C&L Book Chat With Will Bunch, Author Of 'The Backlash'


Will Bunch is one of the best reporters I know, and his new book, "The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama" is his best work to date. I've known Will for years -- first, through his work as a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, then through his blog "Attytood" and now through his work as a Media Matters fellow.

"The Backlash" is an engrossing, funny and disturbing read. Will has the rare knack of writing about people's beliefs without attacking them personally. The book reminded me favorably of Jess Walters' book about Ruby Ridge, which managed to convey the heartbreaking tragedy of Ruby Ridge -- without canonizing any of the participants.

"The Backlash", of course, is about a different kind of tragedy: An entire class of American citizens whose fear over a changing country has led them to some irrational, paranoid beliefs and made them uniquely susceptible to the sales tactics of right-wing hucksters. Will manages to make these people likable and engaging -- but without giving an inch on the glaring factual inaccuracies of their beliefs.

I especially enjoy the chronological structure of the book, because it reads like a detective novel. Who are these people? Why do they hate the President? What are they so afraid of? By the time you get done reading "The Backlash," you'll have a much better idea. Highly recommended.

You can read a Salon excerpt of the book here; reviews here, here, here and here.

Welcome, Will Bunch, to Crooks and Liars.


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