Book Report: Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story by Paul Aurandt (1977)

I inherited this book, but it is marked fifty cents, so my aunt must have gotten a fairly good deal on it at a yard sale. It’s probably worth that much, but not more.

For those of you who don’t know, you damn kids, Paul Harvey is the Internet for radio. His news programs are full of folksy, mostly true eye-twinkling stories of Americana interspersed with drop ins for macular degeneration medicine and expensive bed systems. Sort of like Charles Brennan’s show on KMOX, except with wit, charisma, and intelligence. Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story features longer bits that tell an anecdote or story about a known or unknown historical persona. Once again, the stories Paul Harvey tells are as true as the Internet: probably true, but don’t base a doctoral dissertation on the premise or anecdote.

This book captures 81 stories of that nature. Paul Aurandt, Paul Harvey’s child (not a love child left behind in Indiana, either; Aurandt is Paul Harvey’s last name) collects them, and although I don’t know if it’s really the case, I suspect he wrote them. Did Paul Harvey read them on the air? Who knows? The style, unfortunately, reflects that tone and pacing, though.

Unfortunately, the pacing of a short radio program doesn’t translate well to the page. It’s too short and choppy. I’ve a similar complaint to Charles Osgood for his collections of The Osgood Files. It’s odd, though, that radio doesn’t translate well, whereas television vignettes of similar duration–such as Dennis Miller’s rants or Andy Rooney’s minutes–do. Were I that interested, I would break down and scan the programs for variations in rhythm displayed when the speaker knows he cannot see the audience and they him.

At any rate, the book was a quick read, easy to pick up for a short duration of reading, and engaging in that these stories want you to guess before the conclusion whose story you’re reading. So it’s a short time waster, brain fodder, and probably eighty percent or more accurate.