The Conflicted Liberal

The Conflicted Liberal

by Richard A. Schwartz
4.2 34


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The Conflicted Liberal 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
GABOGG More than 1 year ago
The Conflicted Liberal is a book written by Richard A. Scwartz. This eloquent piece of literature presents the reader with a political satire which encompasses around ethical and political dilemmas faced by the main character, Benjamin Branch. Benjamin Branch is a teacher at Florida International University whose life sudden turns led the protagonist to develop numerous internal conflicts he would only be able to resolve with the help of his daughter. The novel begins in retrospect, with the author taking the reader from almost the end of the events. As the order of episode is narrated to us by the protagonist, the reader becomes aware of the different aspects of the life of Benjamin. He is divorced, trying to get his father-daughter relationship stable again, and begins a love affair with a rather peculiar girl named Martina. Martina and Benjamin start sharing same political views; however Martina's extremist behavior against the government (in the 2000 elections) starts causing mental struggles to Benjamin who is trying to keep up with her and her radical attitudes. Benjamin ultimately becomes the hero of this political turmoil by taking the role of the pie thrower (a peaceful form of protest seen in the book). Throughout the novel another dilemma presented is that by the protagonist in the search for his father, who is no other than Thomas Pynchon (Author's Idol). As the title labels it, Benjamin becomes a conflicted man finding it difficult to cope with his own believes. The killing of a right politician by one of the pies causes the ultimate dilemma in Benjamin's head. The novel presents dry humor about politics and economics, a sense of sarcasm in the novel makes it hard to differentiate between what its true and what is not.
DanielleR More than 1 year ago
From pie throwing liberals to political sex talk "The Conflicted Liberal" offers a slightly different humor then most books I have ever read. Its main character Benjamin Branch struggles through his own limits of what is and isn't moral, while his relationships with everyone he has encounter has turned into an unexpected turn. I enjoyed the dialog between the characters the most because t was read like an actual dialog instead of "he said this" or "she said that." I personal enjoy politics so all the discussions helped me stay focused. It also made it hilarious when their arguments about politics would turn into a sexual turn-on for both characters. The twist at the end is one of the main things that had made me appreciate the book. It left me thinking about the book and the decision that was made weeks after having read it. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in politics and someone who is open to a different style of writing.
ArnaldoGarc More than 1 year ago
The Conflicted Liberal by Richard A. Schwartz is a fictional novel telling the story of the author and the many shenanigans he experienced. The book deals with many political themes as well as ethical themes, and political references are constantly being made all throughout the book. I would definitely recommend this book to all conflicted liberals around the world. Asides from the political and ethical themes the book also has an over compassing theme of absurdity that can be hilarious at times. One thing I did not like about the book were the twist, I just found then a bit predictable which is ironic considering this book has a hefty level of craziness in it. Asides from that reading the book was a very pleasant experience. The story is told very well and it has a good flow. It is an entertaining book from start to finish and has some lessons to teach, like all the different uses of the word post modern. The subplots are also very interesting. I often tend to judge books by the richness of their characters and in this particular book, I would have to give it an A plus. All the characters are somewhat different and interesting in their own special way. Everyone has something weird going on whether it is the main character and his search for his famous author father, or his girlfriend marina, with her radical political views, or the mysterious gypsy. Richard Schwartz adds layers to all the characters that make then all compelling and fun to read about.
CindyLouCA More than 1 year ago
"Conflicted Liberal" by Richard A. Schwartz is a book that at first may seem boring because people may think it's only about politics but in fact it isn't. It may be better for people who are really into politics because it makes people go into deep thinking about the events talked in the book. The main character, Benjamin Branch, is a very a man who has been confused on whether his actions are good or bad to others. Throughout the book he meets Martina, a well informed woman who tends to argue with Benjamin over Political views. He falls in love with her bringing more dilemmas to his life. The author tends to bring some humor to the book by adding satires and jokes to the story that to some may seem difficult to understand as it happened to me. I recommend this book to everyone because it involves politics and humor.
