Though some may not like his language, Glenn Beck has already written a string of successful political books, and in 2008 he published a story for children, The Christmas Sweater, that became a bestseller. Now the controversial Fox News talk-show host is preparing to release his first novel for adults. Here's a quick look at Beck's work as an author, and his new book:
What's Beck's novel called?
The Overton Window, a reference to the range of policy options, along the spectrum between fringe liberal and conservative ideas, that are acceptable to the public on any issue. The concept is named for Joe Overton, a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. It's an apt title, given the apparent political nature of the book. Rumored early title: We Are American: The Overton Window.
What's it about?
Though little is known, Beck offered a few hints at his "American Revival" rally in Orlando, according to Will Bunch in the Philadelphia News. The novel, Beck said, is "a story of America in a time much like today where the people are confused," with a government in crisis and a rapidly growing citizens' group called the Founders Keepers, the plot culminating in a "battle and a civil war, and life...upside-down planet-wide." Publishers Weekly says the book concerns "a PR exec who unexpectedly finds himself trying to stop a secret government plot to destroy the country after he realizes his new girlfriend's seemingly outlandish conspiracy theories are true." The book "sounds like Atlas Shrugged with a bit more violence," says David Weigel in The Washington Independent, "and with 9-12 Tea Partiers taking the place of underground intellectuals."
When will the book be released?
June 15, according to publisher Simon & Schuster.
What are critics saying?
Apparently, no reviewers have seen the manuscript. Based on Beck's description, Will Bunch at MediaMatters predicts the book will only intensify the common accusation that Beck relies "on apocalyptic fear-mongering to build ratings and get attention." At his Florida rally, Beck told the crowd, "If we don't face the truth right now, we'll be dead in five years — this country can't survive."
Is this a departure for Beck?
His previous books, with the exception of children's book The Christmas Sweater, have been non-fiction: Political broadsides against liberals and big government with titles such as Arguing with Idiots, Glenn Beck's Common Sense, and America's March to Socialism. The Overton Window seems closer to the type of book he frequently touts on his TV show.
What kind of book is that?
Thrillers. Beck, who has 9 million weekly radio listeners and 2.7 million TV viewers, has used his pulpit to enthusiastically endorse dozens of thriller genre-novels, says Motoko Rich wrote in The New York Times. A plug from Beck can put a thriller on the bestseller lists and keep it there, says Brad Thor, a political-thriller writer who has appeared on Beck's shows: "He’s our Oprah."