The Overton Window: Book jacket vs. book

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One of the first glimpses we had of Glenn Beck's soon-to-be-released novel, The Overton Window, was the book-jacket synopsis Beck posted on his website. Based on that synopsis, we were led to believe that the book tells the story of a thoroughly apolitical PR executive, Noah Gardner, who undergoes a political awakening just before a devastating attack on America that "shakes the country to the core" and sets into motion a plot to fundamentally change the country. But as someone who has actually had the privilege of reading The Overton Window, I can tell you that the book jacket is pretty much all lies.

For example, here's how the book jacket describes Noah:

For Noah Gardner, a twenty something public relations executive, it's safe to say that political theory is the furthest thing from his mind. Smart, single, handsome and insulated from the world's problems by the wealth and power of his father, Noah is far more concerned about the future of his social life than the future of his country.

That's curious, given that from a very early point in the book, Noah reveals himself to be pretty well versed in political theory -- or at least political conspiracy theory. This is from a speech Noah gives at a political rally on page 79:

"The United States was built to run on individual freedom, that's true, but because you've let these control freaks have their way with it for almost a hundred years, your country now runs on debt. Today, Goldman Sachs is the engine, and in case you haven't realized it yet, the American people are nothing but the fuel.

"The Committee of Three Hundred exists. And the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the Club of Rome -- they all exist. And they are globalists; they're wealthy and powerful beyond anything you can imagine. There are predators among them, absolutely ruthless people, but all of them together really do run things in this world, just like you say they do. There's nothing secret about these societies, though. No hidden conspiracies: they do what they do right out in the open."

And then there's this, from the jacket:

But all of that changes when Noah meets Molly Ross, a woman who is consumed by the knowledge that the America we know is about to be lost forever. She and her group of patriots have vowed to remember the past and fight for the future -- but Noah, convinced they're just a bunch of freaky conspiracy-theorists, isn't interested in lending his considerable skills to their cause.

And then the world changes.

Actually, Noah gets on board with Molly and her crew well before the world supposedly "changes" (more on that below). The allegedly world-changing event happens on page 266. Prior to that, Noah helps Molly break into his father's office to find evidence of the conspiracy and helps her flee the authorities in New York. On page 151, right after they've completed the break-in and discovered the dastardly plot, we're left with little doubt as to where Noah stands:

There's a difference between suspecting a thing and finally knowing it for certain. Noah felt that difference twisting into his stomach. You can hold on to the smallest doubt and take comfort in it, stay in denial and go on with your carefree life, until one day when you're finally cornered by a truth that can no longer be ignored.

But what about that supposedly world-changing event on page 266? Here's what the book jacket says:

An unprecedented attack on U.S. soil shakes the country to the core and puts into motion a frightening plan, decades in the making, to transform America and demonize all those who stand in the way.

The "unprecedented attack" is a nuclear explosion in the Nevada desert that kills a grand total of... three people. What's more, Noah's father, the implausibly evil antagonist, makes it pretty clear afterward that the explosion was not the big deal he wanted it to be:

"It was to be a clean and spectacular event, a thing to be leveraged into a leap forward toward our new beginning. Instead it's become a complete debacle. We were left with an almost unnoticed explosion out in the empty desert that barely rattled a teacup in the nearest town. There aren't even any pictures -- we've had to resort to artists' conceptions and special effects. We'll be up all night trying to make a credible story of it all, to salvage the greatest effect we can."

On the book jacket, the explosion "shakes the country to the core." In the actual book, it "barely rattled a teacup."

Glenn Beck
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