RickVargas More than 1 year ago
Apparently I can read everything and anything but this isn't one of them. The only reason I read this was because it was a mandatory read. The book starts off as a reflective moment where the finale of the book is in the beginning amd the book is a looking back on the actions. A good clean fun book full of imagery and sarcastic Americana scenes is what happens after the opening paragraph. The plot is a great idea and it is very creative especially in this time and day. The idea behind the book is that the main character Benjamin Branch, is a very liberal democrat who gets his life twisted when he meets a radical political young women named Martina, who was born and raised in the soviet union. After some pages of hilarious politically charged argument that leads to hilarious politically charged sexual action, a sub plot makes an appearance. That one is the search for Thomas Pynchon. This is where the book loses some of its traction and power. Because the sub plot becomes tied in with the initial plot and in some places it seems as if the plot has changed from the initial "good guy battling his past demons and ideologies" to "little boy looking for daddy and then reality slaps him in the face". And this is throughout the book, so it is easy to lose interest in this book. Other problems are the father daughter conversations and relationships. It is apparent that the author doesn't have any children of his own and these conversations and moments of the book seem to be a little on the creepy side since they seem more appropriate for scenes of two ex-lovers who seem to find each other but agreed to just be friends. In the end though the book provides a lot of good moments filled by a lot of great historic points and thought provoking ideas. If you like to read history and love to think in politics then, pick this up you'll love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Conflicted Liberal is a book that was written by Richard Schwartz, is about politics and since I am not a big fan of politics, when I started to read the first few pages I was not interested. After, I continued to read though, I began to become more interested in the book. The book starts off by telling us about his relationship that he does not have with his daughter, and continues on to show us how he is brought together with her. As he falls in love with Martina, we see that he is in the middle of something that he would not even think of ever doing before. He is asked if he wants to go on a mission, as he begins to question whether to come along or not; this is where he begins to embark on his adventure of being "Batman, the Pie Thrower". Even though I was not a big fan of reading this book at first, I was glad I read it because I was able to start to think and explore more about politics now that I had read this book. So those of you who are really into politics will be captivated by this book, and enjoy how the author writes in both a sarcastic tone, and he incorporates humor as well.
Dpueb More than 1 year ago
The Conflicted Liberal is a thought inspiring book written by Richard A. Scwartz that causes the reader to do some political thinking of their own. This book is a must read for those who are heavy into politics as it wrestles with common moral dilemmas as the main character of the story, Benjamin Branch, is basically in a tug-o-war between if the actions that he's taking are the "right thing to do" or are they just hurting more than they are helping. As this is going on his life begins to collapse before him as he is dealing with constant pressures coming from everywhere. Benjamin and Martina are extremely well informed in politics and tend to boast their knowledge to each other in the political arguments that they tend to have in the novel. This combined with the Matrina's charming good looks causes Benjamin to fall in love with her and cause many dilemmas in his life. There are many jokes and references in the book that require a bit of thinking to get what the author is trying to get at, but they are ultimately very funny. It's a book well suited for those who enjoy dry humor. The book does a very good job of establishing a relationship between the main character and his daughter, Sharon and shows how this helps him solve the problems in his life and deal with the fear of doing the right thing. The Conflicted Liberal is a great book for those who love politics with a bit of satire thrown into the mix.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KarenMi More than 1 year ago
Any books dealing with politics are immediately thrown into my "boring list," yet Richard A. Schwartz's novel The Conflicted Liberal, truly captivated me in a way that no other literary work has before. Its sophistication and interesting characters kept my attention to the last page of the novel. Benjamin Branch, the protagonist, believes he is the bastard son of Thomas Pynchon, a secluded novelist. Throughout the novel he is enveloped within several challenges that test who he is as an individual, causing him to make decisions to change life. Like Martina, Ben understands what is happening in the world around him. Upon the exposure to the 2000 Presidential election, he felt that he must find another way to protest unlike Martina. Both of these characters are similar in regards to the fact that they are very passionate about politics; the difference is that they both handle situations quite differently. In one part of the novel, Ben took the blame for a plan that Martina came up with that would assassinate the president. This shows the fact that he is willing to put her in front of himself, even though he knew the punishment would be great. Besides the characters, I thought the book really did define what the title meant. It dealt with the tale of an individual who was conflicted with his own personal beliefs. Schwartz's choice of diction and syntax truly allowed me to view the characters through their emotions and not just through their actions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Conflicted Liberal is actually a pretty good book, has a lot to deal with politics and deception. I'm not really the kind of person who's ever been interested in politics, but many parts of this novel had me. The novel is based on the life of a Professor who had faced a divorce and got separated from his daughter, his name; Benjamin Branch. Throughout the novel, he faces many political conflicts, tries to find his father, and falls in love all at the same time with Martina. Martina is a woman who is against the government so she talks Benjamin into protesting during the 2000 presidential elections. The Conflicted Liberal is filled with both sarcasm and truth, sometimes it may be hard to differentiate between one and the other. Both fictional and non fictional, Schwartz adds plenty of humor and twists and turns that it is hard to believe. Must Read!
