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The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Jeff Sharlet

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6622414,511 (3.94)22
Member:OWSLibrary
Title:The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
Authors:Jeff Sharlet
Info:Harper Perennial (2009), Paperback, 464 pages
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The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet (2008)

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This was a very difficult book for me. I don't doubt the facts it presents.

One thing I have seen in my life - people who actually believe that rich people are somehow better, rich people know what is right. I have seen this in people who have little money, who have a comfortable amount of money, and in people who are quite wealthy. When somebody confesses this belief to me, I am always amazed. My own theory is that rich people are about as tuned into truth as anybody else is, i.e. sometimes they're pretty tuned in but an awful lot of the time they are very far off the mark.

I guess for me what would help more would be a perspective that steps back a bit. Sharlet does occasionally hold up his fundamentalists next to other groups, sometimes liberal secularists, sometimes Islamic jihadists. But never for very long. His book is already plenty long so I can hardly blame him for not triply or quadrupling it! He has a particular story to tell. But to make sense of this story is really hard. It's probably just my style, to understand a thing by seeing it as an instance of a more general category.

I like his proposed solution, deliverance versus salvation.

I do wonder though... here is an analogy: climate change is a problem, but maybe we will run out of fossil fuels soon enough that actually climate change won't be such a big problem. Living without fossil fuels is going to be plenty hard, though! The cure may well be every bit as difficult as the disease would have been!

Similarly, the American Empire may not reach the kind of totalitarian finality that would make clear what horrible nightmares its dreams actually are. Between debt deflation, various global crises from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea etc., we may end up splintered into gangs and clans, ruled by war lords like Ted Bundy and who can say what militias... the USA could look like Afghanistan or Somalia, transformed with horrible suddenness.

What kind of stories can we then live by to give our lives meaning? ( )
  kukulaj | Dec 5, 2015 |
They insist they are just a group of friends, yet they funnel millions of dollars through tax-free corporations. They claim to disdain politics, but congressmen of both parties describe them as the most influential religious organization in Washington. They say they are not Christians, but simply believers.

Behind the scenes at every National Prayer Breakfast since 1953 has been the Family, an elite network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerful. Their goal is "Jesus plus nothing." Their method is backroom diplomacy. The Family is the startling story of how their faith—part free-market fundamentalism, part imperial ambition—has come to be interwoven with the affairs of nations around the world. ( )
  MarkBeronte | Mar 4, 2014 |
At its best a detailed description of the history of American fundamentalism and the Family, including alarming and possibly damnable evidence of its ties (post- ( )
  popejephei | Feb 5, 2014 |
A revealing and frightening book that I read for one of my local bookclubs...The "headquarters" of this movement is within walking distance of my home, making it all the more troubling. Despite having lived in the D.C. area for more than 35 years, a book like this can still shock me. It is a book that delves into fundamentalism in this country and the impact is has on national (and international) politics. It is an important subject for citizens to explore. ( )
  Jcambridge | Jul 17, 2013 |
I wanted to finish this book, but I got too distracted with all of the fiction I want to read. Not the first time non-fiction has lost against fiction. I really enjoyed the first couple of chapters I read though! ( )
  melissarochelle | Apr 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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Not long after September 11, 2001, a man I'll call Zeke came to New York to survey the ruins of secularism.
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"The United States is also a one-party state," Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania, once observed in defending his own one-party system. "But with typical American extravagance, they have two of them."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060560053, Paperback)

They insist they are just a group of friends, yet they funnel millions of dollars through tax-free corporations. They claim to disdain politics, but congressmen of both parties describe them as the most influential religious organization in Washington. They say they are not Christians, but simply believers.

Behind the scenes at every National Prayer Breakfast since 1953 has been the Family, an elite network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerful. Their goal is "Jesus plus nothing." Their method is backroom diplomacy. The Family is the startling story of how their faith—part free-market fundamentalism, part imperial ambition—has come to be interwoven with the affairs of nations around the world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:18 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"They insist they are just a group of friends, yet they funnel milions of dollars through tax-free corporations. They claim to disdain politics, but congressmen of both parties describe them as the most influential religious organization in Washington. They say they are not Christians, but simply beilievers. Behind the scenes at every National Prayer Breakfast since 1953 has been the Family, an elite network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerful. Their goal is 'Jesus plus nothing.' Their method is backroom diplomacy." --P. [4] of cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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