Review: Dude, Where's My Country?

Dude, Where's My Country? Dude, Where's My Country? by Michael Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review is of both the book and the audiobook. Straight off the success of his documentary “Bowling for Columbine” and his last book “Stupid White Men”, Michael Moore delivers another book taking a hard look at the state of America. The three years since Bush has taken office have left many of us trying to figure out what’s going on. Four years ago, the country had a stable economy, jobs were available, people could rely on their pensions, and savings plans—oh yeah, and we weren’t at war. According to Michael Moore, the quintessential question is “Dude, where’s my country?” Granted, the September 11th attack certainly did change the course of the country—but Michael Moore believes much more so that our “great” leader George W. Bush has warped the country to his own frightful agenda by feeding off the country’s fear of terrorism.

Michael Moore has fully loaded this book with intriguing facts and comments about the September 11th attacks and its aftermath—including links between President Bush and bin Laden as well as the hard “facts” leading to the Iraq war. He starts off strong in the first few chapters bringing up relevant questions that all Americans, particularly the press should be asking of George W. Bush in regards to September 11th. He poses questions about the Bush and the bin Ladens business relations over the last 25 years and Taliban leaders meeting with big Texan business associates of George Bush while he was governor of Texas. He follows this up with a series of lies told by the Bush administration over the last few years and how those lies have affected the United States as well as the world. For instance, while citing various prominent sources, he notes that the most records of Iraqi biochemical weapons were from American companies with the United States approval to sell these weapons to them.

Up through the first two-thirds of the book, Michael Moore provides stunning and thought-provoking statements in his simple style that speaks to the common person. His style and words put a solid form to the unspoken frustration in the minds of many middle and working class Americans. He shows us just how we are getting screwed by our government and we are getting screwed by big business; and also how they are doing it blatantly without fear of punishment. That is where Michael Moore’s book shines. However, where it starts to dim is the second half of the book. His ability to identify and unmask the problems is phenomenal—but his suggested course of action—leaves much to be desired. His ultimate (and serious) plan would be to push for Oprah or another celebrity Democrat to run for office. However, he genuinely wants Oprah to run for presidency—believing her to be the best possible candidate.

When he spends one chapter pretending that he is “God” talking to the world, it can be hard to take him serious and the powerful energy produced in the beginning, starts to fade. It is thoughts like these, where he gets a little side-tracked. And yet, it is not hard to disagree with his strong anti-Bush and anti-Republican stance, he just doesn’t give a serious platform for reform that people are going to accept. However, if just for the major points and thoughts discussed in the first chapter and other smaller points towards the end, it is a must read for anyone wishing to gain a wider view of U.S. and world events.

Though it wasn’t until the third or fourth CD, that I found myself accepting his voice, D. David Morin did a decent job of narrating. He spoke quite well with the intensity and hints of amusement where necessary. As a narrator, he did an excellent job but as a substitute for Michael Moore’s voice, he was indeed lacking. It’s not that Michael Moore has a very distinct voice, but for anyone who has ever seen a Michael Moore documentary or listened to his speeches—you come to find his voice is irreplaceable.

A weak point of the book, as one would imagine with all non-fiction books, were the footnotes. The first chapter in the hardcover version is loaded with footnotes. The audiobook notes that the footnotes and endnotes can be found on the website (http://www.michaelmoore.com )—but it is not entirely obvious where to find the cited material on the site—and once you do find the notes, not all chapters are available. This is a major sore spot for anyone trying to validate and accept his work for truth. The other obvious problem is that you do not entirely know where the footnotes fit in.

“Dude, Where’s My Country,” can make you laugh; it can make you cry; it may entice you to immigrate. Although the end is not the best part of this book, it is still interesting to hear Moore’s take on things, but the first half of this audiobook is a must listen for any U.S. citizen.

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