AL_Byr More than 1 year ago
Schwartz' novel The Conflicted Liberal is an interesting and thought provoking read. Some may be put off at first by its political connotations but I assure you they do not hinder the story or bear too heavy on the reader's mind. I myself have no interest in politics but I found that this book presents itself in a way that the reader is able to see how intelligent and thoroughly read the characters are and the reasons that drive their passions. The main character, Benjamin Branch, is faced with many conflicts of moral and ethical natures as his life rapidly changes due to pressures he can't control. Letting his heart get the best of him, Branch changes from a passive and unimportant bystander to a public and national murderer, albeit accidentally. Emerging personal relationships have forced Branch to choose the sides of those he loves, even though they go against everything he believes. I like this book because it poses questions that the reader can ask his or herself about the decisions that they themselves have made. Although there are parts that may become repetitious, for example the ample mentioning's of certain instances being characterized as "Pynchonesque" begins to jump out at you often, the narrative flows with an ease that captures the reader's attention spans. Characters are colorful, imaginative, and well thought out, almost as if they were based on real people. The story is entertaining and absurd, bordering on the impossible but real enough to make it seem plausible. This book tingles the intellectual senses and I recommend it to anyone that is looking for a book that can stimulate the mind.
PedroInfante89 More than 1 year ago
The book The Conflicted Liberal by Richard A. Schwartz is a fictional story that contains many intricate and thought provoking events. People from all cultural backgrounds can probably relate to this story filled with many faltering moral issues. Benjamin Branch, the main character in the text, is worn to shreds between what's correct, and what others expect of his character. Benjamin branch and Martina show how they are very well informed individuals about contemporary politics, and put forward their own political views in frequent arguments they have. The author is heavily aware of the detail on specific times and events mentioned in the story; this made this book very realistic and easy to relate to, being that I live in Miami. This piece of literature, The Conflicted Liberal by Richard A. Schwartz, is a book people here in Miami can easily relate to; Seeing how the different cultural backgrounds clash in their political theories and how Hispanics have changed the city's future. In this novel the notion of the "absurd" is an underlying theme on throughout. The vocabulary and language used by Schwartz makes it very easy to picture what is happening at that point in time; giving the reader a first hand feel for what is being read.
EricAmbert More than 1 year ago
The book The Conflicted Liberal by Richard A. Schwartz is a fictional story that contains many nonfictional people, place, and events. Lots of people from many different backgrounds can relate to this tale of morals. This story is creatively written with hard facts woven in and out like and intricate web. The authors' love for dilemma combined with his detailed knowledge of contemporary politics yields this hard-to-put-down novel. I found myself laughing aloud at comments, puns, and jokes because they actually took thought to understand and made them so much better when you got them. Because politics and history is a little boring, so this gives it a good twist of humor. The main character Benjamin Branch is a whiny, spineless character with an air of unjustified arrogance about him. He makes you wonder why a college professor hitting mid-life doesn't have a better sense of who he is and is so easily manipulated by someone almost half his age. I really liked how the entire book is full of situations that aren't common in your average book choice. I definitely recommend others to read this book to get a taste of something different.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Conflicted Liberal is an amazingly well written American fiction book by Richard A. Schwartz. Richard A. Schwartz manages to put fictional characters in a time period of fictional events but at same time allow these fictional characters to engage in conversations about real life people and allow for their personalities to be affected by real life events and real life educational topics. Richard A. Schwartz¿s writing creates an unbelievable and memorizing series of events that Benjamin Branch experiences through two years after meeting a Czech born bisexual female graduate student by the name Martina. Benjamin Branch is a history professor whose research interest includes trying to dispel the myth of eugenics and Benjamin can be described as a passive liberal that is on a mission to find his father who he believes is to be the novelist Thomas Pynchon. Martina who becomes Benjamin¿s girlfriend after first encountering each other at a Fourth of July party thrown by Benjamin¿s close friend Brian Mulligan can be described as a passionate radical who forever changes the life of Benjamin Branch and forces him to choose between her and his moral responsibility. Benjamin¿s love for Martina and his lust for her extremely good looks and intelligence start his major conflict within himself. Benjamin Branch life takes a harsh change when he starts to use pie-throwing as a form of non-violent political activism but his non-violent form of political activism ends up becoming involuntary manslaughter when he hits Marion Hines an anti-gay activists in the face with a pie and she suddenly dies from heart attack. Author Richard A. Schwartz does a create job of allowing Benjamin to develop a relationship with his daughter Sharon, meet his father Burnt Umber and stop an assassination attempt on President Bush¿s by the HLF and finally dealing with his conflict of fear to just do the RIGHT THING.
