

Third, I just don't think it was the right time of year for me to read this one. I just haven't been in the mood f
Jul 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I was a little worried that this might end up being boring, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was actually pretty fast paced. There's really only one fully-developed character but he is believable and human enough to make up for the one-dimensionality of all the others. I'm not sure if I would read this again or not. It's good right now because it's current. Quite a few people I know would enjoy this story so I may pass on my copy or recommend to them.

This review is based on a free copy obtaine
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I liked the basic story line of this book. And while it was about a conservative talk show host, I didn't find it overly politicized.
Unfortunately, I found the characters to be under developed, including the main character. I found him to be egotistical and an overall jerk, all along thinking that the author didn't mean to portray him that way.
I'm not typically turned off by an occasional curse word, but this book had many, thrown in at random and unnecessary moments.

I received this book for
May 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really enjoy Michael Smerconish on the radio and on tv and was therefore expecting to enjoy this book as well. In fairness, I suppose it's possible that one of the reasons for my disappointment was that I listened to it and loathed the narrators style. I was also not a fan of how the female characters were written. There was no depth at all into any of the characters but most notably with regard to the women. The entire book just seemed so superficial. The only aspect of this story that I foun ...more
Apr 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I won a copy of this book from a Goodreads contest. A conservative radio talk show host in Florida can affect the presidential election except he doesn't really believe everything he says on the radio. There was an interesting plot line of a presidential candidate who might be a scientologist but it is not fully developed. I could see the ending coming where, of course, the host has a change of heart.
Nov 15, 2014 rated it liked it
"Read" this one as an audiobook.

This is a stereotypical liberal caricature of a right-wing talk radio host who doesn't really believe the nonsense that his listeners do. A few minutes in, I figured I would get too annoyed with it and not finish it. However, I surprised myself by actually enjoying it. I don't know if it's the delivery by the reader or something in the jaded-yet-optimistic narrating, but I might even go so far as to read something by this author again.
Daryl Altman
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Talk radio listeners and politics junkies
I listen to a fair amount of talk radio. This book rings true, and it's entertaining. One of my favorite talkers, Alex Bennett, always reminds listeners that talk radio is about entertainment, making money, and keeping his job; and not necessarily about any particular opinion or agenda. I believe that. As I was reading this book, I kept thinking about the theme of Kurt Vonnegut's "Mother Night": "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
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