Sincerly, Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney, Author, Andrew A. Rooney, Author PublicAffairs $23 (315p) ISBN 978-1-891620-34-8
Rooney's distinctive whining voice comes through in this collection of his letters to fans, friends, CBS executives, tax collectors and others. The popular TV commentator and curmudgeon-in-residence sallies forth with ripostes at shady car dealers, astrologers, lawyers, modern poetry, deceptive packaging, tobacco industry duplicity and George Patton (""the most over-rated general of WW II""). While these seem like easy targets, at least in this epistolary shooting gallery (which contains only Rooney's correspondence, not the letters that prompted them), he occasionally sounds off even more forthrightly here than on television. Explaining his agnosticism in a very personal letter to his four children, Rooney states that religion is illogical, impedes the progress of civilization and doesn't make people nicer to each other. In a letter to the Advocate, he apologizes for his insensitive broadcast remarks about homosexuality, then pours fuel on the fire by vouchsafing his opinion that homosexuality is ""a behavioral aberration"" and that he finds gay sex repugnant--but adds that he has had many gay friends and denies he's homophobic. On the lighter side, Rooney celebrates the pleasures of home and family, watching football, drinking bourbon, banging away on old typewriters and woodworking. Entertaining and witty, but also at times pontificating and arch, these letters span half a century, encompassing his struggles as a freelance magazine writer, his work as a CBS documentary scriptwriter and his bombing missions as a WWII pilot. Besides the replies to 60 Minutes watchers, there are conversational missives to Will Rogers, Bill Moyers, Helen Gurley Brown, E.B. White, Eric Sevareid, Walter Annenberg, Peggy Noonan and Barry Goldwater. Though devoted fans may enjoy this breezy compendium, the overall impression is of slight material and too much self-indulgent ephemera. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1999
Release date: 11/01/1999
Hardcover - 435 pages - 978-0-7862-2483-8
Paperback - 325 pages - 978-1-58648-045-5
Open Ebook - 337 pages - 978-0-7867-3135-0
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