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The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

by

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power Cover

ISBN13: 9780060559793
ISBN10: 0060559799
Condition: Underlined
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A journalist's penetrating look at the untold story of christian fundamentalism's most elite organization, a self-described invisible network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerful

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 reported 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. Citing Hitler, Lenin, and Mao as leadership models, the Family's current leader, Doug Coe, declares, "We work with power where we can, build new power where we can't."

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?"

Part history, part investigative journalism, The Family is a compelling account of how fundamentalism came to be interwoven with American power, a story that stretches from the religious revivals that have shaken this nation from its beginning to fundamentalism's new frontiers. No other book about the right has exposed the Family or revealed its far-reaching impact on democracy, and no future reckoning of American fundamentalism will be able to ignore it.

Review:

"Checking in on a friend's brother at Ivenwald, a Washington-based fundamentalist group living communally in Arlington, Va., religion and journalism scholar Sharlet finds a sect whose members refer to Manhattan's Ground Zero as 'the ruins of secularism'; intrigued, Sharlet accepts on a whim an invitation to stay at Ivenwald. He's shocked to find himself in the stronghold of a widespread 'invisible' network, organized into cells much like Ivenwald, and populated by elite, politically ambitious fundamentalists; Sharlet is present when a leader tells a dozen men living there, 'You guys are here to learn how to rule the world.' As it turns out, the Family was established in 1935 to oppose FDR's New Deal and the spread of trade unions; since then, it has organized well-attended weekly prayer meetings for members of Congress and annual National Prayer Breakfasts attended by every president since Eisenhower. Further, the Family's international reach ('almost impossible to overstate') has 'forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most oppressive regimes in the world.' In the years since his first encounter, Sharlet has done extensive research, and his thorough account of the Family's life and times is a chilling expose." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

In the film version of "All the President's Men," Deep Throat castigates Bob Woodward for his uncorroborated accusations against H.R. Haldeman. "You've done worse than let Haldeman slip away," Deep Throat says. "You've got people feeling sorry for him. I didn't think that was possible. ... If you shoot too high and miss, everybody feels more secure."

The same might be said about... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

About the Author

Jeff Sharlet is a visiting research scholar at New York University's Center for Religion and Media. He is a contributing editor for Harper's and Rolling Stone, the coauthor, with Peter Manseau, of Killing the Buddha, and the editor of <>TheRevealer.org. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Shanesax, August 8, 2009 (view all comments by Shanesax)
If it surprises you that the elites use religion, or any other means to perpetuate their power, control and abuses of 'the masses', you have not been paying attention!
From the historical adulation of criminals like The House of Windsor (Queen of England) to the real reasons for WWI & WWII, the the real reasons for dropping the A bomb on Japan, to Vietnam War, to Bush's "elections", it has all been one story of manipulating the media and the people for monetary gain. Surprised? How else do you suggest the vast majority of the world's riches in the hands of so few?

Democracy is but a dream-fantasy sold to the naive.
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(4 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060559793
Subtitle:
The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
Author:
Sharlet, Jeff
Author:
by Jeff Sharlet
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Religion
Subject:
Christianity - History - Social Issues
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Church and state
Subject:
Fundamentalism
Subject:
Religious right - United States
Subject:
Christian conservatism - United States
Subject:
Christianity-Church History General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20080520
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.41 in 24.19 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » General
Religion » Christianity » Church History » American
Religion » Christianity » Church History » General

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power Used Hardcover
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$6.50 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Harper - English 9780060559793 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Checking in on a friend's brother at Ivenwald, a Washington-based fundamentalist group living communally in Arlington, Va., religion and journalism scholar Sharlet finds a sect whose members refer to Manhattan's Ground Zero as 'the ruins of secularism'; intrigued, Sharlet accepts on a whim an invitation to stay at Ivenwald. He's shocked to find himself in the stronghold of a widespread 'invisible' network, organized into cells much like Ivenwald, and populated by elite, politically ambitious fundamentalists; Sharlet is present when a leader tells a dozen men living there, 'You guys are here to learn how to rule the world.' As it turns out, the Family was established in 1935 to oppose FDR's New Deal and the spread of trade unions; since then, it has organized well-attended weekly prayer meetings for members of Congress and annual National Prayer Breakfasts attended by every president since Eisenhower. Further, the Family's international reach ('almost impossible to overstate') has 'forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most oppressive regimes in the world.' In the years since his first encounter, Sharlet has done extensive research, and his thorough account of the Family's life and times is a chilling expose." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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