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Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

Narrated by: Al Franken
Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
5 out of 5 stars (15,244 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author - the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect. It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it. It's a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast. In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Al Franken (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Al Franken fans, rejoice! Franken narrates his latest book in a voice that captures both of his key public personas: current U.S. senator and former humorist. This is a balance that cannot be underestimated, as Franken clarifies at the onset that the Senate requires a level of decorum that most former comedians would find excruciating." ( AudioFile)

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I was reading this when the allegations against Franken came out

Please listen to the book anyway. It gives you a funny and honest review of what it is like to be a progressive in the US Senate right now. Also interesting to hear what the other senators are like. For someone like me who is a progressive going through a rough time with the Trump presidency, this was the shot of tonic I needed to know what to do next. Thanks Senator Franken for your service to our country.

46 of 52 people found this review helpful

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Fabulous book; history, hard politics and lots of laughs

Mr. Franken certainly tells a great story. Through history, personal stories, hard to listen to politics of today, and lots of satirical innuendos we learn about Franken and about our political system of today. I would definitely get the audible version because Mr. Franken reads it and that makes the book!! Fabulous and interesting. Highly recommend it. So sorry he had to resign.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Better than I expected!

listened to this book written by my senator mostly on dog walks in one of the coldest early Minnesota Novembers I can remember; it was such a fun listen and I laughed so often that I forgot all about my frozen face. I'm generally not interested in politics but Franken is an exceptional politician in that he is hilarious, has an interesting background, and knows how to tell a story. He recites a number of anecdotes which made even campaign fundraising and senate squabbles interesting and entertaining.

The book goes back to Franken's early life growing up in New York and then moving to Albert Lea, Minnesota and eventually to St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Even as a grade schooler he was witty and satirical. In second grade after the girls in his grade put on a song and dance performance for the boys, he wrote a "scathing parody" of the girls' show which the boys later presented to the class, and some of the girls cried. Ouch.

The book recounts a number of stories from Franken's SNL and comedian / writer days. Fans of SNL during the 70s, 80s, and 90s will get a kick out of this. He gives the reader and interesting behind-the-scenes look at SNL, and he covers some of the successes and failures of the show during his stint as one of the original writers of the show. He left the show in 1995.

The most interesting parts of the book dealt with his rise in the political arena. He paints a very interesting behind-the-scenes look at what goes in to campaigning and what goes on in the Senate. Being a Minnesotan definitely added to this section, as I remember his campaigns and the intense battle in his first election, which he only won by only 312 votes. He was an unlikely candidate, and in his first election was up against incumbent Norm Coleman, a heavy favorite to win. The campaign got ugly and Coleman ran some pretty mean and unfair ads, one of which made Franken's mother-in-law cry. He talks about his hero and political inspiration, Senator Paul Wellstone, who tragically died in a plane crash in 2002, and who was well known in Minnesota politics as a champion for the everyman. Even today, I still see Wellstone bumper stickers once in a while.

Franken is not your typical polished politician, and sometimes struggled to maintain decorum on the job. His staff had to rein him on occasion, as he would speak his mind or react without thinking first. He is a breath of fresh air from the stereotypical polished, haughty politicians you see all too often on the news or C-SPAN (does anyone even watch this?). In the book he tells it like it is about some of the politicians he works with. He names names and pulls no punches. I thought the chapter devoted to savaging Ted Cruz was a but much, but otherwise found his takes on some of his fellow senators to be interesting.

Overall, this was an excellent book! I highly recommend the audio version, especially to Minnesotans who will remember much of what Franken recounts about his campaigning and senatorial career. Even if you are not a fan of politics this book will provide you with plenty of laughs and insights about our disheartening political system.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Deep Bows to Senator Al Franken

Thank you, Senator Franken, for writing and narrating this timely book. Inspiring, hopeful, funny, courageous!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Hope for America

Entertaining, funny, substantive, heartfelt, inspiring, and a great handbook for progressive activism.

So sad and ironic that Senator Franken resigned, while Trump and his gang of oligarchs continues on pillaging and dividing the country.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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An HONEST politician?? Imagine!

But imagine no more, Al Franken, who endeared himself to us on SNL has endeared himself even deeper to Minnesotans and the entire country by attempting to bring fresh, logical ideas to an otherwise impossible to please arena called politics. Whoda thunk a brilliant hysterically funny comedian could do such a thing, let alone even WANT to. Al's story is compelling, well done and even funny at times (yes really) but wasn't written for that purpose, but more to uncover a little bit of what really goes on behind the scenes and what he was attempting to do to change things for the better, and to call out those who weren't. it is a shame that in light of recent events he was forced to resign from the Senate, this wasn't just a job for him it was his passion to fight for the little guy as well as take on the big dogs. Hopefully he will be remembered for the good things he tried to do to make the world a better place.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Perspective is everything

It is common in this day and age to use litmus test to paint politicians one way or the other. One litmus test that rarely fails is ... is this guy funny or not? Senator Franken without a doubt is funny. A rare quality amongst politicians these days. The early chapters of this book reveal a man that understands comedy often reveals truth better than facts, debates or lofty speeches. The book is riddled with humorous self deprecating stories that truly reveal a man of great character. I honestly wish he lived next-door to me and we could hang out together. How many politicians can you say that about? If you're a political junkie or you are manic depressive about the current state of affairs, please take time to listen to this angst free presentation by a truly great American.Thanks Al, I really needed this book.

