A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity

December 5, 2009

bold-fresh Summary: A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity is a memoir by news commentator Bill O’Reilly that strives to give people insight into how he became the man he is today. To do that, he tells many stories of his childhood and how those incidents, as well as the people involved in them, helped shape his views and character.

The memoir is not told in chronological order. Instead, it jumps around from the past to the present to the past again, and skips readily from Bill’s elementary school days to college to high school to his first post-college job, etc. This makes the individual stories a bit harder to follow, but actually helps the “big picture” maintain coherence, if that makes any sense.

For the most part, the anecdotes were interesting, and did give viewers a rare look at the private side of cable news’s top personality.

Liked:

  • I liked how Bill wrapped up each of his anecdotes by sharing a concrete lesson with readers. Sure, the lessons were mostly trite and became repetitive after a while (be nice to people, stand up to injustice, don’t let others push you around, don’t rely on others to make your way for you, etc.), but at least there was a point to everything.
  • There was quite a lot of humor in the book, which was a bit unexpected. I laughed a number of times, both because of the material itself and because of O’Reilly’s phrasing. He’s actually a pretty good writer for someone who has never taken a writing class in his life.
  • I enjoy reading stories about people who rise from working-class families to make it big. Tim Russert was one guy who did it, and Bill O’Reilly is another. These stories reaffirm the notion that hard work and determination can get you far. From blue-collar Levittown to making $10 million a year on FOX News and partying it up at Outer Banks beach rentals and Cancun resorts with old friends… whether you agree with O’Reilly’s politics or not, you’ve got to admit he did well for himself.
  • I was surprised at how much O’Reilly’s childhood sounded like mine, despite the fact that he grew up in the ’50s and I grew up several decades later in the ’80s. In particular, his description of summer days and his typical weekly menu were eerily similar to mine. Bologna sandwiches, Fritos, and cookies for lunch? What kid didn’t eat that back then?!
  • I thought O’Reilly’s college scam of creating some kind of college sports press association in order to get free tickets was amazing! He scored season tickets to the Yankees that way! I’m never creative enough to do those things, so I’m generally in awe of people who do.

Disliked:

  • It’s kind of hard to avoid, I guess, but Bill comes off as preachy and egotistical in some spots. Yes, he tries to soften things by saying, “Not bragging, just reporting”, but that doesn’t do much. Personally, I think Bill has a heck of a lot to brag about. Nevertheless, it gets kind of tiresome hearing about these things all the time.

Rating:
Since A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity is all about Bill O’Reilly, it pretty much stands to reason that if you like the guy, you’ll like his book and if you hate him, you’ll be completely turned off by this tome. I happen to like O’Reilly because I really do feel that though he has conservative leanings, he does evaluate each issue on its own merit instead of toeing some kind of party line. Overall, I thought this book was fun and interesting, so I give it 4 stars out of 5.

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