RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION: EXCUSE ME WHILE I SAVE THE WORLD
Grand Central Publishing, $17.99, 288 pages
Reviewed by John Nolte
Andrew Breitbart’s memoir, the New York Times best- seller, “Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World,” (which has just been released in paperback with a new chapter covering the Weinergate affair), will mean as much to those who knew him as it will to those who would’ve liked to. For the many who Andrew considered friends and colleagues, his memoir is a kind of keepsake of both his voice and mind, which come to life on most every page. Best of all, the book captures the many sides of Andrew, who was a complicated man in the very best sense of that word.
Andrew was one of those rare beings who truly was everything he seemed to be to everyone: the merry prankster, the fierce warrior, the loyal friend, the devoted family man and, of course, a genius. He was also a man of many talents, one of his talents being to bring all those characteristics together at once, which is something that frequently occurs throughout “Righteous Indignation.”
Much of the story represents Andrew’s emotional and intellectual journey - from a “pop culture-infused wannabe hipster” to the bete noire of what he accurately refers to as the “Democrat-Media-Complex.” Because Andrew was incapable of telling a lie, at times the book reads like a confessional, as though he’s sitting across from you over a glass of wine and telling you who he is. This isn’t an accident, by the way. This was a conversation Andrew wanted to have with everyone he knew, and he wanted to know everyone.
The chapter that presents a side that not enough people know about is titled “Breakthrough,” and in it Andrew spends nearly 30 pages meticulously laying out a scholarly analysis of how the left came to be in America. It’s not the kind of work you’d expect from someone who partied through Tulane and had one of the most famous cases of ADHD in America, but Andrew was nothing if he wasn’t well read.
Andrew studied and soaked up everything. Learning was one of his great passions and when you combine a passion for history and news with an unparalleled ability to bring together all the narrative dots, this is what made him such an effective warrior against the media and the left. Because he had spent decades studying and cracking the code of the Democrat-Media-Complex, he knew how it was put together, which meant he also knew how it could be taken apart.
On top of the Weinergate story, “Righteous Indignation” also takes you into the Greatest Hits: ACORN, his miraculous proving of a negative in taking down the media’s Tea Party N-word lie, the launch of the Huffington Post and the Bigs, and his time with his mentor Matt Drudge. One chapter he didn’t write, though, that I wish he had, would’ve been about Fox News’ political analyst Juan Williams.
If you remember, in October of 2010, Mr. Williams made a perfectly defensible statement to Bill O’Reilly that expressed his disappointment in himself over the fact that he would get nervous whenever he saw Muslims on an airplane. Two days later, National Public Radio terminated his contract over the remarks and within seconds of that announcement, those of us on his staff received a familiar call from Andrew: “We’re going to war for Juan Williams.”
They might have known each other and been friendly, but as far as I know, Juan and Andrew were not friends and when it comes to politics, the two men were about as far apart as you can get. But Andrew wasn’t a partisan guy. That might surprise and disappoint his enemies, but he wasn’t. Freedom of expression was part of his red, white and blue DNA and a righteous cause to be fought for regardless of who he felt was being unfairly silenced. So go to war for Juan Williams we did. Which brings me to my final point:
When I first went to work for him, I honestly had no idea who Andrew Breitbart was. Nevertheless, I desperately needed a job, he was hiring, and all I could do was hope for the best after I signed on for what promised to be a helluva ride.
As you’ll read in “Righteous Indignation,” Andrew was far from a saint, but while his talents and genius earned my admiration and the admiration of millions, over time I came to love and respect him because beneath all of that was the most important thing - an uncommonly decent individual.
Last month, America lost a patriot; the conservative movement lost a leader; Samson, Mia, Charlie and Will lost a devoted father and Susie a devoted husband. As for me, I lost my boss, my mentor, my friend and my hero.
And the world lost what it is in short supply of these days - a genuinely good man.