The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation Paperback – August 18, 2009
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“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… Frank's 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 O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Fox News.” ―Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Frank's 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. It's 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
“Frank's 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 one's political vision has been brought into focus.” ―The Courier-Journal
“A superb follow-up to What's 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)
“The author of the best-selling What's the Matter with Kansas? Examines the political, social, and economic consequences of several decades of deliberate and lucrative conservative misrule, revealing how Washington has been remade into a world of economic disparity, lobbyists, and incompetence.” ―Forecast
About the Author
- Publisher : Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 18, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0805090908
- ISBN-13 : 978-0805090901
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.29 x 0.71 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #609,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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our country, and all under the radar of a citizenry who have been cheated,
lied to, disenfranchised and are being killed by such abusive class warfare.
Franks goes into heavy detail explaining how the top level Conservatives, who
are really Libertarian revolutionaries think, and what they have done to destroy
the America that is the dream of the founding fathers and replace it with a
false puppet government whipping boy while the criminal mafia at the top just
thinks of newer and more evil ways to screw us over and enslave us.
I know Frank from his book "Listen Liberal" but this books is so much more
informative and instructive ... but it is completely devastating, and I am not sure
there are many American who can read this, recognize just how awful things
are, and ever be able to smile again ... that is, unless they are of the psychopathic
oligarchic class. How these people can live with themselves I will never understand.
To really sink in one has to read this book multiple times. It is so well written
and full of information one reading is simply not enough. It's actually extremely
depressing and downheartening when you find out how long and well thought out
this assault on our country by extreme right wingers is and how little regard
they hold this country in. These are very sick and evil people who run this country
and the world, and no one wants to hear that or think about it.
The author not only reaffirms my theory but convincingly lays out how the far-right conservative movement is trying to cripple the government and any forms of liberalism. The hardcover was published in 2008 a short time before the sub-prime mortgage fiasco sent the economy into the crapper. Mr. Frank's book holds up in the wake of President Obama's election and the stalling tactics used by Republicans in such areas as judicial appointments and their assaults to prevent the highly capable Elizabeth Warren in running the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Just compare the continual glowing praise of President Obama from Governor Chris Christie after Hurricane Sandy to the horrible Mike Brown debacle after Hurricane Katrina. The Democrats believe government can be a source of good. The Republicans, to paraphrase Grover Norquist, just want to weaken it enough so they can drag it to the bath tub and drown it. The book shows how Washington has become a huge cash cow for business interests, lobbyists and anyone with strong hard-right views. The author focuses on many of the famous odious zealots such as Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist as well as some less renowned ogres.
Mr. Frank's book is for citizens who are liberal, independent, or moderate Republicans who believe government's top priority should be all its citizenry and not just big business. The author puts it best: "Fundamentally amoral, capitalism is loyal to no people, no region, no heroes, really, once they have exhausted their usefulness - not even to the nation whose flag the wingers pretend to worship." And THAT'S why we need a functional government; to protect us from a plutocracy and not turn into another Saipan* (*read the book.) If you're of the Rush Limbaugh mindset or drink the FOX News Kool-Aid, don't even bother reading this thing. Our country needs a two-party system where compromise is not viewed as an apostasy. Right now, the Republicans are more focused on their jihad and that's just sad for our nation. The material in the book is historically accurate and the author's assessment is dead on. Heck, even Reagan apostle/columnist George Will is impressed with Mr. Frank's bona fides. The highly readable and informative "The Wrecking Crew", despite being five years old, is still extremely relevant.
Through lobbying and political contributions, corporations have been able to beat down and destroy government agencies created to protect Americans from abuse by those who have no moral compass. Then, after defunding and packing the regulating agencies with their own cronies, they point out how useless the regulating agencies are.
The author seems to believe there is hope for change on the horizon. Unfortunately, with the unlimited undisclosed political spending, corporations will convince even more of the weak minded to vote against their own best interests. Truth will drown in a Tsunami of lies. The book is accurate but very depressing.
Top reviews from other countries
Franks, who has obviously put a lot of effort into researching this book, digs deep into the activities and thinking of right wing conservatism which has given the U.S. such nefarious characters as Ollie North, Ronald Regan, Tom De Lay and the recently departed (well just the Oval office, but hey I liked the sound of it) George W. Bush.
A convincing case is made, and with plenty of evidence not least from their own mouths, that the conservatives interest in making Government work for the ordinary people of the U.S. is pretty much non-existant. The picture of the so-called conservatives that he paints is not exactly pretty for anyone with a commitment to democracy: the rampant cronyism in appointments to the civil service (loyalty to the "conservative" cause above integrity and ability), mercenary lobbying for the rich and corporations at the expense of their constituents, a total contempt for professional civil servants, their crude totalitarian mentality as well as breath taking mendacity.
The case that the conservatives are intent on damaging government as a force for the common good of Americans is comprehensively made. The immense deficits they run up, the running down of regulatory bodies, the Labor department, the incompetent but politically correct right wingers they appoint to government bodies . . . the list could be endless. The chapter on the Mariana Islands (taken by U.S. at end of WW2) is a revelation. The islands are exempt from many U.S. laws - it's a neo-liberal utopia: low taxes, little or no protection for labor who are all contracted from neighbouring poor countries (ie. indentured servants) who endure low wages, long hours and live under an abusive regime where they can be deported at their employers whim. This IS the conservatives/neo-liberal ideal in reality. All this is supported by conservative lobbyists such as the recently jailed Bush buddy Jack Abramoff who puffed it up as the "laboratory of liberty" (for whom?) and characterised attempts to apply labor and other regulatory laws and rights for the workers as having the same effect on the islanders (the business owners that is) as the Nuremburg laws had on the Jews.
Fluently written and thoughtful with a biting sense of humour this is criticism at its best, and the target thoroughly deserves it. It is an interesting insight into the American system of "Democracy" and not withstanding the recent election of Obama it is still a book with much relevance.
If you havent read Franks already its worth getting a hold of his earlier two books One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism and the End of Economic Democracy and What's the Matter with America?: The Resistible Rise of the American Right .