Andy Rooney's weekly commentaries on 60 Minutes and his twice-weekly syndicated newspaper columns-addressing everything from deceptive cereal packaging to the existence of God-have made him America's best-known critic of the quotidian. As you might imagine, he gets a lot of letters in response to his often iconoclastic views. As you might not expect, he writes a lot of letters, too.
Now Rooney has collected the funniest, wisest, and most interesting of his letters, spanning several decades and addressing issues both momentous and trivial. He responds to complaints from viewers; he corresponds with old friends; and he writes to his children about the things he cares about most. Variously caustic, hilarious, and sage, these unfailingly entertaining letters reveal not only Rooney the iconoclast but Rooney the American Everyman. Sincerely, Andy Rooney is Andy Rooney at his best-and a wonderful gift book that will make readers chuckle and think twice.
Rooney's distinctive whining voice comes through in this collection of his letters to fans, friends, CBS executives, tax collectors and others. The popular TV commentator and curmudgeon-in-residence sallies forth with ripostes at shady car dealers, astrologers, lawyers, modern poetry, deceptive packaging, tobacco industry duplicity and George Patton ("the most over-rated general of WW II"). While these seem like easy targets, at least in this epistolary shooting gallery (which contains only Rooney's correspondence, not the letters that prompted them), he occasionally sounds off even more forthrightly here than on television. Explaining his agnosticism in a very personal letter to his four children, Rooney states that religion is illogical, impedes the progress of civilization and doesn't make people nicer to each other. In a letter to the Advocate, he apologizes for his insensitive broadcast remarks about homosexuality, then pours fuel on the fire by vouchsafing his opinion that homosexuality is "a behavioral aberration" and that he finds gay sex repugnant--but adds that he has had many gay friends and denies he's homophobic. On the lighter side, Rooney celebrates the pleasures of home and family, watching football, drinking bourbon, banging away on old typewriters and woodworking. Entertaining and witty, but also at times pontificating and arch, these letters span half a century, encompassing his struggles as a freelance magazine writer, his work as a CBS documentary scriptwriter and his bombing missions as a WWII pilot. Besides the replies to 60 Minutes watchers, there are conversational missives to Will Rogers, Bill Moyers, Helen Gurley Brown, E.B. White, Eric Sevareid, Walter Annenberg, Peggy Noonan and Barry Goldwater. Though devoted fans may enjoy this breezy compendium, the overall impression is of slight material and too much self-indulgent ephemera.