The Overton Window by Glenn Beck

March 2, 2011

Plot summary (from the publisher): A plan to destroy America, a hundred years in the making, is about to be unleashed . . . can it be stopped?

There is a powerful technique called the Overton Window that can shape our lives, our laws, and our future. It works by manipulating public perception so that ideas previously thought of as radical begin to seem acceptable over time. Move the Window and you change the debate. Change the debate and you change the country.

For Noah Gardner, a twentysomething public relations executive, it’s safe to say that political theory is the furthest thing from his mind. Smart, single, handsome, and insulated from the world’s problems by the wealth and power of his father, Noah is far more concerned about the future of his social life than the future of his country.

But all of that changes when Noah meets Molly Ross, a woman who is consumed by the knowledge that the America we know is about to be lost forever. She and her group of patriots have vowed to remember the past and fight for the future—but Noah, convinced they’re just misguided conspiracy-theorists, isn’t interested in lending his considerable skills to their cause.

And then the world changes.

An unprecedented attack on U.S. soil shakes the country to the core and puts into motion a frightening plan, decades in the making, to transform America and demonize all those who stand in the way. Amidst the chaos, many don’t know the difference between conspiracy theory and conspiracy fact—or, more important, which side to fight for.

But for Noah, the choice is clear: Exposing the plan, and revealing the conspirators behind it, is the only way to save both the woman he loves and the individual freedoms he once took for granted.

Warning: Spoilers below!


  • Honestly, I thought the most interesting part of the book was the very end where Beck gave links to all the real-life political headlines he based the events of the novel on. With a book like this, it was extremely hard to tell (embellished) fact from outright fiction, so it was cool to get a look at the sources for Beck’s information. Turns out, a LOT of stuff was based on real events!
  • I’m glad there wasn’t a Hollywood ending. Yes, the reader is left with the hope that Noah and Molly will reunite and maybe start another movement to out the current government, but that’s fine. I mean I’m glad that they didn’t prevent the bomb from going off or Noah’s father’s plan from going into action.


  • For being billed as a “thriller,” this book was incredibly slow and boring in many parts. It’s not a very long work, but it still took me more than a month to get through because I never felt compelled to pick it up and keep going. I simultaneously read 3-4 books, and Overton Window was always my last choice. Ugh.
  • There weren’t really any twists or surprises along the way. Were we supposed to be shocked that Noah’s father was behind everything? The lack of characters made it damn near impossible for the puppet master to be anyone else. The only mild surprise was that Molly had targeted Noah all along. Other than that, this was kind of a ho-hum, straightforward affair.
  • Maybe Kearns and Bailey blowing themselves up in the desert in order to save Las Vegas would have been more poignant if we’d learned anything about the characters. As it was, they weren’t developed very well, so it was hard to care what happened to them.
  • The writing style was a bit weird. It wasn’t only the secondary characters I had trouble connecting to; I felt completely distanced from the plot a majority of the time as well. I’ve never seen Beck’s TV program or heard his radio show, but he must be better at those than at writing — otherwise he would have been off the air a long time ago.


I was surprised that a polarizing political figure such as Glenn Beck would have a fiction novel with a 3.5-star rating on B&, so wanted to try the book out for myself. The Overton Window was a disappointment in many ways, among which was a dull, plodding storyline; uninteresting characters; and no suspense, tension, or surprises along the way. I give this one 2 stars out of 5.

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