cover image Addicted to Outrage: How Thinking like a Recovering Addict Can Heal the Country

Addicted to Outrage: How Thinking like a Recovering Addict Can Heal the Country

Glenn Beck. Threshold, $28 (379p) ISBN 978-1-4767-9886-8

Beck, the controversial conservative talk-radio host and founder of TheBlaze network, deplores America’s vitriolic political rhetoric, but ends up stoking it, in this scattershot jeremiad. Beck (Common Sense) denounces the polarizing outrage widely acknowledged to be ubiquitous in the United States of 2018; most of his targets are on the left, such as Twitter campaigns against Roseanne Barr and campus scolding of politically incorrect professors, but he also chides President Trump’s attacks on the press. Beck also calls himself “an addict currently recovering from social-media-driven moral outrage.” He conceives outrage “addiction” in neurochemical terms and lays out a scattered 12-step recovery agenda informed by his experiences in Alcoholics Anonymous, focused on respectful dialogue and conciliation between ideological opponents. Unfortunately, Beck’s rambling, repetitive, overstuffed text frequently wanders off into alarmism—the robot takeover is a particular concern—and conspiracy theories, with less-than-soothing results. He suggests that Bernie Sanders wants to establish a Hunger Games–style dictatorship, warns that “there are agents of chaos on all sides,” and speculates about the horror of a North American superstate (“If our government then hid the actual reports of our children being abducted, raped, sold into slavery, and set on fire, what would we do?”). The book’s feverish tone seems likely to inflame readers’ outrage rather than quell it. (Sept.)