cm34 More than 1 year ago
The conflicted liberal is one hell of a book it not only deals with a man trying to free himself but also deals with betrayal, murder and politics. You have Benjamin who gets involved romantically with this Russian lady name Martina in which he sees that she has these radical ideas into how to influence politics. At the other hand you have Benjamin¿s daughter which also gets involved in what her dad Benjamin and Martina are doing in regards of supporting terrorist acts to support their causes. It turns out to be that Benjamin¿s father Thomas Pynchon or so he thought was he's father turns out he's not. Benjamin through out this whole book is trying to find himself and free himself from what¿s going around him. His lover Martina coming out of the closet and as well as his daughter, Benjamin takes the triple punch and works hard to free himself. He becomes free, free from being a conflicted liberal
Guest More than 1 year ago
When faced with the dilemmas and problems life throws at us, we all respond differently. As trying times call for desperate measures, we begin to doubt ourselves and our belief systems. The qualities and values we possess become a thing of the past and the world as we view it becomes an unfamiliar place. Richard Schwartz¿s novel The Conflicted Liberal explores the journey of Benjamin Branch, a history professor who embarks on a life changing adventure that changes his views on life, leading to the most important discovery possible, his true self. As we move through the motions of life, we often forget to stop for a minute and take a good hard look at our surroundings and the events that are shaping the world around us. Influential people in our lives often make our decisions we act upon others wants and needs instead of our own. In this instance we see Branch, transform from a respected man of value to a child like, pie throwing figure. Despite holding true to his political interests, we see a remarkable change in his beliefs and morals as a result of his relationship with Martina. While gaining an insight into the protesting world, we see Branch acting out of character and transform into a killer, which helps to symbolize how extreme we as humans may act in order to gain a sense of belonging. Change is an essential part of life. As we grow, the challenges we face open us up to new ways of thinking and we act according. Throughout the novel we see Branch¿s personality and thought process change but not by his own accord. He is influenced by his young love Martina and she becomes the reason behind his immoral actions. It is not until the end, that he realizes that in order to be at peace with ourselves, ¿we must accept our own beliefs and values¿. Only then can we get the happiness and rewards that comes with ¿being true to ourselves¿. Overall Schwartz did a great job of making readers realize the power and importance of our values. Although the novel lacked heartfelt emotion and narrative flair, the continual political references and comparisons explored gave us insight into Schwartz¿s unquestionable knowledge on the political system and its ways. However, the more we are exposed to his main character Branch we realize that even during intimate times, he has one thing on his mind, history, and this becomes a little too much to absorb. If we are to learn a lesson from this novel, we could take relationships, the political system or self discovery into account. However, as rewarding as these concepts may be, it is important that we recognize something else. The trouble and choices that Branch makes helps him to discover his true identity. Therefore, as we go through life, it becomes clear that we will make mistakes, break rules and go against our own morals but we are the ones responsible for getting back on track and following the path we wish to travel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Conflicted Liberal is rather deceitful based on the cover, as the fictional novel tends to provide boredom with its lengthy dialogue. It¿s absurd that the pie throwing cover would attract people to think that this book is a humorous political rally against the presidential campaign, but it¿s actually the opposite. However, I do commend the fact this book may have or may not have been inspired by American Beauty as the character Benjamin is hypnotized by the beauty of Martina who would do anything she says. The comparison is too similar as the both main characters are infatuated with a young women and it changes their life dramatically as the result of meeting them. I appreciate the author¿s rather political dialogue, as he does go into historical references displaying his knowledge. The characters are authentic however, the interaction between them is non believable. Example is the prologue where he stated that his wife and daughter severe ties with him, but afterwards, it contrasts as they develop a strong bond between one another. The ending is definitely unexpected, and makes the story satisfying after all that suspense that lead up to