Ralph Nader's New Project: Novels

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Crusading social critic Ralph Nader has ventured into new territory — the writing of novels. He has just published a 700-page work of fiction called Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

The perennial presidential candidate and social critic Ralph Nader is staking out new territory. He's published a novel, a 700-page novel, a really big, thick book. It's called "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us." Alan Cheuse has a review.

ALAN CHEUSE: So, here's Ralph Nader trying to be a Tom Wolfe in sheep's clothing. He's pimping up an argument about how Americans might organize a movement to take back government from special interests. And he expects readers to come along for a 700-page ride. This is how it goes. More than a dozen or so of the retired super-rich, under the direction of Warren Buffet, set the plan in motion over the course of less than a year. There's George Soros, Ted Turner, Ross Perot and William Gates, Sr., among other billionaires, and some wealthy entertainers: Bill Cosby, Yoko Ono and Warren Beatty, who pitch in.

America, to all of them, is a land where there's only liberty and justice for some. Point well made. And they want the pledge of allegiance to truly cover all citizens. From a headquarters in Maui, yikes, the social critics really know how to live, they established their movement and set up groups to organize labor and some sympathetic businessmen, an attempt to convince a reluctant Congress and president that their path remains the best way to walk the walk. Corporations tried to block them and defame them to no avail.

When Wal-Mart falls in line, you know you're in the true fantasy. And when Rush Limbaugh in these pages known as Bush Bimbaugh loses a live radio debate to Ted Turner, you know you're in the middle of an hysterical fantasy. At 100 pages, the book might've been a bearable fable. At 700-plus, it's an unconscionable attack on America's trees.

NORRIS: Ouch. Ralph Nader's new novel is called "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us." Our reviewer is Alan Cheuse. He assures us his latest book, "A Trance After Breakfast," is not 700 pages long.

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