In This Review

The Assault on Reason
The Assault on Reason
By Al Gore
Penguin Press, 2007, 320 pp

Of all the vice presidents who have not later made it to the Oval Office on their own, Gore is beyond any doubt the most successful. It is not just that his 2000 bid for the presidency gained a solid plurality of the national popular vote and that the result in Florida was so narrow and controversial. Gore stands alone as the only former U.S. president or vice president ever to win an Oscar, and no former vice president can match Gore's literary output in either quantity or impact. The Assault on Reason is vintage Gore: tightly reasoned but passionate, partisan but not demagogic, sweeping and ambitious but closely researched and solidly grounded in particular issues and facts. Above all, it is earnest. Gore believes that the modern conservative movement represents a systematic attack on the role of reasoned debate in policy and public life by an alliance of economic special interests, religious fundamentalists, and other enemies of justice and truth. The Assault on Reason will strike many readers as a well-timed, well-aimed jeremiad. Others, looking back on U.S. political history, will wonder whether the deceit, chicanery, and polarization of politics today is really as unprecedented as Gore would have us believe.