55 of 75 people found this review helpful

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  • Nancy
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • 06-08-17

I Fell In Love This Week with Al Franken

It's true. I fell in love this week with Al Franken. I didn't mean to fall in love. But it's hard to resist the straight shooting, intelligent, folksy, charming, clever storyteller that Al Franken is. Oops, I forget to mention funny. I should mention funny. He'd probably like that. He's also a true patriot. A hard-working honest one at that. I don't know that I'd necessarily agree with him on all his political views, but that's not the point.

I especially appreciated how approachable the book is for those of us with very little knowledge of the political process yet how enjoyable it is for those of us who know full well how the political process works. I think it's important for people who have felt disengaged from politics to somehow get engaged, and this book would be an easy way to get started, no matter your party. It's an interesting glimpse behind the curtain, if you will.

He eases the listener into politics by beginning the book with his early years at Harvard, and then amuses with tales of SNL. He's wily in explaining his Minnesota campaign run. It's all very fascinating, but I felt like he was maybe testing the waters to see if we were ready as a nation to understand the power of the de-humorizer and be ready to de-bunk that junk for a potential presidential run in the future. While I think he'd make an exceptional President, I have zero confidence in the rest of the population to see through the de-humorizer. Sorry, Al, hope I'm wrong. Or, maybe I'm reading that section wrong and that's not the intent.

For me, the best meat of the book comes when he really gets into what goes on day to day in D.C. It wasn't a Civics class, don't worry. But, it kind of gave you a feel for the day in the life of a Senator. I got a kick hearing the jokes he had to edit in his head that he now gets to let out -- apparently before his head explodes. Ted Cruz is the Dwight Schrute of the Senate, I knew it! I also appreciated that he acknowledges discouragements but leaves the reader with an overall tone of optimism. You know, if we work on this together, we can do this!

Al Franken, Giant of Senate? Tongue in cheek title? Clever, clever, man.

75 of 106 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

I learned so much from this book, and I’m very sad the he’s not still in Washington, fighting the good fight. It’s a tremendous loss for our democracy!

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Flawed man who cares

It's a shame that Al Franken was taken down by the MeTooMovement. While I don't agree with much of his politics. I do believe he cares, which is more than you can say for a lot of politicians. He was a flawed man, but then again who isn't. I still think this book is worth the listen if you like Al Franken.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott
  • 07-30-17

Brilliant

This is a really good listen detailing Franken's campaign and for his Senate seat and time in the Senate.

It's read by him very well which is a great contribution because it sounds like he's telling you the story rather than reading off a script.

I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in politics.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hannah P.
  • 07-12-17

Informative, powerful and very funny

Really enjoyed, learnt a lot about American politics & Al Franken himself and was very entertained in the process. Recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs. L. Macleod
  • 02-09-18

A poignant read

Given his recent resignation this was a particularly poignant read. Al Franken is a man of great wisdom, honesty and integrity and the Senate is poorer for his absence

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  • Sketcher
  • 12-17-17

Interesting insights.

Dispite recent events (former) Senator Al Franken is a fascinating person and this book gives great insights in life as a Senator and life in Politics. I would not have mind to go in detail a little deeper but not doing that in this book kept it accessible.

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  • Barking Geek
  • 12-06-17

Very good

One of those books you wish was longer than it is. Al Franken is prophetic in saying the worst is yet to come, but gives the world hope that America is not quite as stupid as they appear. Very eloquent, lucid and satirical in equal measure.

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  • Ms Areej Elmaazi
  • 12-02-17

Highly recommend

Fantastic insight for the reader. Engagingly read. A good heart in a seemingly bad system.

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  • Mark
  • 10-20-17

Hugely insightful and enjoyable.

Purchased on a whim. Very glad I did, had me laughing out loud several times particularly his inner battles between what he wants to say and what his conscience will allow him to say.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-21-17

So Worth It

Well written , excellent narration. Different nations,cultures but honesty and belief trans national Good Stuff

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  • gingernut
  • 09-03-17

Excellent !

Excellent book! A wonderfully informative and entertaining read. Great to share the journey and look forward to the sequel when Al Franken is President!

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  • X-ray Chick 351
  • 08-16-17

Franken for President 2020 (updated later !!!!)

there is no good reason not to support the author to be chief executive of the USA or vice President to Elizabeth Warren. This is a funny heartfelt book about solving problems and what a politician should be like. Maybe a reason or two.

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  • Miranda
  • 10-14-17

Brilliant

Hilarious, honest, insightful and extremely entertaining. Whether you care about the current state of American politics or not, this book is well worth your time.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-29-17

I love Al Franken

brilliant, funny, informative, sad, uplifting. so many great things I could say about this book and everything he writes.
this has to be my favourite so far.

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  • Damon
  • 09-09-17

Excellent

For an Australian observing the machinations of the US political environment, this was a refreshing and hopeful tale. I enjoyed the anecdotes, and for their sake hope that politicians of Frankens ilk rise up from 'the swamp' created over the last 9 months. Great work Al.