Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination


Never Shake Hands with a War Criminal is a personal and political history told with acid humor and a loving heart. Barry Crimmins, a writer and former commentator on Air America Radio, travels from a skeptical childhood in frozen upstate New York, through the founding of the Boston comedy scene, to a career as a satirist and activist. No villain is spared, no hero is forgotten. Crimmins cuts a hilarious swath through our political tormentors in the spirit of Mark Twain, Will Rogers, and Lenny Bruce.


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“Barry is hilariously funny, but more important, his humor comes out of a deep intelligence, an extraordinary understanding of the world around him and an intense commitment to social change.”

“Barry Crimmins uses his sharp sense of irony as a political weapon. In his hands, the subversive joke is the first small act of resistance.”

“ "He breaks down reality in a hilarious way. He seems ticked off at everything, and when you hear him, you agree. One of the few political comedians who are really good." ”

“ "Like a mixture of Tom Paine and Mark Twain, Crimmins mixes politics and humor with savage results." ”


Barry Crimmins grew up in Skaneateles ("an Indian name meaning small lake surrounded by fascists," he has quipped), New York. He has worked with many comedy greats, near-greats, and ingrates, and his exploits have included a stint writing for Dennis Miller. Crimmins lives in Troupsburg, New York.