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Alleluia America! An Irish Journalist in Bush Country -- Book Club Review

Irish journalist Carole Coleman has made quite a name for herself as an interviewer in America, both as one who disrespected the President of the United States and one who had the courage to challenge him. The controversy stirred up over her interview with the President was the inspiration for her latest work Alleluia America! An Irish Journalist in Bush Country.

In the book Coleman writes about her White House career surrounding the interview and explores, in a series of interviews with common people, the political outlook of America today. With a conversational tone, Coleman brings audiences a glimpse of American life and politics as she sees it. Specifically, she hopes to identify the core of “red state” mentality, to understand what lay behind the philosophies of those who voted for Bush in the last election.

She begins her journey in Washington, DC and travels to Mexico and states throughout the US, including Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York.

As you read Alleluia, you’ll find Coleman searches for extremes. In Pennsylvania, she visits Amish country; in New York, she explores Hasidic Judaism; and in Virginia, she attends a NASCAR race. She is not looking for the ambivalent, middle-of-road, everyday American that fits the mould of most of us. She has an agenda to work through, and it is with this same mindset, perhaps, that she made her faux pas with the President.

Coleman’s agenda, the political leaning that shines throughout Alleluia, makes her work, whether you side with her or not, quite easily discountable. Everyone knows a good journalist is objective; Coleman is not. So to read Alleluia is to challenge yourself against the generalizations and stereotype she presents as representative of most people. And even in identifying the root of contemporary Republican thought on such topics as gay marriage, the war in Iraq, and immigration, Coleman fails.

Yet, the book is worth a read. Read it because you are part of the “other half.”

Travel enthusiasts with a penchant for culture will find the author’s portrait of others somewhat enlightening. If you take away anything from this book it should be at least the desire for travel. Coleman provides excellent descriptions of historic Annapolis, Maryland and parts of Washington, DC. And, cognizant of the skewed outlook with which Coleman writes, you should find more than a few reasons to seek out the truth on your own, without the author’s own subjective, colored views.

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