Greta Van Susteren, host of Fox News Channel's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, attorney and former adjunct law professor at Georgetown University, provides readers with her take on a wide variety of subjects in MY TURN AT THE BULLY PULPIT. She recognizes that issues aren't just black or white; there are shades of gray, and she's not hesitant to discuss them.
Van Susteren speaks from the heart when expressing her views and she is not spouting off-the-cuff propaganda. She is a woman of conviction but refuses to be boxed into one school of thought. Like her network, she can reasonably lay claim to opinions that are fair and balanced. Her opinions are well considered and clearly supported in the logical manner one might expect of a former defense attorney as she argues against being pigeonholed as either a liberal or conservative.
MY TURN AT THE BULLY PULPIT also offers a glimpse into Van Susteren's personal life with a frank discussion of her decision (not her network's) to have plastic surgery. This managed to garner unanticipated public attention and a close look at her Midwestern upbringing in a Wisconsin household, where discussion and debate were not only allowed but encouraged by her father --- a lawyer, judge and former campaign manager of Joseph McCarthy.
Van Susteren explains her departure from CNN to a prime-time spot with rival Fox News Channel, which was due in part to the poor treatment of co-workers by AOL and a decided lack of fun at work. Even the offer of a considerable raise was not enough to lure her from her chosen path with Fox. Even while expounding on a myriad of serious topics, Van Susteren manages to find the humor.
She also doesn't mind admitting a few things about herself, such as the fact that she watches the ratings: "I'm competitive; I need and like to have a method of keeping score. I want to win my time slot, to beat out the competition, and I also care about my viewers and don't want to put them to sleep!" She admits that she had to change her opinion about rocker Ozzy Osbourne and his wife, Sharon: "My thought going into the interview was simply this: burned-out rocker with wife. Period. That was what I was expecting and not much more. Boy, was I wrong about this one. Instead I fell in love with both of them."
Van Susteren is fun to watch and read, and loyal viewers are sure to enjoy this book as they get to know her in a way that hasn't been possible in the limited time frame of her one-hour show. I also believe that she'll generate more than a few new followers before she descends from the bully pulpit.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on August 26, 2003