Dreamers and Deceivers by Glenn Beck, originally published 2014.
I stopped listening to Glenn Beck’s radio program years ago when he started transposing a view of America as the promised land which will save Western Civilization onto everything he broadcasted. I’m glad I put that aside and read his book.
I wasn’t sure I would like it, but it’s one of my favorite genres and the reviews for it were decent (when the reviewer wasn’t a foaming at the mouth liberal), so I figured it was worth a look.
Interestingly, Goodreads categorizes this book as nonfiction, even though in reality it is a work of historical fiction. Well done, if my research is any indication, but fictional nonetheless.
If you haven’t figured it out yet I enjoy historical fiction, partly because it makes history comes alive, and partly because I find myself more inclined to do research on the people and subjects presented, thereby furthering my own historical education. Like most people, my original understanding of history is woefully deficient.
Beck peels back the layers and lays open the stories of names well known to most known Americans. Even Walt Disney, whose story we all know, is made fresh and new.
The best stories however, are the ones we hear the least about. In my opinion, he could’ve spared us the background on Disney and Steve Jobs, although he did a very good job exploring the parts of their stories most of never heard of. Where his book shined however, is in his revealing of Charles Ponzi, Alan Touring, Grover Cleveland, and Alger Hiss. These are where his best storytelling takes place.
Ponzi’s story was most engaging to me. Not because he was a likable man, but because of the human gullibility (not to mention greed) he was able to exploit from the earliest stages of his life. Like a cat, he seemed to have multiple lives.
The list of source books and texts at the end of Beck’s book is exhaustive, too exhaustive for me to go through them all, but I hope to read at least a couple of them in the coming year. Of particular interest to me is the true father of modern radio, Edwin Armstrong, because up until I read Beck’s book I thought the founders of RCA were the true minds behind the technology.
Pretty good read.
Content advisory: Nothing of note.