Scorched Earth and the Savage Truth

I enjoy listening to the irascible radio talk show host Michael Savage, not because I agree with every word he says, but because his sheer arrogance, random literary and historical references, and musings on current affairs are incredibly entertaining, whether they’re grounded in reality or not. He’s from New York City, so he reminds me a lot of the grandfather I’ve never met—you know, that old grumpy guy with the Northern accent who sits in the corner of the room at family gatherings and shoots his mouth off to whoever happens to be in earshot at the time.

Savage’s books have amused me as well because they tend to be slightly (but only slightly) more organized regurgitations of what he says on his show. I recently finished his latest book, Scorched Earth, and was unsurprisingly amused but also disappointed. Because the book deals with current and upcoming events (most notably the presidential election and the fate of the country after Obama), it had to be rushed to be published, and that shows in the quality. The book jumps from point to point without really going into any kind of in-depth explanation, and there were a few irksome typos and sentence fragments.

Savage makes essentially the same point that he has been making in all of his books and in his radio show for years: without our nation’s borders, language, and culture, we will have nothing, and the “liberals” in the government-media complex have been steadily eroding the nation’s identity. Obama has only made things worse because he is not just a liberal, he is *gasp* a communist! In Savage’s mind, Obama is doing all he can to destroy American before he leaves the White House, creating a scorched earth for the next president to either fix (as he imagines Trump will do) or destroy further (as he imagines Clinton will do).

I enjoyed the book’s literary and historical allusions, but what bothered me most was that very few sources were cited (only seven end notes in 282 pages). It seems like Savage wants his readers to believe that every word that comes out of his golden pen and his golden mouth is irrefutable truth with no need to be proven. I’m skeptical enough to want to see sources, especially sources that don’t just come from conservative news sites.

Is Scorched Earth worth reading? Yes, if you lean conservative and want to get righteously angry about the state of the country. Yes, if you lean liberal and want something light and fluffy to laugh about. There’s not much substance, so it’s a quick read—but I would check it out of the library rather than buy it.