Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The Harvard-educated comedian, talk-show host, and U.S. Senator chronicles the story of his unlikely senatorial campaign, detailing the ensuing months-long recount and what his service has taught him about America's deeply polarized political culture.
Publisher: New York :, Twelve,, 2017.
Edition: First hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781455540419
Branch Call Number: BIO FRANKEN A. Franken 05/2017
Characteristics: vi, 406 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations (chiefly color) ;,24 cm


From Library Staff

Also by Al Franken: Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot; Oh the Things I know; Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them; and The Truth (with Jokes)

Rose - 4.5 stars. Rose enjoyed this, appreciated what it took for Franken to transform from comedian to senator.

Melissa - (I apologize if this WASN'T Melissa's book - couldn't read my own notes!!! - Lorie) Listening to the audio of this. Melissa says funny but probably not as funny as his other books.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 24, 2019

Lost interest in this one after 'Me,Too' info surfaced

Jun 02, 2019

This is a fun, frank sharing of Al Franken’s career before, through, and after his Senate race. Throughout this book, he foretells political challenges he sees for our country in the Trump era.

Al Franken introduces the “dehumorizer”. This practice acts as a filter that dehumorizes jokes which might be considered to be in bad taste or politically unwise but “are still funny anyway”. His entire staff has this responsibility to keep his wise remarks in check and the Senator out of trouble with the media.

He shares his inner turmoil regarding telling one liners in the hearing of/recording range of reporters. There is the angel on one shoulder admonishing, “Now, Al…” and the devil on the other encouraging, “It’ll get a huge laugh…That line will kill.” Having a very successful past in comedy (SNL writer and performer) can be tough to reign in.

Al Franken closes with a call to action for all of us as follows:

1. What can I do now?

2. Keep being a pain in the butt (to your political leaders), show up.

3. Become an advocate for your cause.

4. Keep your head up. Watch what’s going on in the world.

What will your next step be? What will you do?

Al Franken, as reader, has great delivery and impact because it is his story. Listening to AF reading is like getting together for a coffee with a kindly, favorite Uncle to hear his reminiscences and concerns for this country’s future.

So smart and timely! You want this man (Al Franken) as Senator asking the tough questions to leaders of industry, politicos, the military – anyone who needs to be very clear about their plans, past activities, etc. that would impact negatively on the US and it’s citizenry even if you don’t agree with his politics. This book is very encouraging but honest about what we each need to do for the future of our country.

Jul 21, 2018

I laughed hard, when I wasn't wanting to cry when Franken describes how messed up things are In Washington. Written during and after the 2016 election cycle--Franken is still really, really funny, and a good chunk of the book is dedicated to conscious efforts to keep his humour in check in the Senate, via the "Dehumorizer". And he pretty much sums up trump's lies (including the ones tinged with racism and paranoia) in the final chapter.

Apr 25, 2018

This is a really good book but given what has transpired to Al Franken since its publication the book read a bit like a tragedy. (Especially when reading chapter 16 and how he had to defend himself against, at that time, false accusations of disrespecting women.)

In truth, I am very upset about what happened to him. As a comedian, I never cared that much for his work. He was funny but crude. As a political analyst, I found him entertaining but too partisan to be taken as serious political commentary. Then he fought for a seat in the senate and had succeeded in gaining my respect for many of the good things he was achieving. Alas, this scandal undid what was shaping up to be an impressive political career.

What he did was bad but I don't think he should have been pushed to resign. The photo that was taken of him was stupid behaviour but he apologized and his victim accepted his apology. He did not commit the offence while in office. The half dozen accusations of inappropriateness that followed (half of those denouncing Franken did so anonymously, I believe) were tame and could have been misinterpreted. Came in for a kiss, hugged too tight, hand brushed a buttock. Compared to Trump's misdeeds, Rob Moore's, at the time, and probably many others, the fact that Franken lost his job and not the others is frustrating. He had proven that he was the type to have actually taken positive steps to repair the damage. He could have been trusted to made amends and spearhead positive initiatives. Dang shame he was ousted.

Excellent read. Interesting and funny.

Dec 31, 2017

Franken gives a detailed look at what it was like campaigning and being in the Senate. The book looks behind the scenes look at how the Senate operates, how Senators relate to each other even across party lines, and how gridlock happens. Franken is funny, even while he's writing about having to try to not be funny. There's a good balance between being serious about issues that affect his constituents, and also looking at some of the absurdity in American politics.
However, I feel like there is now a big asterisk besides this book.
I had this book was on hold at the library for months, and I would have had a very different opinion of it if I had read it when I first requested it. In light of the sexual harassment allegations against Al Franken and his resignation from the Senate it's impossible to read this book without that cloud hanging over every word. It's hard to read about how much he enjoyed going on USO tours, how his kids wanted to make sure he didn't have anything to hide before he decided to run for the Senate, or how he felt like he was being unfairly labelled as sexist for things he said when he was a comedy writer.

PimaLib_NormS Nov 29, 2017

It just so happened that I was in the middle of reading Al Franken’s book, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate”, when the news broke about Franken’s inappropriate behavior towards women. My first thought was, “Really Al? C’mon, not you, too.” I’ve always liked Al Franken. I remember him from the early days of Saturday Night Live. (Who else out there remembers that the original title for the show was, “NBC’s Saturday Night”?). I have appreciated his humor, plus he and I share similar political views. The book is an insider’s account of the political process by someone who has not spent his entire life running for office. And, it has the added bonus of being appropriately funny. So, I liked the book. But, because he apparently is some kind of serial groper, I can’t just enjoy the book for what it is, I feel that I have to consider his baggage now. Will a positive review of his book cause some to see it as support for a sexual harasser? Does his abhorrent behavior render meaningless the good things he has done in his life? Should it? So many famous and semi-famous men are being outed for being sexual harassers, or worse. Which leads one to wonder, well, are there degrees of harassment? All sexual harassment is bad, of course, but is what one guy did worse than what another did? Who decides? These are just a few of many questions I don’t know how to answer.

Nov 25, 2017

Very interesting. I learned a great deal about campaigns and working in the government. I am sorry that so much time has to be spent raising funds to run. That has to be annoying for any politician. At times, I become impressed with what they have to do to get elected and then serve and at other times I wonder why they are such "gluttons for punishments".

Nov 10, 2017

I read this book recovering from surgery in a narcotic haze. Perfect choice. It was "laugh out loud" funny at times and very enlightening regarding the workings of our broken government. A great, educational, enjoyable read.

Nov 07, 2017

I'm giving this only 4 stars only because I find Franken much more interesting to listen to than to read. He's an extremely intelligent, comical and satirical person. And I believe he is highly ethical and hard working - one of the good guys.

I found it interesting to learn what is involved in running for office and winning. but his amazing sense of humour and satire come through far more when he talks.

Oct 28, 2017

The first 200 pages just flew by--probably the most interesting auto-biography I have ever read. That was followed by about 200 pages of me saying "this cannot be happening in the United States of America! It sounds like third world politics of countries in Africa and South East Asia." Highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand what is wrong with our country.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at My Library

To Top