- New York Times non-fiction book critic Jennifer Szalai tore into Ron DeSantis’ book on Monday.
- Szalai wrote that DeSantis’ new book “reads like the memoirs of a politician put out by ChatGPT”.
- She also wrote that the Florida governor’s book has no charisma.
A book critic for the New York Times has sharply criticized the new memoir of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“While his first book was strange and esoteric enough to have obviously been written by a human, this one reads like a politician’s memoir put out by ChatGPT,” wrote non-fiction book critic Jennifer Szalai in her review Monday.
She was referring to OpenAI’s AI generative tool, ChatGPT, which is known to produce content ranging from college essays to full-length books.
Szalai also wrote that DeSantis’ memoir, “The Courage to Be Free,” appeared to be “courageously free of anything resembling charisma, or a palpable sense of humor.”
“His new book will leave some supporters, who encouraged DeSantis to ‘humanize’ himself to a national audience, deeply disappointed,” Szalai said.
“In his acknowledgments, he thanks ‘a hard-working team of literary professionals who were critical to telling Florida’s story,’ but those professionals could probably only do so much with the material they were given,” she wrote.
Szalai is a full-time book critic and writes weekly book reviews for The Times.
It is not clear whether ChatGPT was used in any part of the writing of the book. Representatives for DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
DeSantis wrote another book in 2011, “Dreams from Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama.” It was intended as a takedown on then-President Barack Obama, and a direct imitation of Obama’s first memoir, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Heritage.”
DeSantis’ new book gives readers a closer look at his life
“The Courage to Be Free”, a deeper look into DeSantis’ life, was released on February 28. The book contains some new information about his political career.
In one instance, DeSantis wrote about how he thought his Ivy League education at Yale and Harvard Law School put him at a disadvantage when campaigning against other Republicans.
“I saw myself earning degrees from Yale and Harvard Law School as political scarlet letters as far as the GOP primary went,” DeSantis wrote in the book.
“The voters valued education and probably assumed I was smart, but those ‘elite’ universities were so synonymous with left-wing ideology and a ruling-class mentality that most conservatives in the public understandably skeptical about those institutions,” he said.
DeSantis also included a quote about his marriage to Casey DeSantis, writing that he agreed to get married at Disney World on the condition that “no Disney characters could be a part of our wedding.”
“I wanted our special day to look and feel like a traditional wedding. I didn’t want Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck in our wedding photos,” DeSantis wrote.
The Insider’s Kimberly Leonard reported Tuesday that DeSantis left out some big details in his book, including only the barest details about his parents, siblings and friends. DeSantis also ordered the publication of jokes about his relationship with former President Donald Trump.
The release of the book is a key indicator that DeSantis is looking toward a White House run in 2024, Leonard previously wrote. He has not yet announced his candidacy but is already in jeopardy with his one-time ally, Trump.