it, which I will not spoil. Recommended? If you¿re interested in political humor and suspense, otherwise, you¿ll have a hard time reading as this book tends to put you in a sleeping mood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Conflicted Liberal by Richard A. Schwartz was a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. The novel follows the life of the young Benjamin Branch as he faces moral conflicts in many of the decisions his friends push him to make. For the most, I enjoyed the comedic spin Schwartz put on the political themes described throughout the novel. I felt he did a fine job of that given that politics in their entirety bore me to tears. For example, the comedic batman-pie-thrower interpretation of political activism was hilarious. I also found the death of one of their targets to be ironic and at the same time very funny. I did however find the novel at given points too farfetched to follow and take seriously, so much so that the underlined theme of moral in ambiguity was overshadowed entirely. For example, the portion of the novel where Martina and Benjamin make love was so unbelievable that I had to put the book and think to myself, ¿is this really possible?¿ Line after line they would blurt out political puns that were almost like a fetish to them. Despite the few drawbacks, I found the book both entertaining and informative. I would recommend the novel to both political and fictional readers. Though it can get a little weird at times, the text picks itself back up in moments.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could do this in a thousand words, but those thousand could be condensed into four: I liked this book. But even so I¿ll be the first to admit it was far from perfect. Some of Schwartz¿s ideas are pure absurdist gems (especially W.A.S.T.E and the method of assassination chosen by the Hysterical Lesbians) but the periods in-between such ideas make for a rather less than delightful read. Something that irked me was that at times the narrative would become introspective and dealt with massive philosophical question. Don¿t get me wrong, I enjoyed the introspection I just don¿t think it went well with the absurd portion of the novel. Also, the novel is too dependent on Thomas Pynchon. Understandably, the character thinks he is his son (oops, spoiler alert), and yes he eventually becomes a character in the novel but¿too much is laid up against Mr.Pynchon, and perhaps the novel would have worked better if Mr.Schwartz had used a fictional author. Minor complains, but overall: I liked this book. Of interest is that South Park had an episode a while ago wherein a character kept trying to come up with new ideas to do something and another character would tell him that ¿The Simpsons did it!¿, much to the first characters consternation. I bring this up because in the 15th season of The Simpsons Homer donned a costume (Pie-Man!) and would cream evil-doers in the face with pies. Sound a bit familiar? I did some research and The Conflicted Liberal was published in 2006 but the original Simpsons episode aired May 2, 2004. I¿m terribly sorry Mr.Schwartz, but ¿The Simpsons did it¿ first.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading Conflicted Liberal because it was an interesting story even if it was a little absurd at times but I think the absurdity served the author¿s purposes. The book made me think about how so many of us care about our surroundings and the world we live in, but many times we don¿t take action to create a better place. Benjamin¿s character has never really been actively involved in politics or reform and certain events cause him to become involved. It shows how sometimes as citizens of this country, we don¿t take real action until something has affected us personally. Just sitting around and complaining about it or debating about issues doesn¿t really accomplish anything. Even the most intellectual people with so much to offer have no effect unless efforts are made to create change. In the book, Benjamin considers himself an intellectual but it serves no purpose unless he puts it to good use. His girlfriend Martina, is the other extreme. She is a fanatic and wants to ignore laws and although she is wrong, she needed to rub off a little on Benjamin. I would recommend this book to friends, especially those that want change and yet do nothing to accomplish it. Perhaps this will motivate and inspire people into action. A good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Conflicted Liberal provides a unique view and opinions as to extreme and absurd political activists. Schwartz writes a zany story about a man who steps away from his monotonous lifestyle as a professor and becomes a infamous masked man dubbed the pie thrower. The consequences of his new title comes at a hefty price that you'll have to read to see, this story provides intense situations that makes it an interesting read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Conflicted Liberal presents the story of a man whose life suddenly and rapidly