Saturday, November 21, 2015

Book Review: The [Un]documented Mark Steyn



As you regular Station WTFO readers are aware, I'm a fan of Mark Steyn.  His balance of acerbic wit coupled with tongue in cheek humor makes the bad news Mark comments on, along with his dire predictions of the future, makes being informed on current events tolerable and entertaining.

When I'm on duty at WA State Emergency Management, our agency's televisions are tuned to the news.  I would have paid better attention to the terrorist attack on Paris, if we weren't dealing with a wind storm event.

Anyway, when I'm off duty, I usually minimize my news intake in order to take a mental break from all the breaking bad news.  If I decide to catch up on the news, the first site I go to is Mark Steyn's.  At least I'll be able to smile, or even laugh at Mark's presentation of events-of-the-day.

Of Mark's recent books, I chose to purchase The [Un]documented Mark Steyn.  While I believe in Mark's Freedom of Speech cause against Michael Mann, I'm currently not interested in reading any book-length material on climate change.

I found The [Un]documented Mark Steyn to be like watching re-runs of my favorite TV shows, or movies.  There were some "scenes" (previously published articles) I remember vividly, some vaguely, while others I don't remember at all.  The author added some new material, along with footnotes to help new readers understand the circumstances he's written about, some dating back to the '90s.

Since I'm familiar with most of Mark's work, I'll give his "[Un]documented" edition 4-stars.  I liked it, even re-reading the articles I remember very well.

The [Un]documented Mark Steyn gets an average 4.6-star rating on Amazon.com.  The overwhelming majority of readers (79%) give the book 5-stars.  I would too if I read the articles for the first time.

A number of the less-than 4-star raters (9% total) are really put off by the author resurrecting previously published articles. 

Normally, I'm not interested in re-reading book-length novels, except for a few:  The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and Starship Troopers.  I guess I felt the articles in The [Un]documented Mark Steyn were presented in "bite-sized" nuggets that made me feel I could put the book down any time I wanted to.

Also, as a writer myself, I understand this is a tactic used by freelancers, who'll sell the same article to different magazines; along with fiction authors whose novels often started off as short stories.

I guess whether or not someone likes The [Un]documented Mark Steyn depends on how much they like Mark's work vs. whether or not they like re-reading previously published material.

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