book reviews

Book reviews of three of Branyon's books                                                                                             as well as video of a presentation of Freethinking: The Outlawed Outer Limits for which the author is available to present upon request. Please go to contacts for scheduling. 





Some Liberating Liberals reviews:


Bill Branyon has issued a call to liberals to become “free-thinkers” rather than doctrinaire politicos and to live with more joy in their lives. The spirit behind Branyon’s book is enthusiastic and joyful. He is clearly a man who enjoys laughter, and his sense of humor carries onto the pages of Liberating Liberals. The book’s chief asset is it exhortation to liberals embrace this sense of joy and spontaneity. Jeff Minick Smokey Mountain News

In Liberating Liberals, Branyon wants to turbocharge the liberal [freethinking] advantage by increasing the range of free thought. Liberals aware of their own stuck points can more easily walk a mile in the other gal’s red, white and blue stiletto pumps. It’s a timely reminder for a culture bogged down in political trench warfare. Dr. Mike Hopping, psychiatrist and author of McTiernan’s Bottle, Meet Me in Paradise, and Ben and the Immaculate Conception

This is intriguing. Seems to me that most idealistic points-of-view are self-righteous, antagonistic, and myopic. With them, you're either right or you're wrong. It takes an open mind to see and hear the truths among the lies. And, since the most believable, and therefore dangerous, lies have at least a grain of truth in them, this is a very serious matter. So, it is heartening to hear of someone who is willing to attempt to synthesize a greater truth from opposing sides. James David Redstock

Branyon’s challenge to the basis and practice of ethics may prove revelatory. When the author exercises his acerbic wit, he’s as funny as a army of meercats marauding in a staid coronation.   Cecil Bothwell, Asheville City Councilor and author of Whale Falls: an explanation of beliefs and its consequences.

The self-imposed task of Bill Branyon’s Liberating Liberals is all but impossible…. Illuminate, from every angle, everything mentally achieved so far…… and the shadows that those achievements cast. The only negative for this slim volume is the insistent, ever present presentation of opposites and alternatives for our free-range! intellects. But yes, it is a worthy read, enjoyable and intellectually stimulating — and — honestly optimistic!           Jane White

Bill is a delightful speaker, well-read and erudite about history, philosophy, contemporary culture, and other topics – without ever being pompous. His humor leavens the seriousness of his subject matter and offers the audience a door into philosophical realms where deep thought doesn’t demand a solemn spirit.   A. D. Reed, actor, publisher (Pisgah Press), director, writer, editor

Pitting Nietzsche against Jesus in terms of meaninglessness and meaning, Branyon artfully clarifies religion/spirituality/philosophy for the liberal freethinker. Contrasting Kurt Vonnegut and Groucho Marx, he gives the reader comic distance on today's most painful problems. And juxtaposing the nonviolent morality of Gandhi with the violent, moral relativity of Machiavelli, he steers liberals towards the most effective political choices. And it's all done with often hilarious, often breathtaking, concrete examples that leave the reader feeling that their freethinking universe has suddenly grown exponentially larger and telescopically more clear.  Dav Charlton


Liberating Liberals reveals Nietzsche's greatest contribution to the continuing human conversation to be the light he shone on our tendency to shelter hidden assumptions called the the "shadows of God.” They function much like mental prisons, effectively stifling the generation of the fresh approaches vital to creating the better world we envision.  Sherrill Knight – preschool teacher and mother of four.

There are books that one merely wanders through, and these can be a reader’s delight. More delightful is wandering through such a book and discovering a glimpse of treasure.  Just such a glimpse inspired my imagination recently, while wandering through Asheville author Bill Branyon’s recent book, Liberating Liberals. His chapter X, the brief tenth, is a marvelous discourse on the advantages of a “mixed economy,” presented in a rational, layman-friendly manner. His notion that nearly 80% of our economy is an expression of ego, may not resonate with Milton Friedman’s Chicago Boys – but it is a clever analysis and a refreshing example of organic intellectualism.                                      Dal Raiford, PGA golf pro.

Bill, let me tell you. I really enjoyed your talk. I mean it. You were terrific! You were so personable, and came across very genuine. You "had" your audience, dude. You gave them what they came for. Steve Livingston, actor, activist and reclamation expert of broken media machines.

Branyon serves up a rich stew of political philosophy. Instead of picking out our favorite pieces, liberals are encouraged to create new recipes for a changing world, to switch off the Myth America pageant and unplug from the Matrix. Bill seems to ask: Where do we place ourselves in a “Bleeding Heart – Bled To Death” spectrum of liberal activism?       Larry Abbot Musician, mechanic and Green Party activist.

Read Branyon’s Liberating Liberals and find a cogent philosopher who cares, caught between idealism for a better world and the realism of human frailty. In his bitingly witty style dotted with clever cliches, freethinkers can find pointers to wisdom, common sense and sincere hope. Peg Rhodes author of A Slender Volume of Poetry and Short Stories.

