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Editorial Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Franken, the veteran comedian. Franken, the aspiring senator. Both are present in this sharp-tongued indictment of journalists, politicians, and our government. Depending on your political leanings, you'll revel in Franken's research and hoot over his humor, or you'll fume over his accusations and snarl over his exaggerations. Either way, he'll leave you howling! —Beth Anderson

Publisher's Summary

Al Franken, "one of our savviest satirists" (People), takes on the issues, the politicians, and the pundits in one of the most anticipated books of the year.

Once again, the author of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations trains his subversive wit directly on the contemporary political scene, leaving the powers-that-be in tatters and his audience in hysterics. Al Franken thrives on being in the opposition, and now that the Republican party controls both the Oval Office and Congress, the gloves are off and the satire is fast and furious.

Franken's specialty is using his targets' own words to make comedic and political points. Finding logical inconsistencies, factual errors, and doublespeak wherever he looks, Franken takes on and destroys the myth of liberal bias in the media, hoists the Bush White House on its own rhetorical petard, and punctures the mean-spirited sanctimony of such media darlings as Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, and host of post-Limbaugh talk-radio gasbags. Timely, provocative, unfailingly honest, and always uproarious, Lies is sure to raise hackles and spark hilarity inside the Beltway and from sea to shining sea.

Listen to Al Franken talk about Lies on Fresh Air from September 3, 2003.
©2003 AL Franken; (P)2003 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

  • Grammy Award Winner, Best Spoken Word Album, 2003

"In the kicking, spitting spirit of all-star political discourse, Al Franken gives as good as he gets." (New York Times)
"Riotous...provocative reading for everyone.... Franken's sardonic critique of our culture of political disinformation is serious business." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"Memo to Fox: Hire Al Franken." (Business Week)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Braydan
  • FairfieldAustralia
  • 12-07-05

Great stuff

This was my first audio book and I enjoyed every word. I selected it at random during as a trial and found content to be the kind of thing I enjoy - good political satire, but what impressed me most was the style of the reading. As much as I enjoy a good read, the friendly, relaxed narration by the author, and especially the unprinted comments made listening a richer experience - one I enjoyed so much I thought I might make audio books a regular habit - if I can find any more of this quality.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Warner, NH, USA
  • 09-23-03

A Tour de Force!

Let's get this straight - whether you're liberal or conservative, you've got to have a sense of humor to appreciate Al Franken. You've got to be able to appreciate when he's being sarcastic and when he's being straight. You see, in order to be "Fair & Balanced," Al has to overstate the case for the left in order to "balance" the lies he exposes of the right. Therefore, you're not going to hear a "balanced" explication of the "left," you'll hear a committed, intelligent liberal explain how life looks through the eyes of a committed, intelligent liberal, with no apologies. What you'll also get are facts - PLENTY OF THEM! Team Franken DID the research and painstakingly excoriates the lies of the right, point by point. Let me put this clearly - you will not hear the folks on the right take Franken on over his criticism of their lies, because they can't. He's nailed them dead-to-rights. You'll also get Al's fantastic reading of his own material, which is the way it ought to be received. Al sounds as if he's speaking without notes, from memory. His narration communicates more than the printed page every could, by itself.

So - listen to Al report the lies, and then YOU decide - while you're having a great time!

18 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Richard
  • 12-30-03


There a very few of us humans who could be honest with themselves and say they have no bias -- unless they have no opinions.

Al is biased towards the left because he believes very strongly in the principals of being liberal. Coulter, O'Reilly, et al. are biased towards the right because they believe very strongly in the principals of being conservative.

This book isn't about bias -- it's about lying.

He is not trashing the right wingers for being biased -- he's trashing specific people because they LIE.

Whether you're a leftie or a rightie or you're a middle of the road extremist, you should try and judge this book for what it is.

A right wing true believer could really find something good in this book if they would just get over the problem that BOTH sides have. There is this incomprehenisble predisposition on both sides of the aisle that everyone on "your side" is good and righteous and the "others" are evil. How dumb is that?

There are honest and dishonest people on both sides. This book talks about some liars on the right side. The data in this book is very easy to validate. He did not make it up. This book tells the truth.

You may or you may not agree with Ann Coulter's opinions. You may or may not disagree with Bill O'Reilly's opinions. But it would be very hard to dispute Franken's claim that these folks lie with regularity to make their points.

Not only is lying wrong - it's also counter-productive because once you are found out it lessens your credibilty and therefore weakens your ability to persuade others that you are right.

Aside from that though this book is informative, accurate and downright hilarious.

This is a truly top-notch audio and I also couldn't agree more that this is the perfect medium for Franken's writing.

12 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

My Time and the Half Wit Authors that Waste It.

