by Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow is a popular and superb MSNBC who has the research horsepower at her command to undertake a book project. Blowout, however, is not constructed as a book. Let me explain.

If you are a regular watcher of <i>The Rachel Maddow Show</i> you will be very used to the “A Block” monologue with which she opens the show. Typically 20 or so minutes long, Rachel goes in depth into some story or another that is (or often is not) connected to the news of the day.

Quite often she puts excellent historical background behind what she reports during the rest of the show. The show includes several 5 minute segments which may or may not be connected to the opening monologue.

Unlike a TV newscast, a book typically has a theme that begins somewhere, tells a story, and ends somewhere. Blowout is constructed more like a news show than a book and given the often-endless natures of Rachel’s monologues it can be heavy going.

Many of the stories in Blowout are interesting and useful in explaining where one part or another of the economic and political world is succeeding, failing, or cheating. But any hope I had that Rachel would find a thread and pull it through these loosely connected, often disparate stories, was dashed by the time I was a quarter through the book.

The book could be salvaged by reconstructing it so that groups of stories which are related could be put together with an opening and closing essay, but that wasn’t done.

On another note, the casual use of slangy English language constructs is annoying not because they are casual and slangy but because they are inconsistent. If you’re going to speak New York hip, keep it the same all the way through. Sorry, my bit of pique . . .

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