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Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Partyby Max Blumenthal
Synopses & Reviews
Over the last year, award-winning journalist and videographer Max Blumenthal has been behind some of the most sensational (and funniest) exposes of Republican machinations. Whether it was his revelation that Sarah Palin was "anointed" by a Kenyan priest famous for casting out witches, or his confronting Republican congressional leaders and John McCain's family at the GOP convention about the party's opposition to sex education (and hence, the rise in teen pregnancies like that of Palin's daughter), or his expose of the eccentric multimillionaire theocrat behind California's Prop 8 anti-gay marriage initiative, Blumenthal has become one of the most important and most constantly cited journalists on how fringe movements are becoming the Republican Party mainstream.
Republican Gomorrah is a bestiary of dysfunction, scandal and sordidness from the dark heart of the forces that now have a leash on the party. It shows how those forces are the ones that establishment Republicans — like John McCain — have to bow to if they have any hope of running for President. It shows that Sarah Palin was the logical choice of a party in the control of theocrats. But more that just an expose, Republican Gomorrah shows that many of the movement's leading figures have more in common than just the power they command within conservative ranks. Their personal lives have been stained by crisis and scandal: depression, mental illness, extra-marital affairs, struggles with homosexual urges, heavy medication, addiction to pornography, serial domestic abuse, and even murder. Inspired by the work of psychologists Erich Fromm, who asserted that the fear of freedom propels anxiety-ridden people into authoritarian settings, Blumenthal explains in a compelling narrative how a culture of personal crisis has defined the radical right, transforming the nature of the Republican Party for the next generation and setting the stage for the future of American politics.
"Journalist Blumenthal documents the movement of conservative evangelicals from the political wings to center stage, delving into the psyches of those who now lead a Republican Party 'fixated on abortion, homosexuality and abstinence education; resentful and angry.' Guided by Eric Hoffer's 1951 cult classic The True Believer ('Faith in a holy cause, is to some extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves,') and Eric Fromm's 1941 psychoanalytical study of the Nazi movement (Escape from Freedom), Blumnthal suggests that childhood abuse has shaped the personalities of key leaders, including Focus on the Family guru James Dobson. Blumenthal is at his best examining these characters up close, including presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich and his born-again conversion; John Hagee, a Pentecostal pastor who lauded Hitler for 'forcing the Jews to Israel'; Sarah Palin, whose political aspirations first came to her as part of a religious conversion; and evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, a self-proclaimed spiritual warrior caught in a relationship with a male prostitute. For those who enjoyed Jeff Sharlet's Capitol Hill exposé The Family, this makes a spicy follow-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"When the Palin nomination was announced, hundreds of journalists descended on Anchorage and its northern suburb of Wasilla. A handful of serious expose pieces emerged in the process. But only one visitor up north came back with a bag of gold nuggets. His name is Max Blumenthal. Over the past several years, Blumenthal's work has focused on fringe groups on the right. He has excelled in covering political activism among evangelicals. His technique is simple: he confronts the subjects and lets them speak for themselves....Were it not for the determination and fearlessness of Max Blumenthal, we would now stand one week before the election largely ignorant of Palin's Christianist political theology." Scott Horton, Harper's
"A brave and resourceful reporter adept at turning over rocks that public-relations-savvy Christian conservative leaders would prefer remain undisturbed." Rick Perlstein, New York Times Book Review
Book News Annotation:
In this book, journalist Blumenthal suggests that recent scandals involving prominent right-wing politicians are no accident. Instead, he suggests, they are evidence for the accuracy of social psychologist Erich Fromm's theory that the sexual and moral anxieties of fear-ridden people make them more susceptible to the appeal of authoritarian belief systems. Based on extensive interviews with right-wing leaders and activists, Blumenthal's book succeeds at being more than a lurid accounting of sexual escapades and immoral behavior, clearly showing how "the personal is political" in a way that the coiner of that phrase probably never intended. This book will appeal to readers interested in current U.S. politics. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A crackling, investigative expose of the new generation of conservative leaders who will call the shots in the post-Bush GOP, revealing how the politics of personal crisis and redemption unites them.
An intimate, investigative portrait of how the purveyors of the politics of personal crisis and redemption brought down the GOP—and why theyre still calling the shots for the party
Karl Rove, James Dobson, Howard Ahmanson, Leslee Unruh, Judith Reisman, Alveda King, and Phil Burress have more in common than just the power they command within conservative ranks. Their personal lives, which have been stained by crisis and scandal, are at the root of the political psychology of the new radical right and are transforming the nature of Republican leadership for the next generation. While many of these new leaders are only treated superficially by the mainstream media and are largely unknown to liberals and movement outsiders, they wield profound influence over the conservative base of the Republican Party.
Blumenthal takes us on a journey into the lives of these leaders, attending dozens of right-wing events and interviewing scores of its key activists and lawmakers. Together these investigations reveal the underlying culture and mentality that is propelling the political dynamism that will impact American politics for years to come. Land of Sin fills a void in political journalism with a first-hand, penetrating, and unique reportorial analysis of the movement that controls the Republican Party in the post-Bush era.
About the Author
Max Blumenthal is one of the most constantly cited young liberal journalists in America and is regularly featured on the Rachel Maddow Show, Democracy Now and the Keith Olberman show. His articles and video documentaries have appeared in The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Al Jazeera English and many other publications. He is a correspondent for The Daily Beast, a research fellow for Media Matters for America and a Puffin Writing Fellow for the Nation Institute. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
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