falls apart just as fast as it got better. Within a matter of months, protagonist Benjamin Branch gets into a romantic relationship, rekindles his relationship with his estranged daughter, earns instant fame, and gets to meet Thomas Pynchon, a man he¿s believed for years to be his father. However, things rapidly take a turn for the worse after his lover, Martina, as well as his daughter, Sharon, and her best friend, Helena, all reveal themselves as bisexual. Soon, Branch begins to notice Martina¿s fierce temper and that her radically leftist stance includes supporting terrorist acts for her causes. Martina and Helena persuade Sharon into believing in Martina¿s absurd behavior, putting her once again at odds with her father. Branch participates in a non-violent pie-throwing attack on popular right-wing activist Marion Hines in order to prevent a more violent one, ironically killing her in the process. Finally, Branch learns that Thomas Pynchon is not his father, and that his real father is a homeless man who goes by various aliases, including ¿Burnt Umber¿ and ¿Lift `n¿ Separate.¿ It¿s clear from the text that Richard A. Schwartz is pinpointing lesbians. Each and every lesbian character in Schwartz¿s book is portrayed as far left-wing, feminist, extremist, temperamental, and especially ¿absurd.¿ It¿s worth noting that before they came out, Martina, Helena, and Sharon were courteous, agreeable, likeable, and easy to talk to. Although the way Schwartz clumps together this group of people may seem unfair, even discriminatory, the eventual breakdown left him feeling maybe not resentment for lesbians, but certainly a sense of wariness. This is no clearer than in the scene near the end of Chapter 8 after the group learns of Marion Hines¿s death. Branch argues that they should turn themselves in, while Martina believes that Hines deserved to die. Sharon, distraught over the situation, starts to cry. Branch makes an attempt to comfort her, but he is pushed away be Helena, who holds her says: ¿Honey, I don¿t want to fight with your father. But he wants us to spend the next twenty years locked up with a bunch of mean, fat, smelly, over-sexed dykes just to satisfy some principle he read about in a book. And I¿m telling you right now, I¿m not going to do it¿. I¿m not going to let you do it, either¿ (Schwartz, 84). Sharon agrees with Helena, and, largely outnumbered and without his daughter¿s support, Branch decides not to go to the police. This scene symbolizes how Schwartz felt that homosexuality stole away his loved ones and was offhandedly responsible for his beliefs being sacrificed. It should be noted though that Richard A. Schwartz is likely not homophobic. This book was in a way a form of therapy for him, and under incredible circumstances he managed to create a well-composed, thought-provoking anthology. Given what absurdity others manage to form their dislike for their current situation into, as witnessed through Martina, writing this book was the best choice of obtaining peace of mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Conflicted Liberal is an interesting book about extreme political views and absurd acts of protest. The book's satire of political extremists makes it funny and insightful, and the love triangles keep it entertaining. The only downside for me was the last chapter, which was overly idealistic. Other than that, the book was a pretty engaging read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What actually is absurd? Absurdness may have various interpretations. In society conspiracies seem to be absurd or ¿out of the normal¿ and Richard Schwartz¿s The Conflicted Liberal is just that, out of the normal. Schwartz uses absurdness such as conspiracies of super humans created by a group of people in order to overcome dramatic societal problems, for example that Jews created Super-humans to overcome their problems with other cultures in this novel. Schwartz uses absurdness to bring fantasy and realism together by writing about true events such as protestors against gays and the event of protesting against president elect George Bush in 2000. The fantasy comes in when the protestors are given fatuous names and descriptions of Pocahontas and Batman. Schwartz¿s brings out the ¿kid¿ in us all and allows them to be accepted by a politically corrupted government. If you are into dreaming about doing something absurd but are stopped by laws and rules, read the book and enjoy the fantasy, but if you¿re a politician it may be somewhat troubled, hence the title The Conflicted Liberal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The conflicted liberal entails Benjamin Branch's struggle to find many things in his life. He struggles to find the acceptance of his peers and He also is on a quest to find his father. This novel is also set in during the 2000 presidential campaign where Branch is very much a part of in a not so presidential way. All in all, this novel is filled with absurd anecdotes and thought-provoking expressions that can entertain the casual reader.