Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the landmark bestseller What’s the Matter with Kansas?, a jaw-dropping investigation of the decades of deliberate—and lucrative—conservative misrule
In his previous book, Thomas Frank explained why working America votes for politicians who reserve their favors for the rich. Now, in The Wrecking Crew, Frank examines the blundering and corrupt Washington those politicians have given us.
Casting back to the early days of the conservative revolution, Frank describes the rise of a ruling coalition dedicated to dismantling government. But rather than cutting down the big government they claim to hate, conservatives have simply sold it off, deregulating some industries, defunding others, but always turning public policy into a private-sector bidding war. Washington itself has been remade into a golden landscape of super-wealthy suburbs and gleaming lobbyist headquarters—the wages of government-by-entrepreneurship practiced so outrageously by figures such as Jack Abramoff.
It is no coincidence, Frank argues, that the same politicians who guffaw at the idea of effective government have installed a regime in which incompetence is the rule. Nor will the country easily shake off the consequences of deliberate misgovernment through the usual election remedies. Obsessed with achieving a lasting victory, conservatives have taken pains to enshrine the free market as the permanent creed of state.
Stamped with Thomas Frank’s audacity, analytic brilliance, and wit, The Wrecking Crew is his most revelatory work yet—and his most important.
"Republican misrule and mistaken policy is the intended fulfillment of conservative antigovernment ideology, argues this scintillating j'accuse. Frank (What's the Matter With Kansas?) surveys what he regards as the hallmarks of conservative control of Washington: a government hobbled by budget deficits, disgraced by scandals, downsized, outsourced, hollowed out and sold off to corporate interests and thus made incapable of meeting its basic responsibilities. The result of this 'political vandalism,' he contends, is a perverse propaganda triumph for conservatives, who point with gleeful cynicism to the shambles they make of government as proof that government can't do anything right. Frank presents a scathing recap of Republican mismanagement and corruption, from the Hurricane Katrina debacle to the depredations of Jack Abramoff, and combines it with a shrewd dissection of the theories of conservative ideologues who call for and celebrate the sabotaging of the state. Writing with a barbed wit and finely controlled anger, he skewers such juicy targets as libertarian strategist Grover Norquist and Michelle Malkin, 'a pundit with the appearance of a Bratz doll but the soul of Chucky.' One of the sharpest political commentators around, Frank is required reading for every concerned citizen." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“A no-holds-barred exegesis on the naked cynicism of conservatism in America.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review“Written with barbed wit and finely controlled anger, he skewers such juicy targets as libertarian strategist Grover Norquist and Michelle Malkin.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Glorious… Often brilliant… Franks gloom is leavened by an eye for the unexpected and the absurd."—Los Angeles Times “Well-researched and witty… Provides a powerful liberal antidote to the high-volume rantings of Bill OReilly, Ann Coulter and Fox News.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Franks gifts as a social observer are on display… His analysis of why there are so many libertarian think tanks in a country with so few libertarians is dead on. In Thomas Frank, the American left has found its own Juvenal."—The New York Times Book Review
"Frank offers one damning anecdote after another. The Wrecking Crew explains how cynical conservatives have wrested control of the government by railing against its very existence, all while using federal perches to funnel billions into the pockets of lobbyists and the corporations they represent."—Time
"Thomas Frank is back with another hunk of dynamite. The Wrecking Crew should monopolize political conversation this year. Its the first book to effectively tie the ruin and corruption of conservative governance to the conservative "movement building" of the 1970s, and, before that, the business crusade against good government going back at least to the 1890s."—Salon.com
"Tom Frank has hold of something real. The Wrecking Crew can be good, spirited fun. Frank captures a quality of exuberant bullying in those of his conservative subjects he knows well enough to identify individually, rather than categorically."—The New Yorker
"Franks sentences inhale and unfurl with a wit and verve…"—The New York Observer
"Conservatives in office have made their share of blunders and mistakes, and Frank is at his finest in depicting some of the stunning instances of hypocrisy and idiocy in the period of Republican rule."—The New York Post
"Smart, thoroughly researched, and written with wit and panache."—The Wichita Eagle
"A welcome read. There is no doubt that Frank is helping to restore the journalistic and literary standards to political books. Elegant… The Wrecking Crew has the rhetorical power to illustrate the dire consequences of a government sold off piece by piece to the highest bidder. One finishes the book feeling as if ones political vision has been brought into focus."—The Courier-Journal
"A superb follow-up to Whats The Matter with Kansas?... Thorough reporting and incisive historical analysis. With genuine outrange and blasts of polemic, but Frank never allows The Wrecking Crew to become just another seething right- or left-wing political tract preaching to the choir."—The Oregonian
"Frank brings invaluable insider perceptions, ardor, and precision to his lancing inquiry into the erosion of democracy and the enshrinement of the mighty dollar… An electrifying, well-researched analysis of ‘conservatism-as-profiteering. This staggering history of systematic greed with inject new energy into public discourse as a historical election looms."—Booklist (starred review)
From the author of the landmark bestseller "What's the Matter with Kansas?" comes a jaw-dropping investigation of the decades of deliberate--and lucrative--conservative misrule.
From the bestselling author of Whats The Matter With Kansas?, an exposé of the Washington conservatism has built: how it works, how it doesnt, and why its here to stay
About the Author
Thomas Frank is the author of Pity the Billionaire, The Wrecking Crew, What's the Matter with Kansas?, and One Market Under God. A former opinion columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler and a monthly columnist for Harper's. He lives outside Washington, D.C.