A moderately un-funny and highly factually skewed work of semi-fiction. Other reviewers here cite Franken's "Havard Researchers," or "Harvard Graduate Students," which is to say that he enlisted the assistance of a bunch of spoiled college kids, whose thinking undoubtedly, ran along the same lines as his, before they ever began their "research." And, as anybody who works with "facts" and figures could tell you, information and numbers can be massaged to support just about anything you want them to support. Something that has been overlooked by most of the 5-star reviewers here is that Franken has been "called" on several of his supposed facts and assertions, and his response has been, "well, I'm a comedian, this is a satire and should be taken as such." Evidentially, some of the reviewers here don't take it that way, instead viewing it as the gospel according to Al. In summary, most, if not all of the reviewers here who rated this "book" highly, already had his/ her mind made up before he/ she ever strapped on the headphones and, to them, the REAL facts don't matter, unless those facts go to support his/ her already formulated opinion. I just think that it's a little sad that the best the left can do for a Messiah figure is a cut-rate, semi-washed-up comedian. But, if you're (far)left leaning, and in need of a little moral support, go ahead and read it - what can it hurt. Oh, and you have my sympathy.

17 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • Dallas, TX, USA
  • 09-26-04

Read this book if you hate America

I never liked Al much on SNL, but he's hit his stride here: funny, articulate, well-researched, and pretty darn even-handed. BTW, for you Rush and Ann fans, the title of this review is "ironic". Being a middle-of-the-roader, fiscally/militarily conservative and socially liberal, I've listened to people from both sides, and I've grown to detest factually challenged emotional rantings and meanness posing as political discourse. Al does rant, and does get emotional on occasion, but his facts check out and, unlike Rush, he doesn't feel the need to go after someone's kid to make a point.

The book translates well to audio format, and Al's timing and delivery is superb. You don't have to agree with Al to enjoy this book, but you do have to have a sense of humor and a shred of tolerance for ideas that may differ from yours.

10 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Matthew
  • Memphis, TN, USA
  • 10-13-04

Easily the best produced audiobook I've heard

Yeah, if you're hardcore Republican, you won't care about this, so go back to reading your Ann Coulter.
I just wanted to point out my enjoyment of this audiobook, which is hands-down the best produced audiobook I've ever listened to. Not only does Al read the material himself, but he even takes the time to make revisions to the text by referencing that you're "listening" to an "audiobook" and not "turning pages" or "reading."
It's a small distinction, but when listening to nonfiction, it is a nice change from some random guy reading another's opinion and telling you to look on page 50. Another great use of the audio format is Al's using actual clips of speeches (when available) instead of simply reading them himself. It's the extra effort that went into this production that really surprised me.
As for the book - it's funny, it's factual, and I've yet to see anyone dispute a single word or fact stated in it. You be the judge, just try to listen to it before you review it - that's rare.

11 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Daniel
  • Diamond Bar, CA, USA
  • 02-16-04

You Must Listen to this Program!

This is one of the best audio programs I have ever heard, from any source. Al Franken's work really is essential for any thinking person - at least any person who is thinking of voting in the upcoming elections. The substance of his presentation is first-rate. Let's face it, Al Franken is a comedian. Yes, he is a very intelligent person, but he's a comedian. However, the quality of his presentation, the thoroughness of his research, the logic and cogency of his arguments, all put this work on a level above the vapid scrawling of his right-wing subjects. Oh, and he's hilarious! This really is funny!
Furthermore, this program is an audio program, not a mere reading of the book. Franken produced this presentation for audio and he performs the work himself. There is an excellent use of original audio from the Wellstone memorial service that makes his point beautifully. This is a superior presentation than the original book. Even if you don't agree with Franken's politics, you'll find this book entertaining.

Okay, that's probably not true. You probably won't care for it quite so much if you're fond of those whom he skewers, but give it a try anyway.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jed
  • Beaverton, OR, USA
  • 02-09-04

Fact checking wizard.

Not only was this book funny, and well written, but it is also a great well of knowledge. Fair and balanced--Yes! Scathing--Yes! Truth--you bet. Do the fact checking yourself...there is no spin here!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Aaron
  • MelbourneAustralia
  • 02-03-04

Very Good

Enjoyed the book very much but also felt that he brushed over certain facts about Clinton that could have offered a more balanced view, I understand he is a democrat, but to not point out obvious flaws of Clinton's leaves a little to be desired. I would have given him more credit if he had.
In all the book was very good at exposing the spin of politics, only wish journalists would hold politicans "at the time" accountable for their blantant lies rather than 2-6months after.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Yeah, but how much can Franken be trusted?

I enjoyed this book, laughing my way through much of it. Franken certainly has a talent at sattire. However, within the book, he occasionally makes comments that he can't support, and in these cases hides behind his sattire label. But, overall, he does mock and point out the lies of various conservative figureheads, all the while showing that he, himself is not above being untruthful. Many of the things he says are misrepresentations, but they certainly do add to the humor of the book. Yes, I believe that Al Franken includes himself in the title of this book.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful