At first glance, Michael Alan Weiner, or, as he's better known by his stage name, Michael Savage, seems like an improbable candidate to be America's angriest, most vicious conservative radio host. Born 60 years ago in the Bronx, Weiner has lived in Northern California for most of his adult life, making a living as an herbalist and nutritionist. He communed with Fijian traditional healers, got married in a rain forest and studied ethno-medicine at the University of California at Berkeley. He swam naked with Allen Ginsberg, dreamed of being the next Lenny Bruce and wrote a rambling novel about a half-mad alter ego. His son's middle name is Goldencloud. For years, he made a name cranking out a pile of books on alternative medicine, recommending bizarre remedies such as using vitamin C to stop AIDS and kicking cocaine with coffee enemas.
Michael Weiner's long and circuitous road has taken him from being a scientist and entrepreneur, through stints as a hipster, novelist and aspiring comedian, to becoming the personification of straight white male rage. But just as his gap-toothed grin has been replaced by a row of airbrushed pearly whites on the front cover of his new book, he gives his audience a whitewashed version of his past. The real story is far more interesting, not just for its ironies and contradictions, but for the often disturbing clues it provides about the man now known as Michael Savage. He's gone through at least one political makeover. He's turned on old friends, or they've turned on him. If his semi-autobiographical novel is any guide to his own life, he's keeping a few skeletons in his closet.
In the end, the picture that emerges from his books, from interviews with past and current associates, and from his radio show is that "The Savage Nation" is just the latest undertaking of a man who's spent his life trying to get the world to notice him.
This book, like its opportunist author, is a shame and a sham.