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Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of…

Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right

by Claire Conner

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Excellent first person account of growing up in a family where both parents were heavily involved in the John Birch Society. This memoir is very relevant to politics today, as many of these same Right wing ideologies and conspiracy theories are once again bubbling to the surface through the Tea Party. The Koch brothers' father was also active in the origin and development of the John Birch Society. ( )
  bness2 | May 23, 2017 |
If you think the John Birch Society were a passing lunatic fad of the 50s and 60s, think again. They have just mutated and wear the cloak of modern conservatives and fundamentalists. Claire Conner was there at the beginning when she was a child and her parents were prominent members of the Birchers. This is an excellent example of how ideologues love to create commotion through outlandish conspiracy theories, and regardless of the evidence that refutes them, they dig in their heels to hold to their absurd positions. A good read for those wishing more insight into the modern mindset of the Tea Party types and their forerunners. ( )
1 vote VGAHarris | Jan 19, 2015 |
Amongst the spate of miserable childhood memoirs comes this one, where the abuse was much more mental than physical. Claire Conner grew up in the home of dedicated John Birch Society members. Her parents forced her and her siblings to participate in all the group's activities. She met Robert Welch and so many of these rabid irrational anti-communist leaders, including Fred Koch, father of the infamous Koch brothers.

Her parents refused to pay for Claire's college, although they insisted on her attending a small Dallas religious school, barely accredited. They forced her to turn down a full scholarship to a local college due to their fear of her being "contaminated".

Although Claire breaks with her parents when her father threatens to strike her in the face, she continues on with right wing activism by becoming a leader in the anti-abortion movement.

Claire does have an awakening, but amazingly enough, helps to care for her parents lovingly until the end of their lives.

This book gives major insight into the John Birch Society and is a valuable historic document. Claire's personal story shows the irreversible influence of blood ties. A worthy read. ( )
  froxgirl | Apr 16, 2014 |
Wrapped in the Flag by Claire Conner. I rarely discuss political stuff- but this book has me worried and scared. It is a personal memoir of growing up with parents who were early and lifelong leaders in the John Birch Society. I found it easiest to read in short bits, so it took a while. Decently written, but the message is the main reason to read it. Strong arguments tie historic craziness to modern political craziness. I have never believed in government conspiracies, because I work in government and can't imagine that the necessary level of organization could be sustained. After reading this, I can believe in independent conspiracy - dedicated adherents really have existed and presumably do still. I grew up in some of this time, but paid less attention to political issues than perhaps I should have. ( )
1 vote Helenoel | Mar 7, 2014 |
On two occasions, I have heard Claire Conner speak about her upbringing in a John Birch Society household. And now I have read her whole story. And it is a sad and scary one – sad for her, and scary for us. Read the book. If the goals of the John Birch Society sound familiar, they are. What her parents sought to accomplish years ago is happening now before our very eyes. ( )
2 vote moibibliomaniac | Sep 10, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080707750X, Hardcover)

A narrative history of the John Birch Society by a daughter of one of the infamous ultraconservative organization’s founding fathers
Long before the rise of the Tea Party movement and the prominence of today’s religious Right, the John Birch Society, first established in 1958, championed many of the same radical causes touted by ultraconservatives today, including campaigns against abortion rights, gay rights, gun control, labor unions, environmental protections, immigrant rights, social and welfare programs, the United Nations, and even water fluoridation.

Worshipping its anti-Communist hero Joe McCarthy, the Birch Society is perhaps most notorious for its red-baiting and for accusing top politicians, including President Dwight Eisenhower, of being Communist sympathizers. It also labeled John F. Kennedy a traitor and actively worked to unseat him. The Birch Society boasted a number of notable members, including Fred Koch, father of Charles and David Koch, who are using their father’s billions to bankroll fundamentalist and right-wing movements today.

The daughter of one of the society’s first members and a national spokesman about the society, Claire Conner grew up surrounded by dedicated Birchers and was expected to abide by and espouse Birch ideals. When her parents forced her to join the society at age thirteen, she became its youngest member of the society. From an even younger age though, Conner was pressed into service for the cause her father and mother gave their lives to: the nurturing and growth of the JBS. She was expected to bring home her textbooks for close examination (her mother found traces of Communist influence even in the Catholic school curriculum), to write letters against “socialized medicine” after school, to attend her father’s fiery speeches against the United Nations, or babysit her siblings while her parents held meetings in the living room to recruit members to fight the war on Christmas or (potentially poisonous) water fluoridation. Conner was “on deck” to lend a hand when JBS notables visited, including founder Robert Welch, notorious Holocaust denier Revilo Oliver, and white supremacist Thomas Stockheimer. Even when she was old enough to quit in disgust over the actions of those men, Conner found herself sucked into campaigns against abortion rights and for ultraconservative presidential candidates like John Schmitz. It took momentous changes in her own life for Conner to finally free herself of the legacy of the John Birch Society in which she was raised.

In Wrapped in the Flag, Claire Conner offers an intimate account of the society —based on JBS records and documents, on her parents’ files and personal writing, on historical archives and contemporary accounts, and on firsthand knowledge—giving us an inside look at one of the most radical right-wing movements in US history and its lasting effects on our political discourse today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:47 -0400)

A narrative history of the infamous ultra-conservative John Birch Society, written by one of its founder's daughters, traces the organization's notorious role in numerous high-profile fundamentalist movements while sharing firsthand insight into how it affects the political discourses of today.… (more)

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