Thursday, August 12, 2010

Worst Book in the Last Five Years

Angus' use of the garbage chute for "Witz" suggests a question:

What is the WORST book you have read in the last five years?

And by "read" I mean spent at least an hour on. Concluding a book sucks immediately doesn't count, even if you are right.

My entry into the sweepstakes:

_Bruce Springsteen and Philosophy: Darkness on the Edge of Truth_

This howling stinker was "edited" (in the loosest possible sense) by two unemployed street people named Anderson and Auxier. (And by "unemployed" of course I mean "working as philosophy profs at SIU Carbondale")

Now, I can read almost anything about Bruuuuuuuuce. I have read Dave Marsh's worshipful _Glory Days_ at least three times. Sure, it's appalling, but it has a narrative, and the background story is well told.

"Darkness" starts bad, and gets worse. But it's such a train wreck you have to watch in horrified fascination. Some essays describe how much the author likes Bruuuuuce (I think; these are lit philosophy people, so it's hard to TELL what they are saying); others use Bruuuuuce's work as a springboard for rambling commentary on many topics.

The best (ie, worst) essay has to be the one that blames Bruuuuuce for having prevented the Marxist labor revolution from happening. Written by a political scientist at Sacred Heart U, this fellow actually writes "Probably the most prominent voice [on liberty] belongs to Karl Marx (1818-1883). The great error (and evil) of capitalism" is the alienation of the individual from the product of his labor. And then "On the other end of the spectru, we find Professor Max Weber...." That's right, chilluns, he takes on the FULL ideological spectrum, from Marx on the left to Weber on the right. I am not going to quote more, but I do assure you I am not cherry-picking; the essay is full of juicy nuggets of nut-job lefty wisdom from academics whose smooth soft hands have never held a welding torch or a shovel.

But I did it, I read the whole book. And you can, too! Here it is.

Now, YOUR turn, commenters. What is the worst book you have actually read?


Sean said...

-Deficit Hysteria
A required Macro-book written by the professor about why deficits are in fact a great thing. The Keynesian logic is particularly ambiguous, especially in its differentiation of "investment" government spending and consumption government spending. This book put the exclamation point on what was by far the worst ever Econ class i took--the entire class was nothing more than a simplified version of the Keynesian multiplier, taught to mostly business school students as though it were scientific fact. No wonder so many business majors turn out to be pro-interventionists

Angus said...

The worst book I ever actually read, hands down, by a country mile, is "The Kite Runner".

Asa said...

Twilight was pretty bad. Way too long and annoying.

Dexter said...

Shock Doctrine. About as accurate and well-written as a Soviet Five-Year Plan.

Mungowitz said...

I forgot about SHOCK DOCTRINE. I want to change my answer. Dexter wins.

Matt said...

I figured out that Shock Doctrine was going to be terrible far before it had robbed me of an hour, so I can't count that.

Probably Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny. For some reason I kept reading until almost halfway through the book in a feverish hope that he would at some point cease the broad generalizations, but alas, it was about as bad as the scene in Donnie Darko where the teacher tells the class that everything can be classified as either "fear" or "love".

Anonymous said...

Fountainhead, hands down. The awful writing, the simplistic moralizing... and it just. keeps. going. on.

Anonymous said...

Anything Thom Hartmann ever wrote is in competition. But his simple-minded screed "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" gets the award for worst book he wrote and the worst book I have ever read in my adult life.