cover image Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart

Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart

Lisa Rogak, Read by Cassandra Campbell. Tantor Audio, , unabridged, 6 CDs, 6.5 hours, $34.99 ISBN 978-1-4945-0555-4

Cassandra Campbell brings a relaxed, casual tone to her narration of this unauthorized biography of political comedian Jon Stewart. It’s hard to imagine Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, born into an ordinary middle-class household in New Jersey, would grow up to become the satirical voice of a generation. Rogak chronicles this trajectory from childhood soccer player, to stand-up comedian, to Daily Show anchor. Along the way listeners learn of Stewart’s love of rock legend Bruce Springsteen, his supposedly mercurial temperament, and bits from his personal life. Most of this content is taken from previously published interviews rather than original reporting. To reader Campbell’s credit, she narrates Rogak’s superficial bio with a smooth, professional delivery that keeps the book moving at an easy pace for listening. She avoids trying to imitate Stewart’s voice, but manages to slip in just the right amount of humor when quoting him. This is an entertaining overview of Stewart’s life read well by Campbell. One only wishes the material had more depth. A St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne hardcover. (Sept.)