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John Leo is best known these days for the column he writes in US News, wherein he has apparently made it his personal mission to fight the forces of political correctness.  For that alone he deserves our attention and thanks.  But I found this collection of some of his older stuff in a remainder bin, most of it culled from his years at TIME magazine, and it is not only quite good, it is a revelation.  John Leo is truly funny.  All this time I'd assumed he was just a bitter old crank (and I mean that in a good way), now it turns out that he's a talented satirist too.  I don't know that I'd put him in the exalted ranks of PJ O'Rourke, Andrew Ferguson, and Christopher Buckley, but he certainly ranks just one rung below them.

In addition to several excellent pieces on language, most of the book consists of Leo's comic colloquies between Ralph and Wanda, a married couple he utilizes to play out the battle of the sexes.  Though he initially made Wanda a mere foil for the loutish Ralph, he eventually let her more than hold her own in their arguments.  The result is a set of very amusing social commentaries--which fairly well decimate some of the sillier and trendier ideas of the Left--presented in the form of dialogues.  Some of the stuff is, of course, dated (the title essay for instance refers to a specious old claim made by the Soviet Union), but its almost all still fun, and well worth reading if you happen to find a copy.


Grade: (B)


See also:

Book-related and General Links:
    -ARCHIVES : John Leo (uExpress)
    -COLUMN ARCHIVE : John Leo (US News)
    -COLUMN ARCHIVE : John Leo (Jewish World Review)
    -COLUMN ARCHIVE : John Leo (Town Hall)
    -BOOKNOTES : Author: John Leo  Title: Two Steps Ahead of the Thought Police  Air date:
August 28, 1994 (C-SPAN)
     -ESSAY : The media run riot : Coverage of Cincinnati's violence misses the mark (John Leo, US News, 4/30/01)
    -ESSAY : Sensitivity police :  The Democrats are intent on racializing every issue (John Leo, US
News, 02/01)
    -ESSAY : Do You Speak Journalese? (John Leo, Columbia Journalism Review, May 1994)
    -ESSAY : Oops! Bloopers of the Century (John Leo, Columbia Journalism Review)
    -REVIEW : of  ONCE A CATHOLIC Prominent Catholics and Ex-Catholics Reveal the Influence
of the Church on Their Lives and Work by Peter Occhiogrosso (John Leo, NY Times Book Review)
    -DISCUSSION : Does Hollywood Hurt America? with John Leo, Camille Paglia, Robert Bork (Think Tank, PBS, 6/16/95)
    -The Conservative Chronicle - Biography of John Leo
    -REVIEW : of Two Steps Ahead of the Thought Police (Terry Teachout , New Criterion)
    -REVIEW : of INCORRECT THOUGHTS Notes on Our Wayward Culture. By John Leo (Douglas
A. Sylva, NY Times Book Review)

    -ESSAY : Leon Trotsky: The Missing Years (Robert Elias, Exquisite Corpse)
    -REVIEW : of DICTATORSHIP OF VIRTUE Multiculturalism and the Battle for America's Future
By Richard Bernstein (Nicholas Lemann, NY Times Book Review)