Liberating Liberals is an entertaining and subversively therapeutic opus for all wayward liberals. Branyon gently – and sometimes not so gently – reminds us that even freethinkers need to be constantly set free. Howard Hanger, ordained Methodist Minister; pastor of Jubilee! Church

A long time observer of the Asheville political and cultural scene, Branyon navigates the tumultuous crosscurrents of right-left politics via historical and philosophical soundings and charts a way forward for all who aspire to free-thinking.  Wally Bowen, CEO of MAIN, Mountain Area Information Network (radio station, independent internet provider, and media literacy center.

Liberating Liberals author Bill Branyon has woven a masterfully crafted work that challenges even the freest of free-thinkers and forces them to re-examine their stance on politics! Pamela Townes



Reviews of Asheville NC, Circa 2000 AD: Confessions of a Serial Monogamist

“The adventures of Branyon’s alter ego in the Courts of Love are erotic and tender and funny… Sometimes Branyon is Virgil leading the reading through the dark ways of Asheville, freezing memorable moments, framing images, sometimes of great pathos and beauty… “Branyon has a keen and often heartbreakingly compassionate eye that is genuine and genuinely funny. He has a narrative voice of innate gentlemanliness. There are moments in the novel that are electrifying. Branyon could be the next Clyde Edgerton. Asheville should offer him a post of City Scribe.”

David Hopes Pulitzer Prize Nominated playwright, poet and novelist. Writing in the Critical Review. Author of Bird Songs of the Mesozoic, Abbott's Dance, Man in Flight, Edward The King, 7 Reece Mews, A Dream of Adonis, A Sense of the Morning and A Childhood in the Milky Way.

“Branyon’s novel is often hilarious, a king of Mickey Spillane meets Kurt Vonnegut while Bill Murray cracks one-liners.”

Patrice Tapee in Rapid River Arts Newspaper

The book is sheer titillation for Asheville and has a whopping 200 plus character and describes almost every one of them as a cross between two movie stars. This becomes a weird, guilty fun. Frequently real names of people and businesses are used. In the most hysterically inventive identity switch CIBO, the Council of Independent Businesses Owners, becomes JIHED, the Joined Invisible Hands of the Entrepreneurial Darwanists.

Marcia Barber in Mountain Xpress

A fun and funny fast-paced through fifteen years of Asheville politics and culture. Filled with community commentary the novel will light the way to a flight of fantasy on everyone’s wish list. If you’re looking for something to identify with, this is it!

Leni Sitnick Mayor of Asheville 19916-2000

Bill Branyon has written an analysis of small-town society that I find hilarious and scintillating. Although based on his experiences in Asheville, NC, his elbow-in-the-ribs and tongue-in-cheek comments can apply anywhere.

Gene Rainey  Chairman of the Buncombe County Commissioners 1988-1996, Political Science Professor of UNCA, Preacher at Christ Church.

With a rich palette of local color Asheville NC, circa 2000 AD hilariously depicts scores of Asheville’s well-known characters from Mayors to madmen, preachers to paupers, nonviolent activists to conservative reactivists. While holding to the claim that serial monogamy is the true state of most of America’s middle-aged baby boomers, the hero tries to formulate solid ground rules for the new mating game.

Clare Hanrahan author of Jailed for Justice and Half Life of a Free Radical and alumni of Alderson Federal Prison

                                             BILL BRANYON

                                             BILL BRANYON

Book Reviews of Billy Graham’s Glorious Jam

Hilarious, delirious and serious. A 20th Century history of American religion and a raging comedy whose plot encompasses the future of small Southern town — and the fate of the Earth.

David Hopes Pulitzer-nominated playwright, poet and novelist. English Professor at UNCA. Author of Bird Songs of the Mesozoic, Abbott's Dance, Man in Flight, Edward The King, 7 Reece Mews, A Dream of Adonis, A Sense of the Morning and A Childhood in the Milky Way.

Like the tantalized couples in Moonlighting, characters Jake and Cathy sustain a unrequited attraction that defies time. In the face of the severe Depression of 2028, the renegade President all but disbands the Federal Government. Each state does it’s own wacky thing. This is a great and humorous vehicle.

  Rob Neufeld book reviewer for Ashville Citizen Times.

Significant portions are set in the near future, and some of the grabbier scenes
involve such high-tech developments as spectroms (the next development in
virtual reality gadgets)- yet the book isn’t science fiction, nor is it a historical
novel. Rather, it is an excursion into the creator’s unique inner world where
enchantment is embodied in the interweaving of history, fiction and everyday life.
After tracing Branyon’s multi-leveled journey, readers may indeed see their home
place (whether it’s Asheville, the United States, or the world) differently.

Peter Gregutt, editor and book reviewer for the Mountain Xpress