“A sharp and informative smackdown. For Zaitchik, Beck is just one more American con artist in the P.T. Barnum tradition, a shameless pseudoconservative bottom-feeder who will say anything to keep the spotlight on himself while the money rolls in.”

— The New York Review of Books

“An informative study.”

— The New Yorker

“A great political book. Zaitchik tells [Beck’s story] well and nobody has told it more soberly.”


“A superb book…  Shows how Beck’s blackboard schemes are fiction and part of what Zaitchik calls ‘the oceanic audacity of his self-serving ignorance.’”

— The American Prospect

Common Nonsense will tell [Beck’s fans] more than they’ve ever known about him.”

— The Washington Post

“A scathing profile that follows the powerful pundit from a single-parent home in rural Washington state to conservative superstardom.”

The Boston Globe

“A gripping and thoroughly researched biography.”

— Salon

“A far-reaching exposé… Common Nonsense serves up far too many jaw-droppers to recount in this space. An impressive feat.”

— The Boston Phoenix

“A sensational book… This is a beautifully written and insightful biography—thoughtful, considered, and very intentional about the need to understand Beck both as a symbol of something larger going on in America and as a person.”

— Daily Kos

“Fox News host Glenn Beck delights in provocation, and, according to Zaitchik’s new book, he’s always had the knack. Indeed, the book, which Firedoglake calls, ‘careful and studious…part biography, part deconstruction,’ reads like an extended list of all the folks the outspoken conservative pundit has irked during his rise from local radio host to national media icon.”

The Week

“The definitive Beck biography.”

 Anchorage Press

Common Nonsense is quite an indictment of the radically low standards of our modern media industry, and our national discourse.”

— Discover

“A book like Common Nonsense was crying out to be written, and Zaitchik is a talented and incisive wordsmith up to the challenge… Fan or critic, we highly recommend it.”

— Creative Loafing (Tampa Bay)

“The state of the nation’s political discourse is in deep trouble. Whether Beck is a cause or a symptom of that trouble is for you to judge after reading Zaitchik’s valuable book.”

— Creative Loafing (Charlotte)

“A tough critique of the host’s history, philosophies and methods, aimed at separating fact from hyperbole [t]hrough detailed interviews, an examination of Beck’s public statements, and a look at public records.”  

— St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

“Alexander Zaitchik delves deeply into Beck’s rise from a small-town Washington kid to a multimillionaire media phenomenon [in this] useful corrective to the hagiography that Beck’s acolytes subscribe to… Zaitchik is an engaging writer who takes down Beck with strong research and entertaining turns of phrase. If you can tell a man by his enemies, Zaitchik could have done much worse.”

— The Willamette Week (Portland)

“Chock-a-block with fun, laugh-out-loud stories exposing Glenn Beck’s hypocrisy at every turn, this is the first book to peel open the onion of conspiracy and pomposity that is Beck, revealing ever smaller conspiracies and larger pomposities. Common Nonsense is a rollicking rodeo clown ride through Glenn’s life.”


“The arc of Beck’s career is both fascinating and curious [and] Zaitchik has made it a compelling read. Common Nonsense is the first comprehensive examination of Beck’s beginnings – his influences, his childhood, his early radio successes and failures. And, of course, his catapulting to cult leader status by Fox News. This is why Common Nonsense is so valuable.”


“My compulsion to dog-ear every page containing important information, a laugh-out-loud turn of phrase or Zaitchik wielding stinging, sarcastic wit deformed my review copy… Listed as “Current Affairs”, Common Nonsense is written like the best history. Sometime in the future, professors will be assigning Common Nonsense and historians will be referencing it.”

— The Agonist

“In Common Nonsense, noted journalist Alexander Zaitchik explores just how dangerous Beck’s tactics and messaging truly are… Here is the book on Beck.”

— Progressive Book Club