Pre-Order Jeff Sharlet's Book on The Family
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:25:50 PM EST
Jeff Sharlet' book on The Family, is due out in May, but it can be pre-ordered from Amazon here.

The book promises to be significant for many reasons, but could also play a role in the current contest for the Democratic nomination for president. The book may well re-raise the question of the role of Hillary Clinton in this shadowy group. Sharlet and Kathryn Joyce wanted to ask her about it for an article in Mother Jones, but she declined to talk to them. They were the only one's asking at the time -- but that could easily change.

Meanwhile, Jeff reports that the book jacket states:

They are "the Family"--fundamentalism's avant-garde, waging spiritual war in the halls of American power and around the globe. They consider themselves the "new chosen," congressmen, generals, and foreign dictators who meet in confidential "cells," to pray and plan for a "leadership led by God," to be won not by force but through "quiet diplomacy." Their base is a leafy estate overlooking the Potomac in Arlington, Virginia, and Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to have written from inside its walls.

The Family is about the other half of American fundamentalist power--not its angry masses, but its sophisticated elites. Sharlet follows the story back to Abraham Vereide, an immigrant preacher who in 1935 organized a small group of businessmen sympathetic to European fascism, fusing the Far Right with his own polite but authoritarian faith. From that core, Vereide built an international network of fundamentalists who spoke the language of establishment power, a "family" that thrives to this day. In public, they host prayer breakfasts; in private they preach a gospel of "biblical capitalism," military might, and American empire.

Sharlet's discoveries dramatically challenge conventional wisdom about American fundamentalism, revealing its crucial role in the unraveling of the New Deal, the waging of the Cold War, and the no-holds-barred economics of globalization. The question Sharlet believes we must ask is not "What do fundamentalists want?" but "What have they already done?"

And of course, Jeff is not the only Talk to Action contributor with a new book:  Sara Posner's book God's Profits about prosperity gospel preachers like Rod Parsley and Ken Copeland is recently out; and John Gorenfeld's book Bad Moon Rising about the empire of Rev. Sun Myung Moon is just out as well.




Display:
that raising the question of Clinton's role in The Family is "guilt by association."  

But that would merely be a clever talking point aimed at deflecting a legitimate question of someone who wants to be president of the U.S.

The Family is a nefarious and certainly anti-democratic organization, as Sharlet demonstrated in his Harper's article a few years ago. If Clinton is significantly involved, that is troubling. If she is not, then let's hear it, clear the air, and move on.

Either way, let's be sure to direct some sunshine towards this secretive and influential group.

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:58:07 PM EST


is also just out.  i haven't read it yet, but heard him give a talk recently.  he looked at the use of overt religiosity in american politics starting in the 1930s.  interesting stuff.  press release here

by Laurel on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 03:19:27 PM EST

And I'll second your endorsement of Sara Posner's meticulously researched and powerfully argued "God's Profits" and John Gorenfeld's fascinating and disturbing Bad Moon Rising. Not just blowing smoke, either -- got em both in the mail and they're great. Have read most of Sara's book and am  a couple chapters into John's. The T2A library is growing by the day, it seems. You could make a great syllabus with all the books by T2A contributors.

Meanwhile, to toot my own horn and hopefully sell some books, a few blurbs that've come in recently for THE FAMILY:

"Of all the important studies of the American right, The Family is undoubtedly the most eloquent. It is also quite possibly the most terrifying. This story of a secretive and unmerciful church of "key men" goes way beyond Jesus Christ, CEO--it's Jesus Christ, lobbyist; Jesus Christ, strikebreaker; and maybe even Jesus Christ, fuhrer."

--Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas?

"The Family offers the reader an astounding entrée to a fascinating Christian network unknown to most Americans. Jeff Sharlet has managed to peel back the curtain and reveal an elusive organization that wields an unsettling amount influence over our country's lawmakers as well as business and political leaders worldwide. The Family is a must-read for any American who wants to know who is actually pulling the strings at the highest levels of power."

--Heidi Ewing, co-director of Jesus Camp

"I was once an insider's insider within fundamentalism. Unequivocally: Sharlet knows what he's talking about. He writes: 'Our refusal to recognize the theocratic strand running throughout American history is as self-deceiving as fundamentalism's insistence that the United States was created a Christian nation.' Those who want to be un-deceived (and wildly entertained) must read this disturbing tour de force."

--Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy For God: How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back
Author of THE FAMILY: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (Harper, May 20)
by Jeff Sharlet on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 05:47:35 PM EST

meanwhile, yeah. There is a syllabus in there. For most people, it is a self syllabus. It is often difficult for people to get a handle on this stuff. In fact, it normally takes a number of handles for people to come to understand, and politically come to grips with ideas and characterrs who are so far outside of their personal experiences.

So, we enourage people to read the better books. It is difficult to even have much of a political conversation if we do no have some basic knowledge and terms in common. That is one of the reasons why we encourage ratcheting down the hype on this site, and discourage analysis by epithet.

Meanwhile, I hope your book and those by Sarah and John are wildly successful. You all deserve it -- as does civil society, which really needs to come to grips with these subjects.  

by Frederick Clarkson on Sat Mar 08, 2008 at 11:53:32 AM EST
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