San Francisco Bay Guardian Review
 
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An Unreasonable Man is Henriette Mantel and Stephen Skrovan's admiring yet critical portrait of Ralph Nader. The previous century's most famous consumer advocate racked up a roster of triumphs that protected citizens against corporations - that is, until Ronald Reagan commenced ongoing deregulation trends. Famously starting with auto design safety in the early '60s, then encompassing pollution, food and drug guidelines, nuclear power, the insurance industry, and workplace risk-protection, Nader did enough public good during his career - with worldwide legislative ripple effects - to merit secular sainthood. Then he decided to run for president, in 2000, as a Green. He won just enough votes for many Democrats to blame him for the catastrophic ascent of George W. Bush. Needless to say, the latter is no friend of Nader's consumerist lobbying, which suffered a defection of support from nearly all quarters.

Lengthy but engrossing, An Unreasonable Man wants to reclaim Nader's legacy, even as it admits that his black-or-white morality can be both admirable and mulishly exasperating. After all, in the end he didn't rob Al Gore of the Oval Office: with familial help from the Sunshine State, Bush stole it.

 



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